Audiobook Review: The Dead-Tossed Waves by Carrie Ryan
First of all, let me get this out of my system: dead people aren’t tossing anything. They are being tossed. In my head, this book is more accurately titled The Wave-Tossed Dead.
Secondly, this was an audiobook listen and while Tara Sands did a good job and her voice worked well for both the age of the characters and the target audience, I couldn’t help comparing at least some of the characters to My Little Pony…
With those diversions out of the way, I can move on to a proper review of the sequel to The Forest of Hands and Teeth.
The story takes place far into a dystopian future following “The Return,” an unexplained event that brought the dead back to life. Pockets of society remain, surrounding by the dead. Most are the typical slow moving zombies, but once in a while, without enough zombie presence, a “breaker” is created. I like that these zombies aren’t just about feeding. They are about infecting. A breaker’s birth and their speed and agility lends itself to this concept. Once a zombie here has infected someone with a bite, it eagerly and immediately seeks new prey, greatly increasing the threat if you can’t just kneecap a friend to buy yourself more time to escape.
The main protagonist is Gabry (Twilight Sparkle), daughter of Mary from the previous book. Gabry is Mary’s exact opposite. Mary was all about herself, oblivious of how her selfish actions basically ruined the lives of other. Gabry is hyper-aware of others and spends a lot of time going over her guilt and woulda coulda shoulda It can be annoying, but I weigh her against how infuriating a character her mother was and find that Gabry is at least tolerable. I had hoped this book would redeem Mary a bit with wisdom in her maturity, but nope. She’s still selfishly all about abandoning loved ones and responsibilities to fulfill her own needs.
Ryan presents both Mary and Gabry as fairly typical teens, and I think a teen would truly appreciate or at least understand their actions and even their selfishness. I have apparently reached the point in adulthood where I have forgotten that I may have been just like these girls and will instead just shake my fist and say “those damn kids!” with conviction.
Those damn kids (i.e. Gabry’s friends with Gabry nervously tagging along thanks to peer pressure) quickly launch the story with their adventure outside of the protective walls of Vista, resulting in an attack that forces Gabry on a dangerous path to save everyone else.
This book also introduces a cult of worshippers of the undead. I’m always wary of cults, because religious zealotry can tediously swallow up a plot. That wasn’t the case here and moreover, the cultists were treated respectfully in their descriptions, even taking into consideration some of their rituals.
The romantic plotline was fairly typical, though not cloyingly so. YA isn’t my usual genre, but I do like the way Ryan doesn’t pull punches with the darkness of her books. Don’t expect happy endings. As frustrating as Mary and Gabry can be, I respect that they and the events they deal with are all realistically handled.