Review: The Dead-Tossed Waves by Carrie Ryan

This is the sequel to The Forest of Hands and Teeth, which I reviewed a couple of weeks ago and can be found somewhere, but blogger won’t let me find it right now here (sorry, today is not a technologically successful day. Don’t talk me me about power-cuts). Anyway, bitching aside, I got The Dead-Tossed Waves at the same time as the first book, but I’m terrible at reading series consecutively. On one hand, it gives me a little space to approach the second book with a fresh and clear mind, but then it occasionally happens that I’ve forgotten what the hell the first one was about…

Gabry lives a quiet life, secure in her town next to the sea and behind the Barrier. She’s content to let her friends dream of the Dark City up the coast while she watches from the top of her lighthouse. Home is all she’s ever known and, and all she needs for happiness. But life after the Return is never safe and there are threats even the Barrier can’t hold back. Gabry’s mother thought she left her secrets behind in the Forest of Hands and Teeth, but, like the dead in their world, secrets don’t stay buried. And now, Gabry’s world is crumbling. One night beyond the Barrier . . . One boy Gabry’s known forever and one veiled in mystery . . . One reckless moment, and half of Gabry’s generation is dead, the other half imprisoned. Now Gabry knows only one thing: if she has any hope of a future, she must face the forest of her mother’s past.  

The other thing I’m terrible at is looking at the blurb before I actually start reading the damn thing. It means I’m perpetually surprised when the book isn’t about what I had expected. I assumed it was about Mary, the heroine of the last book, as it had quite a sudden, unfinished ending. Instead, it’s actually about Gabry, Mary’s daughter. I’m not sure if I resented Gabrielle because of this or whether I just genuinely disliked her, but I didn’t find her half as interesting.

It didn’t really hold my interest until roughly 55% of the way through (I’m not that anally precise, by the way – I just happened to notice it on my Kindle screen). Before that point, the story moved from place to place far too quickly, without really introducing the characters much. It just didn’t have the same creepy feel as The Forest of Hands and Teeth. The Unconsecrated (or Mudo, as they’re called in this book) don’t really even feature that much. Instead, two new factions are introduced. First, we have the Soulers – a group of religious fanatics who believe that Mudo have a soul and provide the key to eternal life. Conversely, the second group are the Recruiters – kind of a governmental army trying to control the Mudo population.

I liked the introduction of both of these groups. It highlights the difference between Mary’s isolated village and Gabry’s town under government protection. They’re integral to the plot and make this book a little more frantic and political than the first. The Souler’s in particular are a great addition, as it’s an idea I’ve never seen before.

So, the first half is slow, yes. But the second half really is very good. It feels much more like the first book, but with more action. It’s fast-paced, brutal and atmospheric. Loved it. I especially liked how they tied in characters from Mary’s past in a subtle way. I expected this, but I also expected it to be way over-the-top and obvious; it wasn’t at all. There are a few loose ends from The Forest of Hands and Teeth that I wish were tied up, but there’s room for that in the last book, I guess.

I wasn’t so fond of the silly little love triangle. It worked quite well in the first book because it was more of a slight sub-plot, and Mary wasn’t so whiny. Gabry switches from one boy to another instantly like she has Bi-Polar Lust Disorder and when she eventually makes her choice, it’s without any evidence, thought process or logic. It forms a massive part of the book and I really could do without it. I hate love triangles. Why are they necessary?

It doesn’t sound like it, but I enjoyed the book a lot and even gave it four stars on LibraryThing. I was let down by the first half, but the brilliance of the second half almost makes up for it. I think this is one of my favourite YA series – they’re amazing and I can’t wait for the last one.


  1. Tara says:

    I also thought it was going to be about Mary. I didn't really enjoy Gaby either. The first half totally dragged, but the second half reminded me more of the first book which I totally loved. Have you read the last one yet? I checked it out from the library, started it and just couldn't get into it. I was really disappointed since I read the first one in like a day! I will have to get around to finishing the third one eventually! Good Review!

  2. Hanna says:

    @Tara – That's exactly how I feel! The second half was much better; the first seemed like a completely different book.

    I haven't read the last one, but I had a quick look at reviews and I'm not really in a hurry to get hold of it.

    The first book was amazing, it's a shame the others weren't up to scratch.

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