Wednesday 11 August 2010

Book Review: The Dead Tossed Waves ~ Carrie Ryan

I have a confession: zombies scare me, and not in a I’m going to girly scream way, but a frozen with terror I’ve just peed my pants way. Despite this I read Carrie Ryan’s The Forest of Hands and Teeth and the companion novel The Dead Tossed Waves, and I enjoyed both books. From Carrie's website:


Gabry lives a quiet life, secure in her town next to the sea and behind the Barrier. She's content to let her friends dream of the Dark City up the coast while she watches from the top of her lighthouse. Home is all she's ever known, and all she needs for happiness.

But life after the Return is never safe, and there are threats even the Barrier can't hold back.

Gabry's mother thought she left her secrets behind in the Forest of Hands and Teeth, but like the dead in their world, secrets don't stay buried. And now, Gabry's world is crumbling.

One night beyond the Barrier...

One boy Gabry's known forever and one veiled in mystery...

One reckless moment, and half of Gabry's generation is dead, the other half imprisoned.
Gabry knows only one thing: if she is to have any hope of a future, she must face the forest of her mother's past.

The world Carrie has created is apocalyptic, dark, and haunting. Hope is fleeting and eroded by fear and, surprisingly, the constant threat of death by zombie and then becoming one is integrated into society. As nonchalant as we’ve become about war and reality television the threat of becoming un-dead is intricately woven into everyday living.

The horror is bloody and chilling, and kept me looking over my shoulder when I stayed up late reading in the dark. Ultimately the book is about self discovery, courage, love, loss, and finding your place in the world. This passage from the book sums up what I believe the book is about:

Maybe, though, it’s time we learned that we don’t have to live within the boundaries we set up. Maybe we have to learn to push those barriers. To reclaim some of what was lost. And to build a new world.

The zombies we live with today are consumerism, politics, media, and the insidious corporate giants. I’d rather be brave than become the un-dead. It’s not necessary to read The Forest of Hands and Teeth first, but I think you’ll misunderstand some subtle plot points and scenes in The Dead Tossed Waves if you don't. It’s great, and I didn’t pee (okay, just a little. Come on, it was a cold night!).

Personally, I feel blessed that there are so many talented young women writing today. I believe creative people are guided by spirit, angels, and consciousness, and if we’re observant we’ll find messages and guidance in their art. Thank you, Carrie, for being brilliant.

Disclaimer thingy: Carrie hasn’t critiqued my writing, walked my dogs, sent me free stuff, or bitten me, but she can if she wants to. If you’re not reading YA, I encourage you to start because there are some satisfying reads out there.

You can find Carrie here.

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  1. I'm all for a good zombie book!

    And thanks for always visiting my blog, Simon.

  2. L. Diane Wolfe, yes me too (gulp!), and you're welcome. We love you downunder.

  3. I've been reading a lot of YA novels lately. The writing is excellent and the stories different and imaginative. But zombies...that's hard. One of the fellows in my writers group wrote a zombie novel, and doing the critiques was not easy. I didn't have nightmares, thank goodness.

  4. Hi Simon - they sound interesting .. with some enticing one liners .. I particularly like the "she must face the forest of her mother's past."

    You're right the zombieism of today is consumerism .. Thanks - Hilary