Friday, April 8, 2011

Book Review: The Dead-Tossed Waves

The Dead-Tossed Waves
by Carrie Ryan

Synopsis: (From Powells)
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. Shes 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 Gabrys 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 Gabrys generation is dead, the other half imprisoned. Now Gabry only knows one thing: she must face the forest of her mothers past in order to save herself and the one she loves.

Why I Picked this Book:  To be honest, I bought this one before The Forest of Hands and Teeth (My review here).  The cover was very simple and eye-catching, and I loved the synopsis.  I had never read a zombie story before, and thought this would be a nice start.  It wasn't until my sister-in-law asked me why I bought book number two first that I realized there was one before it... Oh well!

My thoughts:
This book definitely sucked me in much more than the first one in the series.  I knew from the beginning that Gabry was going to be somehow related to Mary (just from her name alone) and so was not surprised at all when you come to find out that Mary is, in fact, her mother.  Nice little connection there.

I felt the story progressed much more smoothly than before as well.  It started with some action, some "oh no" moments and posed questions that you wanted the answers to.  Gabry makes one choice while hanging out with friends, and that one choice ends up changing the course of her life along with all of theirs.  It really does well in showing how every small thing we do affects our future.  Even in face of the undead.

Gabry was a much more like-able character than Mary was in book one as well.  Though she did seem to take too many things to heart, and blame herself a tiny bit too much for everything that happened (honestly hon, not everything is your fault!), I actually wanted to root for her and see a good ending happen.  Improvement, yes?  Along with that, more was revealed about Mary and what happens to her is told... I almost feel like you get a better grasp and feel for her character in this book than in the one where she was the main protagonist. 

As all YA books seem to be going now a days, a love triangle is set up.  (You have heard me rant about those... I will spare you it.  For this review at least.)  While this love triangle did seem to have more depth and difference in it than others, I still couldn't say it worked for me.  I did easily pick which guy I wanted to root for.  And I could see the advantages and disadvantages to each suitor.  Still, I have yet to see a love triangle that really works for the story it's in.  It always just feels kind of... cheap to me.  While Carrie Ryan did a much better job this time with the love story aspect, it was still a love triangle... I don't know what else to say.

Now for the zombies.  I do like how Ryan doesn't focus solely on the zombie part of the story.  You get enough creep factor to know the undead are everywhere, without spending the entire 400 something pages only reading about moaning and biting and scientific know-how.  I love zombies.  Really do.  I think I prefer zombie over vampire any day.  (Take that Edward!)  While I would like to see a tiny bit more interaction and emphasis on the moaning fallen, I feel Ryan does touch very well on the initial creep factor.

I would have liked to see the plot work out more on how mankind will either win back their world or lose it completely.  I know it's acceptable to just have a story that "this is the world now" and its not going to get better... but I would really like to see more.  More back-story.  More hints at some sort of future.  There is another book to come though... maybe it's all there. 

Oh yes... A great cult is introduced as well, one that makes you cringe at their beliefs yet find yourself oddly pulled in at the same time.  I don't want to give away too much... but really... *shudder*

In my opinion, The Dead-Tossed Waves is a step up from The Forest of Hands and Teeth.  Carrie Ryan is definitely getting better with each book.  I cannot wait to read book three in the series, The Dark and Hollow Places, as soon as I am able to get my little hands on it.  I again battled with which rating to give this book, but I will let it go up this time.  I think it earned it nicely. 

I recommend this book.  If you have read book one and walked away slightly disgruntled, give this one a shot.  And if you haven't read them yet, try them!  Though not perfect, I find this world that Ryan has created very enthralling and cannot wait to see where it will go next.

My Rating:

(4 out of 5 stars)

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