Penny's Reviews > The Dead-Tossed Waves

The Dead-Tossed Waves by Carrie Ryan
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Feb 22, 2010

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bookshelves: zombies-aliens-vampires-dinos, urban-fantasy, dystopian, reviewed-books
Read from March 22 to 24, 2010

I'm torn with the rating I gave this book. It deserves more than three stars but I wouldn't say I 'really liked it'. So, even though I like this book more than I like it's companion, The Forest of Hands and Teeth, I gave it the same amount of stars.

Quick review: In The Forest of Hands and Teeth we were introduced to Mary, a not entirely likable teenage girl living in a remote village reminiscent of the village in M. Night Shyamalan's 'The Village'. Mary's village is fenced off from the surrounding forest which is full of zombies (referred to as the unconsecrated). Mary desires, more than anything, to venture outside the fenced-in village to find her way to the ocean, even though she's been told her whole life the ocean no longer exists. At the end of The Forest of Hands and Teeth Mary receives her heart's desire: she sees the ocean, and that is where her story ends.

The Dead-Tossed Waves is told by Mary's teenage daughter, Gabry. This is Gabry's story. Gabry (Gabrielle) is quite unlike her mother. Raised in Vista, the seaside city Mary discovered at the end of The Forest of Hands and Teeth, she has no desire to venture outside the city walls where the Mudo--unconsecrated!--dwell.

In the first chapter Gabry is invited by her best friend's cute older brother, Catcher, to sneak past the barriers to the abandoned amusement park, which, while still technically fenced in, is forbidden since those fences are no longer maintained or guarded. It is only the lure of Catcher, his flirtatious promise to protect her, that finally gets Gabry to do what she fears most: leave the relative safety of Vista.

It is in the amusement park, as Gabry receives her first kiss, that things go horribly wrong (who'd have guessed??? I kid, I kid). A Breaker--an über-mudo, if you will--attacks the group Gabry is with. Long story short: their little adventure outside the city walls does not end well.

Because of the commotion caused by the attack they know it is only a matter of time before the city militia arrives. So Catcher insists Gabry flee the scene because those caught outside the city walls will be punished severely. Before she leaves, Gabry tries to round-up Cira, Catcher's sister, to go back with her, but is unsuccessful.

Gabry returns to the city by herself, a decision with which struggles throughout the rest of this novel. She's riddled with guilt that she was unable to stop everyone from going to the amusement park in the first place. Gabry hates that, unlike Cira and the rest of her friends, she wasn't caught.

Because she's the only one who wasn't caught she's obligated to search for Catcher, at Cira's request. The only problem is, Catcher may have been bitten by a mudo. What's worse, he's hiding somewhere outside the city walls.

So Gabry ventures outside the walls once again, attacked by more mudo, and saved by a young man, named Elias, who is clearly not from her village. And this is when the adventure really begins.

Overall, this is a pretty good book. I think it's much better than The Forest of Hands and Teeth, mainly because I don't mind the protagonist; she's not selfish like her mother was at her age. Also I think The Dead-Tossed Waves is written better than The Forest of Hands and Teeth.

Before I go on, I need to mention that I'm not a fan of the love triangle in this book. It's not that I don't luuuurve me a good love triangle, because I do. It's just the fact that Carrie Ryan already did the whole love triangle thing, and not very well might I add (IMHO, Mary was undeserving of such attention so the love-triangle in The Forest of Hands and Teeth felt forced. And in the end it turns out the triangle was completely unnecessary).

I feel Carrie Ryan should have gone a different direction this time around--not everybody has two equally good-looking guys vying for their attention. I feel Carrie Ryan, along with a lot of authors these days, are relying on the love triangle a little too much. I think Carrie Ryan cheated herself, her story, and the readers, by focusing too much attention on the love story.

Example: Gabry spends too much time being torn up over the whole Catcher or Elias question. Especially when, as far as I'm concerned, her preference is obvious. I wish Gabry had made a decision early on, sparing everyone involved (including the readers), and spent more time thinking about more important things. Such as the many interesting ethical questions raised by various characters in this book (What is the difference between existing and surviving? Is there a difference? How are the infected (mudo/unconsecrated) different from the non-infected? When a body Returns, is part of their former self--their soul--still there, just trapped inside?).

