July 21, 2011

Book Review: The Dark and Hollow Places by Carrie Ryan

Title: The Dark and Hollow Places
Author: Carrie Ryan
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers


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?

My Review

Ok I held off a bit reading this one.  I really enjoyed the first two books (the second more than the first) and I didn't want to be let down.  Thankfully I wasn't.  I will say though, that at the beginning I wasn't sure! To me this was the darkest of all the books - the most hopeless.  From the first chapter Annah is thrown into a very dangerous world - more dangerous than we've seen.  I kept reading thinking how absolutely hopeless their situation was!  Even what should be bright spots for her (won't say to remain more spoiler free!) have this heavy layer of distrust and guilt and sadness laid over them.  It's like everywhere Annah turns is just more and more reason to give up!  I kept thinking about what I'd do in her situation, and I don't know if I could've kept going like she did.  In the first book Mary was strong, and in the second Gabry was.  But I think Annah outshone them in the strength department.  She clung to everything, digging in and refusing to give up.

As for the other characters, to be honest I felt they paled next to Annah.  She really look over the story, and even though she would never agree - she was the one everyone should look up to.  But like most of the characters in this series she is scarred in some way.  For Annah it is both a physical and mental scar that the must fight through in order to survive.  But this gave her the strength to remind people like Catcher what they must do.

The plot of the story is slow moving.  I really saw it as an exploration of hope and how to have it in a situation that says hope is worthless because everything is gone.  Annah and Catcher have to figure out whether hope is worthwhile in their world or is it a waste.  And if you're going to hope how do you carry that out?  Throughout the story there is a lot of situations that make them question this again and again and again.  It's not something they can just face once and be done because it is such a tough question for them to answer.  It was fascinating watching them work through it.

Final thought:  An ending that holds true to the series as a whole. 
Best stick-with-you image:  Going through the tunnel of ice
Best for readers who: Can handle a story that seems so hopeless and likes zombies
Best for ages: 12+ for sure

For the Guys?  YES! Ok ok the main character is a girl, but there are lots of boy characters that boys should be able to relate to.


  1. Thanks for the review. I've only read Forest of Hands and Teeth. I liked it but am not a super fan of zombies.

  2. I've only read the first book for some reason. But the second one's sitting on my shelf! Thanks for the great review. You've inspired me to go and read the last two in this series.
    Mary @ Book Swarm