Sea of Dead People in the Waves


The Dead Tossed Waves


Are zombies dead?  Really?  Because they’re moving. And if they’re dead, than what are dead people that aren’t moving? What about a person that is infected but not stumbling around all crazy-like?  Is he dead? Because if he is dead, then what is Stumbly McMoanypants?

Though these questions are discussed at length, not one of them is answered in The Dead-Tossed Waves.  Not being one for philosophical blatherings, that suited me just fine.

To start, it’s only called a “companion” to throw you, and this becomes evident if you’ve read The Forest of Hands and Teeth.  There are tons of hints.  It’s clearly a sequel, though it picks up many years after TFOHAT.  In other words, things are not exactly what they seem.  OooOOOOOoooooOOoooooo.

(Moderate spoilage to follow.)


The Dead-Tossed Waves begins much like TFOHAT: first person narrative describing an oft-told tale… about roller coasters. I admit, that threw me a little. As I read on, I realized that the world being described was the world outside the Forest, and that it was being described by a teenager far more akin to contemporary teens than to Mary, the protagonist of TFOHAT. The Sisterhood never would have stood for the shenanigans these teens get up to, such as scaling rusty steel or making out on broken down carousels.

I digress.

Gabry–we find out her name is actually Gabrielle–is a teenage girl living in Vista, a decrepit not-in-the-Forest town in the same post-Return world of TFOHAT. She and her mother live in the lighthouse by the sea and decapitate the Mudo that wash up on shore before they can wake up, run off and infect people. Her mother refers to the Mudo as “Unconsecrated”.

[OMG! Is Gabry’s mother Mary?!]

Gabry’s friends dream of leaving one-horse Vista to go to the Dark City, “one of the last fortified bastions from before the Return.”  Although it has never occurred to her to want to leave what is safe, one night Gabry is persuaded by her friends (and by good looking love interest Catcher) to scale the protective Barrier that keeps Visa safe and explore the pre-Return ruins of an amusement park.

Predictable Mudo attack ensues, and several of Gabry’s friends are attacked or killed. Catcher is infected saving her. Gabry escapes, leaving the rest of her friends to be caught by the town Militia, except Catcher, who runs off into the night. As one might guess, Catcher is such a hottie that Gabry eventually breeches the Barrier again in order to find him before he “turns”. In her travels to the ruins to comfort Catcher about his impending Mudo inevitability, she meets Elias…


Not really, he just travels with one. We meet the Soulers, a group of tunic-clad religious nutbags singers that believe that becoming Mudo is a path to resurrection. Being a religious group, they have permission to travel town to town safely, spreading their word and leading Mudo on leashes (the Souler Mudo have their jaws cut off, so as not to be dangerous). Elias travels with them because he is searching for his sister.

If I were to explain all of the plot elements that lead up to Gabry, Elias, Gabry’s friend Cira and Catcher going into the Forest, it would take forever, so I’ll just say that: They go into the Forest. Yes, THAT Forest.

WAIT!! But Catcher’s a Mudo!
Nope. He’s immune.
Seriously?  IMMUNE?

I’m going to stop there. The more I revisit the elements of the plot the snarkier I get.  Also, it really is worth reading and I don’t want to spoil it for anyone. (If you think I’ve given away all of the secret plot points, boy-are-you-wrong.)


Once again, Ryan does a wonderful job painting this world zombie apocalypse world, and this time, we get a much wider view that’s more detailed.  I’d had a lot of unanswered questions after TFOHAT–mainly, what happens to zombies in water?–and TDTW did answer a few of them.

The BAD:

I read the book in mostly one sitting, and I quickly became distracted by the overuse of the word “scream”.  Breath screamed, lungs screamed… I think a heartbeat may have screamed at one point.  I know we all have words we like, but I vaguely remember there being a word that was overused in TFOHAT, too. BigSister knows how I feel about repeated words… one of the reasons I despise Edward Cullen so much is because of his g-d “topaz” eyes.  In short, it got annoying.¹

I also found it hard to swallow that Gabry would forgive Elias so quickly.  I was glad she did, I really liked Elias.  After all, he had Catcher as a foil.  Catcher, both pre- and post-infection, bored me with his angst and his seeming lack of a personality.  He and Edward Cullen should go on a date.  They could sit in a not-very-well-lit coffee shop and brood.

The VERDICT: Read it, don’t analyze it.

As easy as it is to ridicule, it makes for a fun, fast read. Read it, enjoy it, and then pass it on for someone else to do the same. If you’re into lit analysis, just don’t. Not only will you probably get ranty (if, like us, you’re inclined), but others might have to listen to you be ranty.  No one wants that.  Leaving you with this:

some of you will argue that TFOHAT was M.Night-y. consider TDTW M.Night overdrive.


¹ in my desire to prove this I just opened to a random page to look for the word, and found Gabry actually screaming, which was a welcome change from hearts or lungs or whatever screaming.  and please don’t think for a moment that I’m equating Carrie Ryan’s writing with Stephanie Meyer’s.  Carrie Ryan’s is way better.  I did notice, however, that her protagonists both stumble a lot as well.  I chalked this up to heredity until I found out GABRY WASN’T MARY’S REAL DAUGHTER!!! mind blowing.


2 Responses to Sea of Dead People in the Waves

  1. Pingback: The Dead-Tossed Waves, by Carrie Ryan. « The Roy Girls Read

  2. “…WHO IS IN A CULT!” Ha ha ha ha ha. That made me laugh out loud. As did the word “nutbags”. WHICH IS SO ACCURATE, OH MY GOD.

    And then I got to your line about Catcher and Edward Cullen and I just fell over. Literally. (I am sitting on a couch, though, so I have no injuries.) IT’S SO TRUE. I just wanted Elias, Mary and Harry to ditch their sorry emo asses.

    This book made me so very, very ranty. All of my co-workers were subjected to it yesterday morning, before I’d finished the book. Luckily, they just let me go with it until I wind down, like a 4-year-old on a sugar high.

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