There are other things I didn't necessarily like but I can't bring them up without giving away too much.

Basically, what I'm trying to say is, while I do quite like this book (and I'm planning to read the next one) I'm left feeling a little disappointed. Carrie Ryan could have done so much more with this storyline, the deeper elements are present but not explored. Which is why I couldn't give this book four stars.

(I do want to give Carrie Ryan props for writing zombie books targeted specifically at females. If it weren't for her I wouldn't have picked up a zombie book, ever. Which, in retrospect, would have been quite unfortunate as it is a genre I quite enjoy.)

Side note: Also, I think Carrie Ryan could have should have released The Dead-Tossed Waves first and eventually released The Forest of Hands and Teeth as a prequel. Why? Because The Forest of Hands and Teeth does not actually add to this story, seeing as Gabry spends the majority of this novel (mostly) ignorant of her mother's past. Sure, we the readers are able to make the connections, but that just takes away from the reading experience--we already know what Gabry doesn't. It's sort of infuriating.

Plus, the way in which this book ends I'm assuming the next book, The Dark and Hollow Places, will start where this one leaves off; Gabry still telling her story. Which is just another reason why it doesn't make sense that The Forest of Hands and Teeth was released first.
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Reading Progress

03/22/2010 page 75
18.03% "Better then The Forest of Hands and Teeth. Not spectacular, but I like it well enough."
03/23/2010 page 367
88.22% "I think TDTW could have been published 1st, and TFOHAT could've been released as a prequel. Or never. The story starts in this book."
02/23/2016 marked as: read
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Comments (showing 1-25)

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message 25: by Tatiana (new)

Tatiana A very extensive review:)

I thoroughly disliked FOHAT, mainly because of all raised and unanswered questions. It simply drove me nuts. Is this book better in that respect?

And whose daughter Gabry is? I remember Mary had it going on with 2 guys.

message 24: by Annalisa (last edited Mar 25, 2010 09:08AM) (new)

Annalisa I didn't like FOHAT either. Not just because Mary is so whiny, but it's first person, present tense which makes that internal dialogue after each sentence of dialogue so slow. The book could have been intense, but it dragged. Plus, it bugged me that she kept finding herself in the middle of the zombies and then someone else gets bitten to save her. Sounds like this book has a lot of that going on too. I wasn't planning on reading this, but maybe I will if you say it's better. I do love me a good zombie story.
And I'm curious about Tatiana's question too. Did that mean that something happened between Travis and Mary in the house? That his brother made it to the town? Or that she meets a new guy?

message 23: by Tatiana (new)

Tatiana Annalisa, FOHAT was a club read, and we all were totally confused who Mary was or wasn't intimate with, it was sooo vague. If I remember it right, we decided she was with both of them, hence my who-is-the-daddy question.

Penny As I was reading FOHAT I remember thinking there was far too much inner dialogue narration and not enough actual dialogue, especially during the first half of that novel. It was like I was reading someone's mind, and that was weird.

I agree about all the questions left unanswered. Especially when it comes to that girl, Gabrielle, who was smarter and faster then the other zombies. Fortunately that question is answered almost immediately in TDTW. But even the answer leads to other (more interesting) questions--it's complicated.

And yeah, I too was confused as to who Mary may or may not have had sex with. I came to the conclusion that she probably had sex with Travis, given their history and the fact they spent all that time together--alone. But I wasn't sure about Harry since I didn't think he wanted to marry her. I mean, he didn't ask for Mary's hand in marriage until the Sisterhood was all but begging him to (which was pretty bizarre since at the beginning of FOHAT we're given the impression that he DOES like her more then a friend). So even though they spent a night tied to eachother, I don't think they had sex.

Just so you know, the question of who Mary slept with ISN'T answered in this book. And really, circumstances being what they are in TDTW, it doesn't really matter. (though I still can't help but wonder).

TDTW is also written in present-tense and in first person. But in this book Carrie Ryan does a better job with the narration, so I didn't mind it as much this time around. I think it's because Gabry is easier to relate to, more likable.

