Tuesday, March 8, 2011

REVIEW: The Dead-Tossed Waves by 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.

About the Author

Born and raised in Greenville, South Carolina, Carrie Ryan is a graduate of Williams College and Duke Law School. A former litigator, she now writes fulltime. She lives with her writer/lawyer boyfriend and two fat cats in Charlotte, North Carolina. They are not at all prepared for the zombie apocalypse. 

You can visit Carrie at www.carrieryan.com.

My Thoughts
"The story goes that even after the Return they tried to keep the roller coasters going. They said it reminded them of the before time. When they didn't have to worry about people rising from the dead, when they didn't have to build fences and walls and barriers to protect themselves from the masses of Mudo constantly seeking human flesh. When the living weren't forever hunted. 

They said it made them feel normal."
Gabrielle has spent her life in Vista, safe from the zombie hordes that inhabit the lands outside the town. Her mother, who herself came from the Forest of Hands and Teeth, has always made her feel safe in her lighthouse home. But all of that is about to change.

Gabrielle and most of the other characters left me feeling pretty ambivalent. The only character that I really liked or felt any impact by was Elias, the mysterious outsider. Strong, almost chivalrous, I found him to be the most likable character.

It's funny. I love zombie-lit, yet I have such a logical and science-based mind that I often find myself having a lot of problem with the technicalities of many post-apocalyptic stories. Some find a way to legitimize the basis for a zombie theme in my mind. For example, Stephen King has the premise based on a technology-based tone that “resets” the human brain. Brian Keene has a plot that included a sort of demonic possession as the basis for the walking dead. But this story uses the traditional “infection” plotline, and I just have issues with the way it was portrayed in this book.

For instance, it is evident that the heart must still be beating and blood flowing through the veins of zombies, as there is mention of them bleeding. Yet they will be walking around without arms and such. Why doesn’t a zombie bleed to death? If their bodies are working like a basic human body, how are they able to possess electrical impulses that can power their heart when they aren't ingesting and digesting food to provide electrolytes and such? It’s as if the cardio-vascular system is working without the digestive system, but how is the cardio-vascular system being “powered”? And how can they lose a limb and not bleed “to death”? I just don’t get these things, and they just “bug” me. These are the little things that niggle my brain.

Also there was a little inconsistency. Things like deciding that something is one person’s fault, but then later another person is blaming themself for the incident. Huh? You already established earlier it was so-and-so’s fault. Why are you now blaming yourself?

But overall I enjoyed the story.


“Once when I was a child, the ground trembled beneath my feet. They said that it was the earth shifting, settling. But in doing so it threw up a massive wave. I remember standing in the lighthouse and seeing it coming. I remember the compression of air before it hit, the way everything stilled and pulled back for just a breath, and held.

That’s how it feels when Catcher moves toward me...” (p. 18)

The Cover: Love it! It's attractive, and ties into the story nicely.

Five words to describe this book: Haunting, morose, creepy, mild hopefulness

Content Rating: PG-13 for violence and mild sexual situations

My final word: While there were a few hang-ups for me, and while I don't find this to be a "great" story, it held my attention and was enjoyable. It just wasn't really fulfilling, but was more like a greasy appetizer- satisfying my hunger, but leaving me wishing I'd had a nice piece of grilled salmon with remoulade sauce and baked sweet potato instead.

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My Rating: 8 out of 10

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