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!
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!
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!