7 april 2011

Review: The Dead-Tossed Waves by Carrie Ryan

Plot: 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. (Summary from goodreads.com)

First sentence: The story goes that even after the Return they tried to keep the roller coasters going.

Cover: I'm not crazy about the covers for the edition that I have. They're okay but nothing more. I definitely prefer the simpler and more stylized ones from Orion with the crustacean.

My opinion: If I enjoyed The Forest of Hands and Teeth, I really liked The Dead-Tossed Waves. I was a bit surprised at first that the narrator of this novel was in fact not Mary, but another girl, who, which we later find out, is Mary's daughter Gabry. Surprising yes, disappointing no. I was actually rather intrigued by Gabry and her life in Vista. In a way, it is almost a Bildungsroman because it depicts Gabry's journey, both psychologically and emotionally, from an unsure and scared girl to a strong-willed and confident young woman.

As opposed to its proceeder, I did not find this novel dull at any time. It was fast-paced and action-filled throughout the whole novel, though not losing focus on survival or relationships. The romance that I somewhat felt was lacking from The Forest of Hands and Teeth (sorry for all the comparisons) was more to my liking in this novel. As much as I like zombies (hrmm...?), I really do want some romance in my novels.

Just as Carrie Ryan's first novel, this one also focuses on big existential questions, like Who am I? Where do I come from? What is right? What should I do with my life? Is this it? Is there something else? The Dead-Tossed waves, however, to me felt a lot more hopeful, which makes this novel more in my taste. When everything is awful, I still want to be able to cling on to hope.

Even if you feel that you're not exactly the zombie type, I recommend reading Carrie Ryan's post-apocalyptic zombie series because there is so much more to these novels than meets the eye. It challenges the reader to ponder the same questions as Gabry, questions of right or wrong and what is means to be human.

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