Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Review - The Dead-Tossed Waves / Carrie Ryan

Gabry lives a quiet life. As safe a life as is possible in a town trapped between a forest and the ocean, in a world teeming with the dead, who constantly hunger for those still living. She’s content on her side of the Barrier, happy to let her friends dream of the Dark City up the coast while she watches from the top of her lighthouse. But there are threats the Barrier cannot hold back. Threats like the secrets Gabry’s mother thought she left behind when she escaped from the Sisterhood and the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Like the cult of religious zealots who worship the dead. Like the stranger from the forest who seems to know Gabry. And suddenly, everything is changing. One reckless moment, and half of Gabry’s generation is dead, the other half imprisoned. Now Gabry only knows one thing: she must face the forest of her mother’s past in order to save herself and the one she loves.

Review - The much anticipated companion novel to Ryan's debut release, The Forest of Hands and Teeth, left me in a bit of a quandary. Though it was fantastic to rejoin this world thirty years after we left Mary on that beach, The Dead-Tossed Waves seemed forever trying to find its own identify. At times it wanted to be closely correlated with its elder and at other times it wanted to break free. It never seemed to settle. Every few chapters the focus would alter in a somewhat disjointed manner, scrambling to make sense of itself.

In some respects the story mirrored Mary's evolution in the first novel and that's what proves to be most problematic. Love triangles, betrayed friends, an unpleasant antagonist plus a dearth of community bureaucracy and religious zealotry permeate The Dead-Tossed Waves as well. It is just not executed nearly as well. Throw in a secondary story regarding the protagonist's true identity, what initially seems delicately achieved later reveals itself to be a throwaway. The coincidences and the fortunate fate of some fails to ring true. Ultimately this book isn't necessary.

On the other hand, some of the developments that arise from the formerly discussed, clunky story points are fantastic. It is just that the connectives are weak. Elias is a character draped in intrigue and untapped emotions. His interactions with Gabry are consistently the strongest as the character is the mostly strongly motivated. Ideally the whole novel should have been told from his perspective, start to finish. Think about it and you will know I am right.

Mary does appear in the story infrequently. Every time she does pop back into the mix it reminds the reader how much more complex she is than Gabry. Her perspective was a much more interesting place to look through. This book, like it's protagonist, wants to be more than it is but ultimately it is a pale imitation of its predecessor.


Published: March 9, 2010
Format: Hardback, 407 pages
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Source: purchased
Origin: USA



The Book Guru said...

I am a few chapters into this novel and although I am enjoying it I am not on the same level as I enjoyed The Forest of Hands and Teeth. Your review is excellent but I hope I like it a little more then you did lol

Adele said...

So do I, Lindsey. I was eagerly anticipating it and got more bummed out the further I got into it. Like I said in the review, I kept wishing it were from Elias' perspective. Oh well.

Unknown said...

I gave 3 stars to FHT and got beat up on it. I just didn't care for Mary, she annoyed me. I'm hesitant to read this one. I have it, but hesitant.

I don't understand how their could be similarities with FHT when Mary hated that way of life. So I guess that is what I will grapple with.

Rhiannon Hart said...

Oh no Adele, I loved this one! I was so pleased to find some actual horror in it, and some character motivation that was more than a bizarre wish to see the sea. Glad you enjoyed the developments though. And aren't you thrilled that Fast Ones are actually explained?? Phew! I was so frustrated about that.

Kris (Voracious YAppetite) said...

I loved this book, even more so than Forest -- and Forest was one of my favorite reads of 2009! I found Gabry to be more relatable, the love triangle more intriguing, and the ratio of action to protag reflection to be more balanced (and therefore more enjoyable) in Waves. I adored Elias, but I couldn't imagine this book told from anyone's perspective but Gabry's. Maybe the next one? Which I absolutely cannot wait for, btw!

Mari - Escape In A Book said...

I didn't dare reading the entire review, afraid of spoilers since I haven't read TFHT. I'm sorry to hear that the story let you down.

Nomes said...

I have been haunting my mail box for the past week waiting for this to arrive courtesy of the love Book Depository. Fingers crossed for tomorrow!

It's always hard going in to read a sequel when the first one was such an original and unique premise.

brizmus said...

I think I've only heard negative things about this book. So disappointing. I've been wanting to read the first one, but I know if I do, I'll have to read this one, too, and I don't want to be disappointed.