I'm torn with the rating I gave this book. It deserves more than three stars but I wouldn't say I 'really liked it'. So, even though I like this book more than I like it's companion, The Forest of Hands and Teeth, I gave it the same amount of stars.
Quick review: In The Forest of Hands and Teeth we were introduced to Mary, a not entirely likable teenage girl living in a remote village reminiscent of the village in M. Night Shyamalan's 'The Village'. Mary's village is fenced off from the surrounding forest which is full of zombies (referred to as the unconsecrated). Mary desires, more than anything, to venture outside the fenced-in village to find her way to the ocean, even though she's been told her whole life the ocean no longer exists. At the end of The Forest of Hands and Teeth Mary receives her heart's desire: she sees the ocean, and that is where her story ends.
The Dead-Tossed Waves is told by Mary's teenage daughter, Gabry. This is Gabry's
story. Gabry (Gabrielle) is quite unlike her mother. Raised in Vista, the seaside city Mary discovered at the end of The Forest of Hands and Teeth, she has no desire to venture outside the city walls where the Mudo--unconsecrated!
In the first chapter Gabry is invited by her best friend's cute older brother, Catcher, to sneak past the barriers to the abandoned amusement park, which, while still technically fenced in, is forbidden since those fences are no longer maintained or guarded. It is only the lure of Catcher, his flirtatious promise to protect her, that finally gets Gabry to do what she fears most: leave the relative safety of Vista.
It is in the amusement park, as Gabry receives her first kiss, that things go horribly wrong (who'd have guessed??? I kid, I kid). A Breaker--an über-mudo, if you will--attacks the group Gabry is with. Long story short: their little adventure outside the city walls does not end well.
Because of the commotion caused by the attack they know it is only a matter of time before the city militia arrives. So Catcher insists Gabry flee the scene because those caught outside the city walls will be punished severely. Before she leaves, Gabry tries to round-up Cira, Catcher's sister, to go back with her, but is unsuccessful.
Gabry returns to the city by herself, a decision with which struggles throughout the rest of this novel. She's riddled with guilt that she was unable to stop everyone from going to the amusement park in the first place. Gabry hates that, unlike Cira and the rest of her friends, she wasn't caught.
Because she's the only one who wasn't caught she's obligated to search for Catcher, at Cira's request. The only problem is, Catcher may have been bitten by a mudo. What's worse, he's hiding somewhere outside the city walls.
So Gabry ventures outside the walls once again, attacked by more mudo, and saved by a young man, named Elias, who is clearly not from her village. And this is when the adventure really begins.
Overall, this is a pretty good book. I think it's much better than The Forest of Hands and Teeth, mainly because I don't mind the protagonist; she's not selfish like her mother was at her age. Also I think The Dead-Tossed Waves is written better than The Forest of Hands and Teeth.
Before I go on, I need to mention that I'm not a fan of the love triangle in this book. It's not that I don't luuuurve me a good love triangle, because I do. It's just the fact that Carrie Ryan already did the whole love triangle thing, and not very well might I add (IMHO, Mary was undeserving of such attention so the love-triangle in The Forest of Hands and Teeth felt forced. And in the end it turns out the triangle was completely unnecessary).
I feel Carrie Ryan should have gone a different direction this time around--not everybody has two equally good-looking guys vying for their attention. I feel Carrie Ryan, along with a lot of authors these days, are relying on the love triangle a little too much. I think Carrie Ryan cheated herself, her story, and the readers, by focusing too much attention on the love story.
Example: Gabry spends too much time being torn up over the whole Catcher or Elias question. Especially when, as far as I'm concerned, her preference is obvious. I wish Gabry had made a decision early on, sparing everyone involved (including the readers), and spent more time thinking about more important things. Such as the many interesting ethical questions raised by various characters in this book (What is the difference between existing and surviving? Is there a difference? How are the infected (mudo/unconsecrated) different from the non-infected? When a body Returns, is part of their former self--their soul--still there, just trapped inside?).
There are other things I didn't necessarily like but I can't bring them up without giving away too much.
Basically, what I'm trying to say is, while I do quite like this book (and I'm planning to read the next one) I'm left feeling a little disappointed. Carrie Ryan could have done so much more with this storyline, the deeper elements are present but not explored. Which is why I couldn't give this book four stars.
(I do want to give Carrie Ryan props for writing zombie books targeted specifically at females. If it weren't for her I wouldn't have picked up a zombie book, ever. Which, in retrospect, would have been quite unfortunate as it is a genre I quite enjoy.)
Side note: Also, I think Carrie Ryan could have should have released The Dead-Tossed Waves first and eventually released The Forest of Hands and Teeth as a prequel. Why? Because The Forest of Hands and Teeth does not actually add to this story, seeing as Gabry spends the majority of this novel (mostly) ignorant of her mother's past. Sure, we the readers are able to make the connections, but that just takes away from the reading experience--we already know what Gabry doesn't. It's sort of infuriating.
Plus, the way in which this book ends I'm assuming the next book, The Dark and Hollow Places, will start where this one leaves off; Gabry still telling her
story. Which is just another reason why it doesn't make sense that The Forest of Hands and Teeth was released first.