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, 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.
Now Gabry knows only one thing: if she has any hope of a future, she must face the forest of her mother’s past. – Summary from Goodreads
If you read my review on Carrie Ryan’s previous book in the series “The Forest of Hands and Teeth” you’ll know that I wasn’t too impressed by it overall. Like I said in that review, I wanted to read the second book in the series because I did find the whole world that Ryan created very intriguing, even if I didn’t particularly like Mary, the main protagonist. I saw that “The Dead Tossed Waves” followed the story of Mary’s daughter instead, a fact that I was both relieved and worried about. What if Gabry was just like her mother?
Nonetheless, I read “The Dead Tossed Waves”, and ended up really liking it. The plot is a lot more organised than the plot in TFOHAT, as I felt that there was a lot more thought put into the pacing and the timeline. As in the first novel, the zombies – or “Mudo” – in this book are still my favourite part. The whole story about The Return is very interesting, and I honestly felt really connected with the story because the zombies were so realistic.
The love triangle aspect of the story is another similarity to the previous novel. Gabry struggles with her feelings for her childhood friend, Catcher, and her new, mysterious friend Elias, and a lot of the novel is based around these three people, and Gabry trying to figure out which one she should give up. I didn’t think there was much need for a love triangle in this book. A lot of authors seem to love the triangles at the moment, and I admit, sometimes they can be very interesting. However, I do not think that this love triangle did anything for the overall story. Catcher could just have easily been a good friend to Gabry, rather than a love interest.
I loved Gabry as a character. She was a lot more easy to connect with than her mother, Mary, as she is quite rightly frightened of the world outside the walls of her town. She shows fear of the Mudo and I find this to be one of her greater qualities. She’s scared, and yet she still ventures out of the town to look after her friend and to find her mother.
I also really liked Elias, who was an interesting asset to the story. However, I did not particularly like Catcher. His own story was interesting, and the twist was a nice touch but when teamed with Gabry’s, I did not find him interesting at all, and very two dimensional.
Mary was the same, selfish little girl that she was in the first book. So much for my expectations of her growing up after the demise of her friends and family! *spoiler* I mean, the day after Gabry’s friends are killed and Returned, she runs off to the Forest to go and find her old village? And then she stays there without going back to find her daughter? What kind of a mother does that?
Overall, I really did enjoy this book, and the ending is a great lead up to the next book in the series “The Dark and Hollow Places”. A few things brought this book down a peg or two, though.