Thursday, March 24, 2011

Book Review: The Dead-Tossed Waves, by Carrie Ryan

When I tell people I’m reading a book about zombies, they look at me funny. The Dead-Tossed Waves is so much more than a zombie book. It’s about survival, adventure, family, romance, and even explores what it means to be “alive.”

The main character, Gabry, is the daughter of Mary from The Forest of Hands and Teeth. Gabry has lived a sheltered life, and has been very careful to stay away from the Mudo (which were called the Unconsecrated in the first book.) But her teenage friends, and in particular, Catcher, wants to climb the wall and explore the old abandoned amusement park. Gabry submits to peer pressure, and is very happy when Catcher keeps her behind the others so they can share their first kiss. Suddenly all hell breaks loose as a Breaker attacks the group. A Breaker is a new kind of Mudo introduced in this book and they are fast. They attack like lightening, and as Gabry’s friends are attacked, she escapes back over the wall.

So now the group is either turned into Mudo or they are captured by the Militia and have to stand up to the Council in the village and accept their punishment. Catcher is in neither of these groups – Gabry knows he was bitten by a Mudo, but she is desperate to find him before he turns. But that means going past the walls of the village and risking everything.

This story goes on, building tension, and becoming more and more dangerous for these characters. Ryan writes so you feel like you are right next to these characters. You cry for them, and root for them, and when they are hurt, you hurt right along with them. Here’s an example of what I mean:

Cold terror seeps through my bones, tightens my muscles. In my head I’m just screaming pure panic, trying to swallow it back and focus on what needs doing. Trying to put one foot in front of the other. Not lose sight of Catcher since he’s the only one who knows where the path is. (p. 225-6)

The story is also about Gabry finding out the truth about her past and coming to terms with her fears and her guilt. I think that’s what makes these books special. They aren’t just all running and chasing and killing. These are characters that must come to terms with a world much different than our own, without the security that we feel and Ryan writes incredibly realistic, insightful characterizations that get you thinking about how you would deal with this world and these situations. Here’s an example of that:

I realize that life is risks. It’s acknowledging the past but looking forward. It’s taking a chance that we will make mistakes but believing that we all deserve to be forgiven.  (p. 324)

How can she do that? How can she write such intense TERROR, and then write such insightful thoughts? To me, that’s what is special about Carrie Ryan.

I need to hurry up and finish writing this, because I have a copy of The Dark and Hollow Places sitting right here by me waiting.  I need to KNOW what happens!

I recommend, simply, that you read these books. Even if you aren’t a “zombie” person – please give these a try. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

Published by Delacorte, 2010
Copy obtained from the library
404 pages (Qualifies for my 350 Page Book Challenge!)

Rating: 5/5

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  1. I got the first book in the series for Christmas through a Broke and Bookish present exchange. I really, really, need to start the series! Maybe I'll try to get to it for Dewey's Readathon... :) And I'm totally a zombie person. In fact I am much more prepared for a zombie invasion then flood or fire.

  2. I love these books. So jealous of you for having the Dark and Hollow Places!!! I really need to go buy that one.

    I enjoyed the Dead-tossed Waves almost as much as the first book, but Gabry was nowhere near the protagonist that Mary was, in my opinion. Great review. :)

  3. Great review! I need to start this series :)


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