Gabry was raised learning how to defend herself. In Vista all school-age children are taught how to kill the mudo (but only in theory, since they never actually unleash mudo on them), so she's not so entirely helpless as her mother was. She's just not as daring as her mother, if that makes sense.

I'm positive I would have liked this book more I not read FOHAT first, because then I'd have discovered things at the same time Gabry did. And anyway, Mary's story bares no real importance in relation to Gabry's. FOHAT is kind of like episodes I, II, III of Star Wars: not well written, and in the end no one really cares.

message 21: by Annalisa (last edited Mar 25, 2010 10:18AM) (new)

Annalisa I didn't read sex from Mary's relationship with Travis, yeah in that love of my life intensity, but not the scenes. I know Ryan's not the best at describing what's going on, but when Travis and her are in the house they seem to avoid each other. If they had slept together, I thought there would be some bonding, but maybe not. Maybe they didn't have to rely on that unrequited sexual tension. I don't know. That whole part was so vague and weird. Plus, she had just spent the night with her hand tied to Harry and it seemed like something could have happened then but she didn't want to talk or think about it. So it would be weird to sleep with someone who was almost, maybe-technically-is your brother's wife. And now you see why I don't want to read Mortal Instruments, which would be worse :).

I was okay with some of the questions left unanswered if there's no possible way for Mary to find those things out, but where she's snooping around the church's basement, she should have learned something there.

message 20: by Tatiana (new)

Tatiana The reason I thought Mary slept with Harry is that not only were they tied together, but she was down to a nightie the next morning, so I thought they sealed the deal after all.

I know it's not THAT important, but I still was curious:)

So, Penny, why was Gabriel fast?

Penny Spoiler warning!!!

Gabrielle's really fast because she's a Breaker: someone who was infected but when they change the non-infected/infected ratio is off. Breakers can infect more people.

Sounds dumb the way I just explained it. But really, it's not so stupid. They discovered that this infection/disease/curse/whatever reacts the same way some animals in nature do. For example: there's this type of toad that can change sexes--when there aren't enough males around or whatever--in order ensure the species doesn't die out.

So basically, this disease, or parasite or organism--whatever it is--can sense whether or not other infected beings are around. The only time they need to turn Breaker is when there aren't enough zombies around, which is why I think the cause is a disease or parasite (like in The Strain or Peeps).

message 18: by Tatiana (new)

Tatiana Ok. Thanks:)

message 17: by Misti (new)

Misti Nice review. I still don't know if I will read this one. FOHAT frustrated me. And I'm SO tired of the love triangle.

Penny Misti wrote: "Nice review. I still don't know if I will read this one. FOHAT frustrated me. And I'm SO tired of the love triangle."

Love triangles are really starting to get on my last nerve. Especially when it's always obvious who the girl is going to pick, despite the fact the author has manipulated me into liking the underdog more then the guy who's going to get the girl. I want to see more love triangles in which the underdog wins.

message 15: by Hannah (last edited Apr 11, 2010 11:30AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Hannah Uh, I haven't read TDTW yet, but in the summary-thing, it said that Gabry lived in the lighthouse. If I remember right, in the end of TFOHAT, there was a man who found Mary washed up on the shore, and he said that he lived in the lighthouse. So I assume that he's Gabry's father.

Penny Gabry's father is a character from TFOHAT.

Hannah Oh. Well, in that case, I'm guessing Travis.

Wicked Incognito Now Penny, I'm about a third of the way through The Dead-Tossed Waves and I can't decide whether or not to finish it.

I like your review. Part of the reason that I'm having trouble with this book, is for many of the same reasons that I had problems with The Forest of Hands and Teeth.

You wrote: "so she's not so entirely helpless as her mother was"

See, I don't agree. I think that despite her training, she's just as helpless--she's so scared to act all of the time. She gets on my nerves more than Mary did in FOHAT. I find Gabry to be selfish, whiny and much the same way that Mary was (actually probably more so). I understood Mary's need to move on. To find the ocean. To not marry someone she didn't love. Gabry I don't get.

I find that there is TOO MUCH internal dialogue and not enough actual character interaction, leaving the characters' motivations somewhat murky.

