Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Dead-Tossed Waves by Carrie Ryan

Published: March 2010
Publisher: Delacorte
#Pages: 407
Copy provided by: Library
Summary: Goodreads

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.

I have to hand it to Ms. Ryan, she must be extremely talented to write two books about everyone's (almost) favourite monster without ever mentioning the 'Z' word. Yes, The Dead-Tossed Waves and its predecessor, The Forest of Hands and Teeth, are both about Zombies, but nowhere in either book is the word mentioned. We hear about 'Mudos', the 'Returned' and the 'Unconsecrated', but never zombies. There's not even a mention of rotting flesh! Plenty of moaning tho' - 'I hear the moans before I see anything' (p188)

Now don't get me wrong, DTW is not just about z.....s (I'm loath to actually write the word now), it's also a story about finding yourself, and your roots, and navigating the eternal teenage love triangle. 'Once I thought I understood Catcher, or at least was starting to. Now I feel as if he's more of a stranger to me than Elias' (p268)

The main character in this book is Gabry and the story tells of her friendship with Cira, Catcher and Elias. An incident occurs at the beginning of the book that shapes the way their lives will play out, and we follow their journey through the forest to their future. There is a certain sense of futility throughout the book that is overcome by determination and I just love this.

'I realize that this is the way the world works. If I could stop the spin, stop the rotation, I would have done so long ago, I would have stopped the first moment that ....... lips met mine under the moon in the amusement park. I would have held us in that eternity forever. But of course everything presses forward, even as we dig our feet against the reality of it all. One event tumbles from the next out of our control and we are dragged along, helpless.
That's why I force myself to raise my eyes, to take that step and to face what's happened. Even though I know more clearly than I've known anything else that what I'm about to see will break me." (p281/2)

This book is written so beautifully that I want to quote from every chapter. Here's an amazing description of a kiss (but I'm not telling who's kissing who!).

'His kiss is warm. It's more full of life than any moment I've ever experienced. It's heat, it's pressure and need and desire. His fingers tangle in my braid, bringing me closer to him and my hands pull to his back, feeling the flex of his shoulders under my touch. Sparks shatter in my head and I understand in this moment what he means about this being what life is.'
Isn't that just beautiful?

The suspense really ratchets up a notch or two towards the end of the book, and I found myself racing to finish it. I thoroughly enjoyed this wonderful story (even if it is about z......s). If you haven't read 'Forest of Hand and Teeth' don't worry, it won't stop you enjoying this one, but I'm sure you'll want to go back and read it after you've finished. I'm going to leave you with a few more quotes, just because I loved the way this book was written, and I think the real message is one of hope.

'My mother places her palm flat against mine. "It's never been a perfect world. It's never going to be. It's going to be hard and scary and, if you're lucky, wonderful and awe-inspiring. But you have to push through the bad parts to get to the good." ' (p362)

'He pauses, rests his forehead into the curve of my neck. "Before you my life was nothing but wandering and solitude and death. Now with you there's possibility." ' (p358)

'I let her words roll through my head and nod. And we sit together for a while listening to the Mudo thrash against the fences and the water drip through the night and then finally she stands and pulls me to my feet and we push on up the path toward morning.' (p359)

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