Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Dark and Hollow Places by Carrie Ryan

Book Jacket

There are many things that Annah would like to forget:   the look on her sister's face before Annah left her behind in the Forest of Hands and Teeth, her first glimpse of the Horde as they swarmed the Dark City, the sear of the barbed wire that would scar her for life.  But most of all, Annah would like to forget the morning Elias left her for the Recruiters.

Anna's world stopped that day, and she's been waiting for Elias to come home ever since.  Somehow, without him, her life doesn't feel much different from that of the dead that roam the wasted city around her.  Until she meets Catcher, and everything feels alive again.

But Catcher has his own secrets.  Dark, terrifying truths that link him to a past Annah has longed to forget, and to a future too deadly to consider.  And now it's up to Annah--can she continue to live in a world drenched in the blood of the living?  Or is death the only escape from the Return's destruction?


The Dark and Hollow Places is a fantastic conclusion to its companion novels, The Forest of Hands and Teeth and The Dead-Tossed Waves.  I love that each of these books can stand on their own, but build on each other to tell a complete story.

Where to begin?  The title I guess, which turns out to be about the dark and hollow places inside us.  How brilliant is that?  Annah is the protagonist of this story (she is Gabry's, the protagonist of the second book, twin).  Annah has suffered a lot in her life, and as a result, she has shut herself off to emotion and love.  It was really kind of powerful, watching her let her sister into her life, learning to forgive Elias, and opening herself to romance with Catcher.

Let me stop there.  I have issues with romances involving twins.  It kind of squicks me out with someone likes one twin, then switches to the other.  Having that happen twice is... weird.  I mean, yeah, Annah and Gabry are totally different, but I know if I were one of them, I'd be weirded out that my boyfriend used to love my twin. 

HOWEVER.  Annah and Catcher totally bring the swoon.  Their attraction happens pretty quickly, but I'm guessing emotions are heightened when running away from plague rats (how much do I love that different places have different nicknames for zombies?  So much!).

But what I really love is how Carrie Ryan's girls are AWESOME.  She doesn't take the easy way out by giving them superpowers or kung fu mastery.  They are ordinary girls with ordinary upper body strength.  What makes them awesome is their attitude.  Annah never stops fighting, for her life or for the lives of those she loves.  Even when she is overpowered by men who are stronger than her, she doesn't give up.  She willingly sacrifices her health, her beauty, and her safety.  She stares death in the face, scared but brave.

Watching four broken characters desperately fight for a brighter future is something that everyone can (hopefully) relate to, even though we thankfully do not live in the zombie apocalypse.  This series is brilliant, devling into issues of the inevitability of death and the importance of hope.  Awesome.

Five out of five New York skylines.

Release Date:  March 2011
Reading Level:  Grade 9+
Where In Dunlap Public Library's Collection:  YPL RYA

Don't believe me?  Check out these reviews of The Dark and Hollow Places:

Electrifying Reviews

1 comment:

  1. This trilogy is by far my favorite. Carrie Ryan didn't write about helpless little girls who depended on men; she wrote about independent girls who were strong and determined. It captures attention and emotion, going into depth of a possibility of what the world would be like with the unconsecrated. It tells a story of fear, death, pain, loss, love, and heartbreak that make the little things that much more valuable. There weren't always people jumping in at the right time to save someone else, because that just doesn't happen. Sometimes, you get there too late, and something or someone is lost. That's reality. You feel like you're experiencing what they're experiencing. I only wish that the story wouldn't end.