Friday, April 8, 2011

The Dark and Hollow Places by Carrie Ryan

Grade: A+!


There are many things that Annah would like to forget: the look on her sister’s face when she and Elias left her behind in the Forest of Hands and Teeth, her first glimpse of the horde as they found their way to 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 him to come home ever since. Without him, her life doesn’t feel much different from that of the dead that roam the wasted city around her. Then she meets Catcher and everything feels alive again.

Except, Catcher has his own secrets—dark, terrifying truths that link him to a past Annah’s 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?


Character Development: 10/10
Originality: 7/10
Overall Enjoyment: 10/10
Ending: 10/10
Voice: 10/10
Plot: 10/10
Setting: 10/10
Total Score: 67/70

Obtained: Borrowed from a friend. :)

Age Appropriate? R

Cursing: Not really. Maybe a little.
Drugs, Alcohol, etc: Some references, but few.
Sexual Content: None really...
Disturbing Images/Violence: A warning to the squeamish--approach this book with caution. Filled to the brim with gruesome images of zombie-hacking, murder, violence, desperation, starvation, hopelessness, misery...I could continue.


Wow. I Never before--never before--have I read a book that was quite this...impactful. I still can't quite let go of the enormity of this book, not in that it is so very life changing, but that the scope is so much larger than before, so much more universal than I could have expected from a book about the zombie apocalypse. I mean, it's been done before, right? How much different can this book possibly be?

That statement couldn't be more wrong.

If you thought the last book was stressful, hold onto your seats. The Dark and Hollow Places isn't exactly as nerve-racking as its prequel--no, this book is simply earthshattering. Heartbreaking. The misery, the sheer and utter hopelessness of it is almost too much to bear, have to. You have to because the characters are so important. They become everything. And the absolute desolation that is their world only makes the rare moments of bliss all the more sharply poignant.

Carrie Ryan has several talents. One is using a changing perspective to her advantage. The Forest of Hands and Teeth is narrated by Mary, Dead-Tossed Waves by Gabry, and finally, The Dark and Hollow Places by Annah--three very distinct, very strong young women whose trials are all very different yet fundamentally the same: the fierce battle of survival, the fight against the endless onslaught of death. Never, at any point in the series, did the styles of narration overlap, and each of the characters gains depth by the new perspective. It's interesting how Ryan can manipulate my feelings based on the narrator and reveal so much more about the outside characters. For instance, in the last book, I definitely favored Elias because Gabry found the good in him and saw the bad in Catcher, but in this book, I lean heavily toward Catcher, because Annah sees him from a different light.

All in all, a powerful read. Huge. Hopeless. Miserable. But totally worth it, every page, every impossible obstacle, every tense moment, every undead-head-slashing and horror that came their way--it was worth it. Because ultimately, though it is drenched in death, it is a book that celebrates life, celebrates love, celebrates happiness--perhaps louder and more triumphantly than any other book I've read. Success.


Carrie Ryan
The Forest of Hands and Teeth
The Dead-Tossed Waves


  1. EEP! My sentiments exactly. I am astounded at Carrie Ryan's complex world-building that progresses with each book. And it is clear she knows her characters inside and out. She is one of the only authors I've read that can pull off filling a book with more narration than dialogue. Plus, any book that has themes about suffering making life worth living melts my insides. I will follow this woman's work to the grave.

  2. I just love this series. It is so well written and captivating.


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