Mary is the keeper of the lighthouse, decapitating the Unconsecrated that wash up on the shore at high tide. Her daughter, Gabry (short for Gabrielle), is now fifteen and hears her friends talking longingly of life in the Dark City. But Gabry is happy where she is. And safe. But nothing is safe after the Return, and one rash night changes everything. To discover her mother's secrets, Gabry is going to have to leave all she knows behind her, and enter the Forest of Hands and Teeth.
I thoroughly enjoyed the first book in this series, The Forest of Hands and Teeth (2009). I found it thrilling and beautifully written. One thing did frustrate me, however: not knowing what the Sisters "did" to Gabrielle to turn her into the Fast One. Mary's stubborn need to get to the ocean niggled at me as well. It seemed rather flimsy motivation to get through the forest.
But when it comes to The Dead-Tossed Waves, I'm thoroughly satisfied. This is one of the most exciting second-in-the-series books I have ever read. The opening is breath-taking, set amidst a rusting, crumbling amusement park on the other side of the Barrier in the middle of the night. It is just begging to be filmed. Begging. If I was a producer I would scrap filming the first book entirely and start with the second. It's just that good.
I have often said that I am sick to death of love triangles. I loathe them. But from now on I'll add a clause: I'm sick of love triangles unless Carrie Ryan writes them. (And perhaps Aprilynne Pike, but I'll reserve my judgment for once I've read Spells.) The love triangle in The Dead-Tossed Waves is delicious and layered. It serves a purpose, to elucidate Gabry's torn affections towards her home and her mother, as well as an entertaining romance in its own right.
The horror element has been kicked up a notch in this sequel. There are a handful of genuinely gruesome scenes that set it apart, yet again, from The Forest of Hands and Teeth. There are so few YA books of a supernatural theme that contain actual frightening elements. If you're at all inclined towards horror and enjoyed The Forest of Hands and Teeth, this is a YA book for you.
The Dead-Tossed Waves is available in Australia from April 10.