Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Dark and Hollow Places by Carrie Ryan

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. Annah'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 than 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 covered in the blood of the living? Or is death the only escape from the Return's destruction? (from GoodReads)

First off, I have to say that I love the cover and title! I think both are the best in this trilogy. And now about the actual book...

I remember I was really wary about reading The Forest of Hands and Teeth because it was about zombies, which weren't as popular as they are now (I am obsessed with The Walking Dead). But the book was so well-written and so detailed it could have been about anything and I still would have loved it. Carrie Ryan really does have a way with words, and that continues in The Dark and Hollow Places.

What I liked about this trilogy is that each book has a different narrator, but all the protagonists are connected so you still get continuity. Between Mary, Gabry and Annah, they are all different, but are similar in that they remain hopeful even in the wake of destruction. I think Annah is the most jaded character, but she is also the one that had the hardest life: guilt for leaving her sister behind, trying to survive in the horrible Dark City, scars on her face that make her feel ugly. It was definitely a change of pace to have a character already cynical (Mary and Gabry start out living fairly normal lives).

Luckily for the readers, we get to see Catcher, Elias and Gabry again, and it was cool to see them from someone else's perspective. Annah sees Gabry as perfect which is interesting after reading about Gabry in The Dead-Tossed Waves. And this trilogy would not be complete without romance. I think Carrie Ryan writes some of the best romance and I end up loving every guy she writes about. I already liked Catcher from before, but it was nice to see him open up someone because he spent all of last book pushing Gabry away.

As usual, the zombies were exciting and dangerous, but what I took away most from this trilogy is the importance of hope and survival, and carrying on even when it's easier not to. I think that's a great lesson to learn and is espoused in every book. I really enjoyed The Dark and Hollow Places and I can't wait to see what Carrie Ryan has in store for us next.

Rating: 9 out of 10.
FTC: Christmas gift.

2011/Delacorte Books/374 pages.


We Heart YA said...

Oh yay! We've really enjoyed the first 2 books in the series, so we're glad to hear the 3rd lives up. Isn't Carrie Ryan just so smart and talented? Her books make us THINK, and we love that.

Ceska said...

The book begins with an emotional, not action-oriented, bang. Right from the start we see exactly what is at Annah's core and the rest of the story deconstructs what we see in the first chapter, removing layer by layer the hard outer shell she has constructed around her heart. Annah is, by far, Ms. Ryan's most mature and well-developed protagonist to date. She is intelligent, sometimes (appropriately) naive, vulnerable, and street savvy. We are given so many reason to care about her and her survival even when she's being a bit dramatic (what teen isn't?) or indecisive (what human isn't?). What I found I liked best about Annah is that she is very real. She is a girl who could be set into any time or place and resonate perfectly.