Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Dead Tossed Waves

Gabry is a shy, timid girl who would rather follow the rules to the letter than live a little. Her mother, Mary, is the opposite, throwing away her overly secure life at the Sisterhood (in The Forest of Hands and Teeth) in favor of discovering things for herself. The mudo (or undead) are successfully kept out of their city by the Militiamen and the Recruiters, but at a price: the inhabitants much follow their rules or venture out on their own, braving the Mudo (or undead). Gabry breaks the rules just once by going over the wall into the ruins and all hell breaks loose: Catcher, the boy she loves, is infected and her other friends are either dead or in jail. She only escaped their fate because she fled. Now, Gabry wants to return to the insulated, safe life she had, but everything is irrevocably changed. Will she tolerate the controlling, suffocating society she's part of now or go into the forest her mother escaped from to seek a new life?

I really enjoyed The Dead Tossed Waves, but it wasn’t nearly as good as its predecessor. The very beginning of the novel throws the reader right into the dark and violent world populated by flesh eating zombies. They are a very present threat that works as a backdrop because of their constant presence. The people that populate this world are all unique in their own ways and develop as the novel progresses. Mary started out as practically afraid of her own shadow. Even after all of her family friends had gone, she still tried to cultivate a sense of security in the city, but failed since she was alone. Later in the novel, she becomes brave and willing to go to great lengths for the people she loves. She is engaged in life at the end instead of simply surviving. The zombies in this novel lend to this concept. They represent the suffocation and lack of freedom that Gabry and the other inhabitants feel under the current bordering-on-totalitarian regime. In a more general sense, they are the obstacles that anyone has to go through to lead the life they want to: the judgment of others, the constraints of society, and the hardships that life throws our way. Everyone, including the characters in the book, have to decide if their freedom is worth traversing these obstacles (or zombies).

There were some problems with the novel, especially with the pacing. After the initial action, Gabry oscillates from staying in the city to sneaking into the ruins and back and forth without any real forward momentum. I think the few times she did sneak over could have been consolidated so it wouldn’t feel as stagnant. I also felt that many of the plot devices and concepts were recycled from the first novel, like the love triangle, the motivation to flee, the forest setting, and the oppressive society. The love triangle particularly didn’t work too well for me because she fell in love with Elias very quickly after she met him. That relationship really didn’t have enough time to progress that far, especially with her strong feelings for Catcher getting in the way. It just didn’t resonate with me.

Although there are some flaws, The Dead Tossed Waves is another great addition to the teen zombie genre. The last fifty pages are full of fast paced action and really had me on the edge of my seat. Unfortunately, the novel ends on a cliffhanger and I can’t wait to read the next book!

My rating: 4/5 fishmuffins

** This post is for Velvet's September Zombies.**


M.A.D. said...

Spot on!
I really did enjoy it, though - so much that I cannot wait for March of next year to get here to get my hands on the third book!

The first two books seemed like a *generational* thing - like mother like daughter with the love triangle & such. I'm not sure what to expect from the third?

Gotta LOVE those covers :D

Audra said...

I just got Forest of Hands & Teeth -- on audio and book format, so we'll see which sticks. I love the cover of this book -- too bad it's not so entertaining!