The Dead-Tossed Waves by Carrie Ryan

The Dead-Tossed Waves
by Carrie Ryan
ISBN-13: 9-780385-736848
Rating: 5 ♥ / 5 ♥

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 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 veiled in mystery…
One reckless moment, and half of Gabry’s generation is dead, the other half imprisoned.

Gabry knows only one thing: if she is to have any hope of a future, she must face the forest of her mother’s past.


I love this book so hard. The Dead-Tossed Waves is a companion novel to The Forest of Hands and Teeth – one of my Top 5 picks of 2009 – and just as wonderful.

In The Forest of Hands and Teeth, we met Mary. We fled with her from her village when it was invaded with Unconsecrated, through the forest and to the ocean, where she would begin a new life. Now, we meet Gabry, Mary’s daughter. Gabry has never known the harshness of the Forest the way her mother did. She is content to live in their lighthouse on the edge of their town, Vista, helping her mother keep back the Mudo that wash up on the beach. She has never gone across the Barrier surrounding their town until one night she caves to her friends and joins them. After that night, nothing is the same. We follow Gabry as she is turn between two boys, learns the secrets of her past and follows her mother into the Forest of Hands and Teeth.

Although I found many themes and plot points the same as the first book (Gabry torn between two men, wandering the Forest paths, etc), this one gave us so much more world building it was crazy. We learn more about the world outside the forest and more about the Return. We learn some pretty interesting things about the Unconsecrated/Mudo and and the zombie factor is jacked way up in this one.

Gabry is a well-developed, likeable character. She’s far from perfect and makes some mistakes along the way, but she’s earnest and though often scared she’s full of courage. As in quite a few first person POV books, I didn’t connect quite as well with the secondary characters of the novel. I didn’t mind with Mary, since I already knew her from The Forest of Hands and Teeth – I actually enjoyed getting to see her through Gabry’s eyes. I would have liked to know a bit more about Catcher and Elias, the two boys Gabry is torn between, so I hope we get to know them better in the sequel (the way The Dead-Tossed Waves was left, I’m hoping for a direct sequel instead of another time-skip).

As with The Forest of Hands and Teeth, The Dead-Tossed Waves led me on a rollar coaster ride of happiness, despair, worry, anger, love, hope and faith. The writing was wonderful, the plot engaging and imagery breathtaking.



2 thoughts on “The Dead-Tossed Waves by Carrie Ryan

  1. I completely agree. I would have said The Dead Tossed Waves is my favorite of the two, except for Catcher and Elias. I felt that they were underdeveloped. I couldn’t quite see the passion that Mary and Travis had. I didn’t the way Gabry would like one of them one day and not the next. The book would have been spectacular if they had more distinct personalities and reasons for Gabry to love them.

    • Exactly. I can understand why she and Catcher fell apart, but I personally didn’t see much reason for her to *love* Elias. Yes, there is that “they’re going through certain danger together” thing, but I would have liked to see a little more development in regards to their relationship.

      And who knows how things will go now that she’s traveling with the guy she is (wow, it’s hard to avoid spoilers); I guess we’ll have to wait and see!

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