Carrie Ryan

Gollancz (2010)

ISBN: 9780575090903

Reviewed by Tehani Wessely, April 2010

Gabry has lived her life by the ocean, sequestered behind a barrier designed to keep out the dead. She’s never known anything different, and she’s lived with enough fear that she never wanted anything more. But then she and her friends dare to go through the barrier and the very worst happens, shattering the life she knew forever. Gabry’s world is destroyed she now has to face not only her fears, but all that is terrifying.

Sequel to the well-received The Forest of Hands and Teeth, The Dead-Tossed Waves continues to consider the question of what it would be like to live in constant terror of being over-run by a menace that could not just kill you, but could mean the destruction of the entire place you live, and all those around you. Gabry’s mother Mary is the protagonist of the first book, and while her role in this one is quite small, particularly in the early pages, there is some further progression of her story as well. Having said that, Ryan has done a very good job of making this book stand-alone, and new readers will have no problem starting here.

Interestingly, some of the events of this book mirror those of the first – Mary was part of a love triangle; Gabry finds herself in a similar situation. They both run from the only home they’ve ever known, and struggle with the loss of those closest to them.

I liked that the publisher has moved away from the black, Twilight-esque cover that graced The Forest of Hands and Teeth, as these books have so little in common with Twilight and its sequels that such comparisons did Forest a disservice. The Dead-Tossed Waves has a simple and elegant cover and while it’s not necessarily representative of the actual story, I prefer it greatly to the original cover of the first book.

Ryan’s writing is compelling, and as with the first book, the reader is dragged into an intense story that is difficult to tear away from. It is full of action and emotion and horrifying drama, well-executed and powerful to read.