Literary Friday: The Dead-Tossed Waves

Synopsis according to Goodreads:
"Gabry lives a quiet life. As safe a life as is possible in a town trapped between a forest and the ocean, in a world teeming with the dead, who constantly hunger for those still living. She’s content on her side of the Barrier, happy to let her friends dream of the Dark City up the coast while she watches from the top of her lighthouse. But there are threats the Barrier cannot hold back. Threats like the secrets Gabry’s mother thought she left behind when she escaped from the Sisterhood and the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Like the cult of religious zealots who worship the dead. Like the stranger from the forest who seems to know Gabry. And suddenly, everything is changing. One reckless moment, and half of Gabry’s generation is dead, the other half imprisoned. Now Gabry only knows one thing: she must face the forest of her mother’s past in order to save herself and the one she loves."

The Dead-Tossed Waves is a tough one for me. I loved The Forest of Hands and Teeth, and stayed up all night reading it last year. I thought Carrie Ryan's sequel, which centers around Mary's daughter, Gabry, would be just as good. And there's nothing wrong with the writing or the story, but, I was disappointed in the main character, and in the world-building (which answered questions established in The Forest of Hands and Teeth that I didn't want answered). 

Primarily, the main character's drives and motivations bothered me. Gabry is a relatable heroine in that she's always struggling with her fear, and relying on other people to save her. It's a good start if you're going to grow the character into a more self-reliant, inner-strength kind of person. And granted, for that transition to be believable, it has to be measured and develop naturally, not overnight. 

My big beef with Gabry is that she doesn't think about anything- she's entirely reactionary, and quite self-centered. She'll have guilt trips, understandable or not, and state that she finally understands something...and then her next actions are completely at odds with that. She doesn't step outside herself to consider others, even (and especially) in passages where she has all day or night to think. In short, she's really immature...and I kept waiting for her to grow up, but she never really did. 

This is in stark contrast to The Forest of Hands and Teeth, where Mary is self-centered but the consequence of her actions cause her to mature throughout the story (and way more crap hit the fan for Mary than for Gabry, in the books). Maybe I'm harsher on a sequel, because I've developed high expectations from the first book, but The Dead-Tossed Waves was disappointing for me.

I recommend this book for fans of Carrie Ryan, zombie apocalypse lovers, and anyone looking for a YA heroine who is more emotion-based than logic-based. It's not a bad novel, and may be worth a read, I'm just a little bitter because I expected better.

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