Review: The Dark and Hollow Places by Carrie Ryan

The Dark and Hollow Places
by Carrie Ryan

ISBN-13: 9-780385-738590
Published: March 2011 by Delacorte (Random House)
Rating: 4.5 ♥ / 5 ♥ – I really liked it!

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 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?

Oh my gosh. Ok. Third book in The Forest of Hands and Teeth, and I’m still so much if love with these books. In the first one, we have Mary as our narrator. In the second, Gabry, her adopted daughter. In this one, we have Annah, Gabry’s sister. Annah and Elias had left the Forest of Hands of Teeth when they were young, leaving Gabry behind in the trails. Making their way to the Dark City they lived there together until Elias left to join the Recruiters. Annah has been on her own for three years, and in one day everything changes. She finds her sister, Elias returns, and Catcher arrives in her life. But the Horde also arrives, and Annah’s home is gone in hours. Living on the island Sanctuary of the Recruiters, Annah, Elias and Gabry are kept prisoner – safe from the Horde, but not the Recruiters – as insurance that Catcher, immune to the disease of the Unconsecrated, will always return.

The Dark and Hollow Places is a bleak look into the life of areas overrun by the Unconsecrated. The hope that the Return did not seep into every spot on the world is slowly dwindling, and Annah is losing faith that everything will be ok. I think Annah’s story, and this third book, is actually my favourite. Annah is one tough cookie. She’s smart, resourceful and doesn’t know the meaning of giving up. She’s survived the Dark City on her own, and she’ll survive the oncoming Horde. Her interactions with the returned Elias and new-found sister Gabry were very well done, and I really connected with her character. The only aspect of the relationships in this book that I didn’t really get is how quickly Catcher and Annah felt so strongly for each other. An easily looked past detail, but still. It was very quick, and a little odd.

There’s a point near the end when I was just holding my breath, praying that she make it. Oh, and the small parts that seem insignificant but really pulled at my heartstrings because they are small drops in the bleak reality that is the life lived by these characters, that show how much they have to sacrifice and yet it’s just necessary to them. I don’t know if I would survive in Carrie Ryan’s zombie-ridden world. But, no matter how much things may seem dark and bleak, there is still a glimmer of hope. And that’s the part that makes me love apocalypse plot lines. When everything seems at its worst, there’s the small inkling that things will get better. And this book delivered that in spades. Love this trilogy, I highly recommend it for everyone.

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