Monday, July 12, 2010

Review: The Dead Tossed Waves by Carrie Ryan

Thankfully I was able to get my hands on the second book to follow up The Forest of Hands and Teeth, which I read last summer, and was able to check out The Dead Tossed Waves from the local library.  I had joked around that I didn't know where they were shipping the book, because it took a month of being "in transit" before arriving here.  When I went to check it out, the lady at the counter said, "Oh, this came from the Big Island."  Wait.  Do they really share library books between islands?!?  I guess they do.  This was one book I wasn't going to let get away from me, so I hurried to read it so I wouldn't have to renew it.  Talk about a carbon footprint!

Synopsis:  From Amazon's product description, "Gabry lives a quiet life. As safe a life as is possible in a town trapped between a forest and the ocean, in a world teeming with the dead, who constantly hunger for those still living. She’s content on her side of the Barrier, happy to let her friends dream of the Dark City up the coast while she watches from the top of her lighthouse. But there are threats the Barrier cannot hold back. Threats like the secrets Gabry’s mother thought she left behind when she escaped from the Sisterhood and the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Like the cult of religious zealots who worship the dead. Like the stranger from the forest who seems to know Gabry. And suddenly, everything is changing. One reckless moment, and half of Gabry’s generation is dead, the other half imprisoned. Now Gabry only knows one thing: she must face the forest of her mother’s past in order to save herself and the one she loves."

Review:  As with The Forest of Hands and Teeth, I felt like I couldn't put the book down.  The book opens with a pretty dramatic scene where Gabry and her friends have gone into the Dark City and encounter a couple of crazed Mudo who are out for their blood.  The drama of this scene left me flipping pages.  In some ways, I was disappointed that there wasn't an instant tie in to the first book, but over time, I started to see that it really did pick back up where the other left off, just a lot later.

The idea behind having the Mudo, the Returned, religious zealots, and any other number of interesting twists to this new society were pretty interesting.  Other dystopian or apocalyptic novels have introduced the ideas of zombies or foreign creatures and diseases into our society, but I did feel that this young adult novel leans more towards the drama./human element of the situation than pure science fiction.  In both of the novels by Ryan, you get a real sense of the main character because of the way the story is told in first person narration.  That technique also annoyed me at times though, as your limited view of the story and the world in general, was aggravating at times.  That narration did flip to some of the other characters at times, but the first person "I" can feel so self-indulgent at times that every scene could really be blown into giant, over dramatic proportions.  In fact, I often found myself saying, "What the heck?!?" every time Gabry seemed to change her mind about those significant to her.  Many scenes in the novel seemed to leave off with a "da, da, dum" that felt soap opera like, at the very least.  While the emotional drama fit the whole teen, zombie storyline, I still really liked the novel and couldn't wait to pick it back up whenever I could.

As far as dystopian teen novels go, this is one of my favorites.  The high drama might feel like a bit much, but is still really good and had me caring a lot about these characters.  It would be a good idea to read the first book, The Forest of Hands and Teeth, before diving into this second book so that the back story makes better sense.  On the whole though, both are really great reads, and I have no idea how this one will end up!

According to GoodReads, book three in this series, The Dark and Hollow Places, will be out in March of 2011. 

*FTC Disclosure:  This review is based on a library copy of the book.

This book counts as my 11th in the 2010 Young Adult Reading Challenge.  One more to go, and I'll have another challenge wrapped up!


  1. I loved "The Forest of Hands and Teeth" but I found "The Dead-Tossed Waves" disappointing. I could barely get through it.

    The sentences felt incomplete and Gabry, the main character just kept repeating the same thoughts over and over again.

    Two thumbs down...

  2. I liked Dead-Tossed Waves as well, but was a little put off of Gaby. She reminded me a lot of Mary (I guess for good reason). Still I can't wait for the next one. I have to see how it ends.

  3. I've got both of these books to read. The question is when. They sound so good.

    I just don't seem to be getting much done lately. I haven't even gotten Catching Fire finished yet. I'm in a major reading slump and can't seem to pull myself out of it.

    Your blog looks great by the way!

  4. I never got to The Forest of Hands and Teeth and had to return it to the library. Some day I'll read it....

    I love teen drama! But really only in books. :P

  5. A Books Blog -- I can see why you didn't like the second book. The action kept me flipping pages, but the overdramatic scenes, switching between love interests and such, had me rolling my eyes a bit. I did still like it though, better than some other dystopian novels lately. Maybe it's just that I'm digging the zombie thing right now?

    Andrea -- Agreed! I can't wait to see how it ends either. Gabry was a bit of a drama queen, pretty much nonstop. It seems like 1st person narrations can get old pretty quick, mainly because they feel so darn self-indulgent!

    Darlene -- No worries about reading slumps. I have been in one because of online class and visitors that have been here. It's fun to have books waiting for you, so no worries at all! :)

    Heidenkind -- I think you'd like these, although I do kind of think you'd call both characters on their self-indulgent drama...which might be fun to watch! I think you should hurry and read them then! :) LOL.