Book review: The Dead-Tossed Waves

Carrie Ryan’s The Dead-Tossed Waves.

Author: Carrie Ryan
Publisher: Gollancz

Carrie Ryan continues her cinematic form and bold characterisation into the sequel to The Forest Of Hands And Teeth, crafting a teen-tinged horror novel that stand out as a good book in its own right.

Set several years after the first book, the story follows Mary’s foundling daughter, Gabrielle, as she crosses the barrier protecting her small town of Vista with dire consequences. Alternately shifting between a romance story and an action adventure, Ryan pens both shifts in pace fluidly, with an uncannily subtle skill at world building influencing and flavouring every aspect of the narrative.

Indeed, where The Forest Of Hands And Teeth first introduced us to the mechanics of Mary and Gabry’s world, The Dead-Tossed Waves is very much the second date. Here we see a human race driven to the point of exhaustion after the return of the dead, with peculiar religious sects nipping at the edges of a last, desperate and autocratic form of government attempting to hold a semblance of the species together.

Problems do lie in some aspects of the novel. Often, the romantic aspects feel repetitive, the will-they-won’t-they trope trotted out with tiresome regularity. Also, the supporting cast can seem cardboard at times, but this is offset by the moments of heart-pounding, page-turning set pieces. We do think that Ryan should have cast off the YA feel at points as well – with a little more grit and a higher page count, this could quite easily be a fantastic adult novel, as opposed to a good late-teen one. Either way, it’s highly recommended for those who enjoyed the first book, and while those who haven’t read it may miss out on the nostalgic meaning of some of the later chapters, The Dead-Tossed Waves can be used as a starting point for the series.

[isbn name=”The Dead-Tossed Waves”]978-0575090897[/isbn]