I think Carrie Ryan is a good writer though. She is excellent at world building, and emotional tension. But her characters are so darn irritating. Part of the problem, I believe, is that she wants to make these young people realistic. And they do have realistic feelings and aspirations. However, when we read a story, psychologically we want our heroes and heroines to improve upon humanity. To be everything that we wish we could be.

These girls, Mary and Gabrielle, lack the final heroic move that pushes them from realistic "any" girl (whiny, selfish, afraid) to heroines. We, as the readers, keep expecting them to triumph over their own fears, yet these girls keep letting us down. That makes an ultimately disappointing novel.

So, I don't know if I care to finish this. I'm at the part where I can see that there is going to be some sort of Catcher/Elias love triange...and I just don't think I can take it.

Penny April wrote: "So, I don't know if I care to finish this. I'm at the part where I can see that there is going to be some sort of Catcher/Elias love triange...and I just don't think I can take it."

The love triangle is one of my biggest issues with this novel. I don't know about you but I'm just burnt out on love triangles, especially when it comes to YA novels.

I always cheer for the underdog in a love triangle. Why? I'm not entirely sure, to tell you the truth. It might be because I'm feeling sorry for the underdog, or because I'm just sick of being manipulated into liking one guy over another, especially when they're both good guys. Either way, I'm just tired of love triangles. They're to dramatic and stressful and I just hate that authors these days are using it as a major element in their stories.

And just so you know, the Catcher/Elias thing gets entirely out of hand. Especially since, like I said in my review, it's clear who she prefers. I hate that Gabry spends way too much time stressing out over who she should pick (when it's pretty clear she already knows who she wants).

Because she doesn't make up her mind for a while I ended up hating Gabry during a portion of this book. I don't like when a character is being strung along like that.


It's funny but now that I'm thinking about it, I'm not too happy with the way this book ended. And it's not because of the cliffhanger ending. It's because the guy she doesn't pick risks his own life to save Gabry. And while I'm thinking he would have done it regardless, it bugs me that he's asked by the guy Gabry picks to do so. I don't know, that whole scenario doesn't sit well with me.

OH! And the other guy ends up saving the life of the guy Gabry picks. After Gabry made her choice. Again, I don't think he'd have let the other guy die, but the fact that GABRY ASKS HIM TO SAVE THE GUY SHE PICKED is really irritating. Why do authors do this? Isn't it bad enough that the guy wasn't picked to begin with? Can't the other guy walk away with, I don't know, just a shred of dignity???


So yeah, I'm thinking you probably don't want to finish the book. And honestly, I wouldn't blame you. Sure, I liked this book well enough but it isn't for everyone.

For me, the saving grace of this book is the fact that I was interested in everything but the GINORMOUS LOVE TRIANGLE. Like, we learn more about the Sisterhood, and what happened to Mary's village, and other stuff like that.

And Gabry? Totally sucks. What's sad is, I don't think I realized it until you just pointed that out. But I still like her more then Mary in TFOHAT. Why? Probably because she actually loves one of the guys she was stressing out about. In the end of TFOHAT Mary admits to herself--after Travis points it out--that she doesn't REALLY love him. At least not more then her desire to see the ocean. Mary doesn't love anyone, it seems.

You're right though, Carrie Ryan is a good writer, and for all the reasons you've mentioned. But yeah, her characters are incredibly irritating.

You know what you should read? Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver. No, there aren't any zombies in Before I Fall but it's a great story. Plus, while the MC sucks at first, she goes through a lot of personal growth during the book. And in the end, I didn't feel let down. Quite the opposite, really.

Wicked Incognito Now Thanks for the recommendation of Before I Fall. That book is on my radar, so I'll definitely read it now.

I know what you mean about love triangles. DONE TO DEATH!! They are a device to keep the reader strung along, just like you said. It's pathetic.

I don't think I'll finish this book (although I DO wish I knew what went on with the sisterhood and who Gabry's people are--although I think I know already), maybe I'll skim to find out.

If you haven't read Kelley Armstrong's young adult series, The Summoning, The Awakening, and the Reckoning, I recommend it. There IS a love triangle type scenario, but I believe Kelley Armstrong handles it so well that it's probably the reason that I dislike this book so much. I read The Reckoning immediately before reading this. So comparing the two series is inevitable.

