The biggest surprise--and most excellent book--I encountered last year was The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan. I mean, it absolutely captivated me from beginning to end. So, of course, I found myself counting down the days until I could read The Dead-Tossed Waves!
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.
It didn't take more than a chapter for me to fully immerse myself in Gabry's world.
There are many parallels--characters losing loved ones to Mudo (zombie-like humans thirsty for blood and a need to infect everyone), exploring the Forest of Hands and Teeth (looking for answers and safety while dodging the Mudo and other dangers), and falling in love (coping with a painful love triangle)--but The Dead-Tossed Waves is unique in its narration and initial seaside location.
What I loved the most was how the characters and stories from both books were tied together so perfectly. A lot of the questions I had as I read The Forest of Hands and Teeth were answered. But, like good writers should, Carrie Ryan had me asking even more questions and wanting to know everything.
The new setting and characters open the reader up to a different side of the post-apocalyptic world, but the always-looming Mudo make it just as frightening (maybe more)! I was looking over my shoulder as I read and trying to talk the characters through the Forest.
This book did not disappoint. In fact, I expected it to be amazing, and it exceeded all of my expectations. Once again, Carrie Ryan created a downright terrifying world filled with uncertainties, horror, and maybe even a little hope. She told a mesmerizing story that left me in awe of her imagination and writing talent.
I am literally on the edge of my seat waiting for The Dark and Hollow Places, the third book in the series, which is scheduled for publication in Spring 2011.
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