All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

The Dead-Tossed Waves – Carrie Ryan

on October 9, 2010

Okay, so I cracked. Well actually I went and got another book from the library and I had to take this one too as it was in the requested pile. I decided to give it a go, after all a writer often improves with each book they write so I thought that I had nothing to lose.

Gabry lives with her mother Mary (the protagonist from The Forest of Hands and Teeth) in the town of Vista, where Mary ended up at the end of the previous novel. Mary mans the lighthouse and the beach, decapitating the Unconsecrated (or Mudo as they call them in Vista) as they wash up on the beach with the tide. Gabry has been raised to believe in the sanctity of the fences, to be safe, to be secure. Mary has stressed the importance of safety but as a result Gabry feels cowardly, and that she could never be like her brave mother. So when some friends decide to go over the fences up to an old fairground, Gabry is reluctant. It’s forbidden to go over them and she’s frightened. She’s talked into it though by Catcher, the brother of her best friend who has caught her eye and so over the fence she goes, up to fairground. Of course it ends in disaster with a run-in with a Mudo. Several of the group are bitten and fall including Catcher. He urges Gabry to run before the Militia catches her and after some token protests, she does.

The rest are caught and burdened by guilt from Cira, her best friend, Gabry risks it to go back up to the fairground to look for Catcher. On the way there she meets a mysterious boy named Elias who assists her when she runs into some Mudo and takes her to where Catcher is holed up, waiting to turn. Some stuff happens that I won’t give away and then before you know it, it’s four teenagers, 2 girls and 2 guys, running through the forest again. Sound familiar? Well yes, it kind of is….right down to the love triangle.

While I think that technically this is a better novel than The Forest of Hands and Teeth, quite a good chunk of it is just a rehashing of that novel, but with different characters and in a slightly different section of the forest. Some scenarios are so familiar they’re almost identical and the wishy-washy thoughts of the narrator are all too recognisable. She vacillates between two boys just like Mary did with a “Oh I love X, I love his body, his warm kisses but wait! Y is also kissing me and I quite like this too…yes I think I want to be with Y… But there’s X! He’s drawing my thoughts again, I can see myself with him. But then again….Y….” And then when she finally chooses at the end it’s kind of like what the? where on Earth did that come from?

The male characters are for me, not in any way fleshed out enough for you to get behind any of them and want them for Gabry. They have very little depth, you know almost nothing about them, the type of people they are and no real explanation is given for her attraction to them other than their warm kisses. Well that’s all very well and good but you can’t build a life on some warm kisses! And apparently they both kiss equally warmly and well, so how she comes to make her final decision is really quite baffling.

Although this novel does provide us with some answers to questions and wrap up some mysteries posed in The Forest of Hands and Teeth, it in itself also raises more questions and leaves more mysteries dangling at the end of the novel – presumably to rile everyone up for the third novel, The Dark and Hollow Places, due out March 2011. If this is the last book in the series, then I presume it will wrap up most, if not all, of the loose ends.

Over all I like Gabry a little better than I liked Mary although I still felt that Gabry also made some very questionable choices. But then again, teenage girls do that, so I found Gabry’s choices (apart from one, which I didn’t particularly get or like at all, regarding Daniel) mostly more palatable. I’m still not very creeped out by the Unconsecrated/Mudo though. I think that because they’re always there pushing at the fences, moaning, shoving their fingers through that they lose a little bit of their threat. I’d find them much more menacing if they just kind of turned up out of no where without announcing their arrival and the characters never knew when the threat might arrive.

Mary undergoes no character growth in this novel either. She’s just as selfish as she was in The Forest of Hands and Teeth, if not more so and her actions in this novel are just as self-involved and infuriating as they are in the first one. I know that some novels can be successful if they’re plot driven rather than character driven but weak uninteresting characters seem to be a recurring theme in this world. The female protagonists are so similar in their indecisiveness regarding men, and also their selfishness. Cira is just Cass reincarnated and Catcher and Elias are just as bland as Harry and Travis with no real personalities. They’re just like Generic Male Love Interests constructed to fill Requisite Love Triangle.

I think that Carrie Ryan actually had a really good idea with these novels. I found the actual bare bones of the plot very workable and it could’ve been an amazing story. As with in the first novel though, we don’t get much of a feel for the day to day life in the village, of growing up with this ever-present threat on their doorstep. I think that could’ve been explored a lot more thoroughly.

6/10

(Book #72 of my 75 Book Challenge)

This novel also counts for my YA Dystopian Challenge, hosted by Darren over at Bart’s Bookshelf. I think I’m going to upgrade my level and go for Level 3, which is a minimum of five YA Dystopian novels during the time between October 1st – December 19th, 2010. I’ve already read 3 and I still have the first 2 novels of the Chaos Walking series and all the novels of The Hunger Games trilogy to read.


3 responses to “The Dead-Tossed Waves – Carrie Ryan

  1. Trish says:

    If you’re reading in the readathon I hope you’re tackling those books! If not, I hope you have a wonderful weekend.

  2. […] do it for me at all. The first two are connected and are The Forest of Hands and Teeth, and The Dead Tossed Waves. I read both for the Dystopian Challenge hosted by Bart and I was pretty disappointed. I found both […]

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