Chloe, the main character in KA's series, is rather shy, afraid, hestitant at the beginning as well. But she develops and grows as a character. She makes the reader want to pull for her. That series has character interaction, rising intrigue, strong emotions, and (most importantly IMO) character development.

I am pulling for Carrie Ryan as an author. I hope she works on developing lead characters that don't make the reader want to lop off their heads, because I love her settings. She has an awesome imagination and way with words.

Penny Actually, I have read all of Kelley Armstrong's Women of the Other World series, except for Angelic and Stolen. And actually, I didn't read this series, I listened to it since I have all of them on audiobook.

I haven't read/listened to Stolen because until recently it wasn't available in audio format. I kept waiting for it to be released but now that I've read all the other books, and some of the short stories on KA's website I've pretty much got the gist of what goes on in that book.

Quick Tangent: I really hate Karl. So much. And Hope? Didn't need to be featured in as many books as she's featured in. Hope's powers suck. And I hate how overly protective Karl is. I hate them and I especially hate their pairing. And their sex? Not sexy. Just weird and... I don't know. Just weird. Personal Demon nearly killed me.

Moving on...

I'm actually a huge fan of Eve. I love her. I love Kristof, too. I also love Savannah. I'm anxiously awaiting her book to be released.

Also, I just finished the third book in the Darkest Powers series. I love Chloe and Derek together. They make sense together. And even though Derek can be a complete butthole, I was glad that Chloe figured out how to handle him.

Wicked Incognito Now I actually haven't read all of the Other World series. I've read Bitten and Stolen, and I've begun Broken. I have the entire series on e-book format on my Sony Reader, I just haven't read them yet.

Stolen was excellent. I couldn't put it down.

I really like Kelley Armstrong, but I have to just dive in and accept the fact that Elena and Clay won't be featured in the other books. The reason that I love books in series so much is that I get so involved with characters that I want to continue with them. So, it's difficult for me to get on board with these other characters.

Penny Dime Store Magic and Industrial Magic weren't my favorite, that's for sure. I really liked Haunted and the one about the necromancer, Jaime Vegas.

Kristal Thanks for your review. I might actual try this book, even after being a bit dissapointed about TFOHAT.

message 5: by Mathura (new)

Mathura I've decided that I don't really want to read this book after reading this review. Not that your review is solely the reason but also because I was mostly annoyed while reading TFOHAT. I usually root for the underdog and found that I liked Harry better. And what personality did Travis have? Those feelings seem to already be established before the book starts and I just didn't believe in the dubious love story.

After hearing that there is a similar triangle in this one, I don't think I can stomach it. I want to know more about this world, especially since the last book didn't answer many questions, but I don't know if this one answered much more?

message 4: by Jay (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jay See I'm the other way around I loved FOHAT and didn't like this one as much.
As for the love triangle it isn't even as if she made a choice as Catcher made the choice for her by saying he wouldn't risk having a relationship with anyone.

message 3: by Lila (new) - added it

Lila Brantley I've JUST started Dead Tossed Waves and I'm having the same feelings as you. It is a feeling of "here we go again." The over dramatic characters and token love story don't help any either. Mary really annoyed me in the FOHT, and although Gabby doesn't have much in common with her, she def got the trait of think and dwell on the same subject for six pages. I'm going to read it a little more and see if I can make it through. Really enjoyed your review!

Amanda This book really did deserve more than three stars. I just couldn't get into the new characters until the end. I feel confident that the next book will rate higher because of the emotional attachments I will have with the characters. I will say that while getting to know these new people (that will reside in my heart for quite some time) I felt their pain and their joy. To feel these deep emotions is a success to the writer. I can't wait to see how this series ends. :-)

message 1: by Alaina (new)

Alaina I feel the exact same way about The FoHAT. The love triangle was a hot mess. There just wasn't enough development there. I mean, the reader wasn't given a reason as to why Mary's love was so fierce. just that it was. the end. lol
But I'm so bummed that M's story line doesn't continue. I mean I wanted to know what happened to Harry, Cass, Jocob, Jed, even Argos! Plus I wanted to see M grow the hell up. pardon my French. ha

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