The Dead-Tossed Waves by Carrie Ryan

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DeadTossed WavesGoodreads: The Dead-Tossed Waves
Series: The Forest of Hands and Teeth #2
Source: Library
Published: 2010


All her life Gabry has lived in the safety of the village of Vista, protected from the ravenous Mudo by the Barrier and the militia.  Then her friends dare her to climb the Barrier and explore the old amusement park, and everything changes.  An unexpected zombie attack leaves her friends either infected or arrested, and she is left alone to brave the outside world in search of the one boy who got away.


Sometimes I reflect on the all the time I wasted listening to The Dead-Tossed Waves on audiobook and I regret my life choices.  Sure, it was sometimes unintentionally funny and the possibility of the zombie apocalypse ending the sickening love triangle filled me with naïve hope, but otherwise the book has nothing to recommend it.  An annoying protagonist; terrible prose; bizarre logic; and repetition of scenes, thoughts, and phrases are the most striking aspects of the work.

Ryan clearly wishes to establish Gabry as a different character from her mother Mary.  Mary had definite thoughts about things and acted decisively on most occasions.  Gabry, however, spends her days overanalyzing not only her own thoughts and actions, but also the words and actions of every person around her.  She talks incessantly about how she fears everything and has a strange habit of blaming herself for the actions and fates of others.  She actually thinks things like, “If only I had kissed him, he would not have fallen off that cliff!”  Seeing as the guy was walking down a path in the dark, I assume he would have fallen off regardless.

Gabry’s obsession with herself leads her to use other people to make herself feel good.  Like her mother, she finds herself involved in a weird love triangle.  She keeps both boys dangling on the string, so to speak, as she makes out with one, then the other, depending on who’s available and how they currently feel toward her.  She clearly needs physical contact to feel loved, which is not necessarily a bad thing.  However, it does lead her to do things like forcing a guy to kiss her when he’s weak from lack of sleep, lack of food, and a zombie-inflicted injury.  She says she wants to “make him feel alive,” but his subsequent rejection of her leads to nothing more than a reflection on how he used to make her feel special.  The whole time I wanted to shout, “Wouldn’t feeding him and bandaging him also make him feel more alive?!”  She would rather feel sorry for herself than potentially save his life—and she calls that love.

These things were annoying, but the annoyance was multiplied according to how often they were repeated.  Gabry has to stop to think about her fear and her sadness all the time—just about after every plot-significant episode.  She typically does so in the same words.  Sentences like “Everything was happening too fast” and general reflections on how she doesn’t know who she is anymore, how she doesn’t know her mother, how she wants safety occur again…and again…and again….  Once the audiobook skipped back a couple of chapters by accident and though I recognized the passage, I did not stop to look at where it was because I assumed the book was reusing scenes and sentences as usual.

The weird logic used in the book also bothered me.  Initially I thought just Gabry was a little obsessive about blaming herself for things and overanalyzed everything too much.  Then she started doing things like blaming herself for someone getting bitten by a zombie and others agreed.  Perhaps they were just scared and angry, I thought.  Then she blamed her mother for leaving her friends in the forest.  Anyone who has read the first book might assume that it is understandable one would not race through a zombie-infested wood to find people who are probably dead by now.  But her mother agreed.  Then she blamed someone for tearing her past from her because they had saved her from zombies when she was a child.  The person agreed.  Clearly I had entered another dimension where what constitutes rationality has a different meaning.

I only read this book because I was hoping to learn more about the zombies.  Since it was only another crazy love triangle and the third book seems to be the same, I intend to leave the trilogy uncompleted.

Krysta 64


8 thoughts on “The Dead-Tossed Waves by Carrie Ryan

      • storytimewithbuffy says:

        Definitely not. I remember liking the first one, but I read it way back before I got into the mode of analysing books. I kind of wonder how it would hold up if I tried to read it again. I haven’t read any good reviews of it, so I have a feeling that I wouldn’t like it upon a second glance.


        • Krysta says:

          I kind of assumed the series was well-liked because the first one was a New York Times bestseller and was picked up to be a movie. I guess it could still be a fair movie if they expanded upon the world and changed some of the plot points.


          • Krysta says:

            I don’t pay attention to the best seller lists, either. I think I only know if they put it on the book itself. I’m not sure what’s happening with the movie, though. The only information I can find says it has a 2013 release and I’m pretty sure that’s not happening. Perhaps they took your advice. 😉


    • Krysta says:

      I know a lot of people enjoy the series, so I felt a little bad writing such a negative review for this book. From my personal experience, however, people tend to tell me they’re going to read books I said were not so great, so I guess it’s all right. 😉 Someone else commented the third book was the best, but I, alas, will probably never know.


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