Kate Lansky's Reviews > The Dead-Tossed Waves

The Dead-Tossed Waves by Carrie Ryan
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May 21, 10

bookshelves: fantasy, dystopian-future, zombies
Read in May, 2010

I have to say, this book just wasn't quite as good as the first. I don't know if it was a sense of repetition, as my brain whispered "you've read all this before" into the back of my mind, or just a slightly clumsy handling of characters old and new. Gabrielle seemed whiny and flighty, one moment being madly in love with Catcher, the next with Elias. And though I could take it on faith that she loved Catcher, her relationship with Elias never made any sense to me, was never in any way developed - it was just suddenly... there, woven into her as though it had always existed.

I did, however, still enjoy the book. It was a quick read - I finished it in an afternoon - and it was interesting seeing the world Carrie has created from a different angle, a different kind of understanding. Now we know what created Gabrielle, for instance - and we know there is more to the world than the forest and this small ocean-side town. It was interesting seeing how things were.

However... the world isn't often well described. I don't really know what this place Gabri lived in looks like. I don't really have a grasp of things visually, and often was confused by some of the action description Carrie provided - Occasionally I'd be reading along and suddenly have to shift my mental image because a detail she threw into the mix completely overrode everything I'd constructed. And once again, I found myself stuck on this chain link fence that kept the unconsecrated off the path - a chain link fence, when we have seen how the unconsecrated can destroy much more solid things. A chain link fence that, in the last book, was touched by an intense forest fire. And if one more person leans against that fence and feels the whispering touch of undead before pulling away, I might scream. Between the two books, this happens a whole lot more often than it should.

So yes - I found myself torn. I do like the world, the idea... but the story telling sometimes lacked the power I wanted it to have. The characters lacked depth, and the author's message often came across too strongly. Still. It's such a beautiful world, and I do like how Carrie begins to blur the lines between living and dead, beauty and horror. This is what zombies are really meant for - exploring, on some level, the human condition. And I will give Carrie props for doing just that.

I'll read book 3 (I can only assume there will be a book 3 - this one leaves a lot of plot bunnies hopping around), I'll see where the characters go and how the world continues to grow. But I hope that as she keeps writing, Carrie grows along with her world and her characters. She has immense potential, and I hope to see her reach it.
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