The Dead-Tossed Waves by Carrie Ryan

Happy New Year!

Okay, now on to book review business.

The set-up: This is less a sequel and more a companion novel to Ryan’s first book, The Forest of Hands and Teeth (which I reviewed here). The story takes place many years in the future (it is post-apocalyptic, after all) in a society haunted by Mudo, aka ZOMBIES. (Sorry, I was excited. All-caps necessary on that one.) This novel follows Gabrielle, the daughter of the main character from The Forest of Hands and Teeth.

Main character’s goals: Gabrielle (Gabry) doesn’t have one goal throughout the story; her goal changes as story events give her different options. If I listed her main goals, I’d be giving away some major story points. So I won’t. But the annoying thing about this book was Gabry’s desire: she wanted everything to go back to how it was before she and her friends made this horrible mistake.

My reaction, and more on Gabry’s regret/desire: Now, I understand where Gabry’s coming from on this desire to go back in time and change things.  But she repeated some form of this desire many, many times throughout the story. Even at the end. Ugh. It does suit Gabry’s personality exactly, even though it got a little old.

Of interest to writers: I freakin’ LOVE Carrie Ryan’s style. It kept me going even when I was annoyed with Gabry. Kick-ass zombie fights and lyrical prose work really well together. But I already raved about Ryan’s writing style in my other review.

Other items of interest: how Gabry’s main goal adapts to story circumstances (I’ve never tried that before), and how some unfinished business from The Forest of Hands and Teeth is resolved. Ironically, some business from this story is left unfinished, paving the way for another book in the story.

Bottom Line: I won’t lie and say The Dead-Tossed Waves is as good as Ryan’s first. It’s not. But if you can get through Gabry’s occasional whining, it’s still a good story.


  1. Vicki R. · January 26, 2011

    Another friend who likes ZOMBIES 🙂 Not my thing, but is the story completely revolved around the zombies or is there more depth to it?

    • Beth Hull · January 26, 2011

      No, I would say there’s more of an internal struggle with the main character, less zombie fights (although there’s a big one in the opening chapters). I’m not a fan of zombie books in general…in fact, I’ve burnt out on werewolves and vampires and witches even (is it what I’m writing?). But Ryan’s writing is quite good, so I’ll make exceptions for her books.

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