Author: Carrie Ryan
Publisher: Random House Children's Books
Published: March 9, 2010
Format: Hardcover ($22.99 CDN)
From the Publisher:
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.
I had very high expectations for this novel and they were met, for the most part. Carrie Ryan's descriptive writing style once again got it's hooks into subconscious turning every meow of my cat, creek of my house, and and hum of my furnace into the moan of the undead. Having left Mary still a teenager at the end of the first book, The Forest Of Hands And Teeth, I found it hard to re-connect with the grown up Mary in the beginning of the novel. I found the new protagonist, Mary's daughter Gabry, likable despite her insecurities and indecisiveness and I really enjoyed reading as Gabry made choices and worked through difficult life-altering decisions. I felt that this was a bit of a coming of age story set in a horrific world of oppression, desperation, and isolation where humans cling to hope, love, and companionship in unimaginable circumstances. I found the first half of the novel to be satisfying but I wasn't as engrossed as I was with the first novel. In the latter half of the book when Gabry enters the same forest her mother fought to get out of in the first novel things really began to heat up. I found myself reading well into the night despite how tired I was and I was constantly rewarded with suspense and action as the plot began to truly unfold. Entwined in this dystopic tale is a story of young love in all its passion, intensity, and angst. At times I was slightly impatient with Gabry's indecisiveness and yet I can remember experiencing similar emotions when I was at the same stage as Gabry. I think young readers will find her relatable, likable, genuine, and flawed, which in my opinion is a good recipe for well rounded protagonist. The supporting cast was well written and I really enjoyed how Carrie Ryan connected characters from the first novel into the plot of The Dead Tossed Waves. The ending felt like a mad dash to the finish line (in a good way) that had my heart racing alongside Gabry as she fought for survival. The choices she makes in the end show how much Gabry has matured from the beginning of the novel. Overall I was very impressed with The Dead Tossed Waves and with the open ended conclusion I hope to read about a forthcoming novel soon.