The Dead-Tossed Waves (Forest of Hands and Teeth Series #2)

The Dead-Tossed Waves - Carrie Ryan ‘The Dead Tossed Waves’ seriously surprised me. While I still had similar problems that I had with the first book, Ryan’s wonderful prose kept me gripped throughout. She has a serious gift for creating fear out of the small moments and that which we find to be so normal, like the ocean (water zombies FTW!) The feeling of claustrophobia, even in the wide open spaces that Gabry lives in, is constant, and Ryan does a fantastic job of crafting a secret filled, constraining society in a situation where one would think such a thing isn’t even possible. We also get answers to questions posed in the first book which is always a good thing. The mythos of the zombies, known here as the Mudo, is fleshed out further, no pun intended, and we get a wider view of how the world has been affected by the epidemic. There are some very interesting twists in this tale that I won’t spoil for you. But the love triangle problem looms in the distance and I just can’t ignore it. I was seriously bugged by Mary’s love-sick moping in ‘The Forest of Hands and Teeth’ because it seemed like a ridiculous priority to have when one’s life is at stake and it just dragged the plot down and sadly the exact thing happens here. While I like the protagonist in this book more than I did with Mary, it still feels highly unnecessary and uninteresting. Like her mother, Gabry suffers from some real moments of head-desk inducing stupidity. The adult Mary also gets a couple moments to display her unchanging personality from the first book. I’m disappointed that Ryan decided to repeat this plot element from the first book since it was evidently the weakest part of the story and weighed down the rest of it so much. I’d love to see her try this story without the love element in it. She manages to pose some very intriguing philosophical questions – what does it truly mean to be alive? When you are undead are you still you? – in an interesting way that keeps the plot moving, as well as some genuinely eerie moments, mixing together themes of religion, power and responsibility, and they’re all so much more interesting than the teenage romance, although I give credit to Gabry for being so much less selfish than her mother, even if she does spend a lot of time comparing herself to her. I’d love to see a story set in this world around the time of the Return. It would probably be as depressing as hell but Ryan could definitely pull it off. I will definitely be picking up the final book in Ryan’s trilogy, ‘The Dark and Hollow Places.’ Soap opera moments and unnecessary love triangle aside, I love Ryan’s prose and the world she has created. ‘The Dead Tossed Waves’ builds upon its predecessor and even beats it on several levels and I was highly satisfied with it. Ryan’s a great storyteller and I hope she sticks with the stuff she’s great at and makes the final book in her trilogy everything it deserves to be. 3.5 stars.