Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Dark and Hollow Places by Carrie Ryan

Title: The Dark and Hollow Places
Author: Carrie Ryan
Pages: 374
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
My rating: 4 stars
Goodreads rating: 4.12 stars
Published: March 22, 2011

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?

Oh Annah.  Honestly, I think Annah reminds me more of Mary {from The Forest of Hands and Teeth} than Abigail/Gabry does, even though Gabry was raised by Mary.  Or maybe its just because its been so long since I read the first two books that my faded memories of Gabry and Mary are just no comparison to Annah.  One thing they all have in common: They're fighters.  They might not start out as fighters {I don't remember Mary or Gabry being fighters in the beginning of their stories, but, like I said, its been a while since I read those}. 

I know I haven't review the other two books in this series {I say series, because I honestly hope Carrie Ryan writes another letting us know what happens next}, so writing about this if you haven't read them might be a bit of a spoiler.  I mean, you now know that Mary lives, as well as Gabry.  And Catcher.  And, by the description, you know Catcher makes it to Annah in the Dark City.

This book had the least interaction with the Unconsecrated, which is nice in some ways but at the same time kind of taking a step back from the other books.  In all of the books they're looking for another place that is safe from the Unconsecrated, but the first two the characters never really look at the world as a whole - they don't have the resources to.  In this book, Annah learn while being locked away in the Sanctuary {that is anything but} that the Recruiters have gone out through most of the country and have searched for places that have heald up against the Unconsecrated and found very few.  In fact, by the time Gabry, Elias, Catcher and Annah are all at the Sanctuary, the leader of the Recruiters tells her that tiny island is all that's left of the uninfected world {of course minus Catcher, since he's Immune but carrying the infection}.

The thing I both liked the most, yet somehow the least, with this book was how Ryan built the relationships of the characters.  Yes, there was always the undercurrent of love/teen angst in the first two books, but those seemed centered more on survival.  The love and relationship aspect of those were put on hold for the more overwhelming "my word, the infection is spreading, run, run run!" aspect of the books.  In this one, since they're trapped on an island that's pretty well fortified against the Unconsecrated, there really isn't a whole lot of zombie chases or catching your breath as you read about them getting away only to discover they are right next to a sleeping horde, just far enough that the Unconsecrated can't catch the scent of uninfected human flesh.  Oh no.  This book is about horrible, uninfected men who are using Annah, Gabry and Elias to keep Catcher coming back with supplies.  The thing that surprised me the most was the fact that ~*~SPOILER~*~ Ryan didn't kill off any of the four main characters.  She's always killing off the main characters or people they love dearly.  The Recruiters were constantly telling Annah that they only need one of them to "keep Catcher tethered and doing what we want."  It just seemed natural that that would be the best excuse Ryan could have for killing one of them off.  Of course, I guess that would have been the easy way out, killing at least one or two of them off.  Not that I wanted to see any of them die...

The book does end on a happy note, and is rumored to be the last in the series {so, really, its a trilogy}.  However, it just kind of ends.  A lot of questions are left unanswered, but most of the main ones are addressed.  However, we don't know if Catcher can spread the disease {my guess is no, because I think Annah accidentally ingested some of his blood... read the book and you'll know why}, we don't know if there is any life outside of the Sanctuary other than the few people Catcher was able to keep alive in the Dark City after it was overrun.  My biggest question is this: Carrie Ryan, are you going to answer all those questions you posed, or just leave us hanging?

This was an interesting series, and I would suggest it to people even if they aren't into the whole zombie thing.  I give it 4 out of 5 stars.

1 comment:

Danmark said...

I was pleasantly surprised with how the Ms. Ryan progressed the relationship between Annah and everyone she comes in contact with, especially Catcher who has his own wounded character to overcome. Catcher is now my absolute favorite of Ms. Ryan's male characters. He's got the whole dark and brooding with a hidden soft spot down pat and he's been written so well that it doesn't ring false in any way.

Every character, even the peripheral ones, was well thought out and given backstory -- even a couple of the zombies had them! And along with great characterization, Ms. Ryan continued her robust world building seamlessly and seemingly effortlessly with this third book in the series. I was never bored by the exposition of the world's past and present predicament. There were no scenes that I felt had no purpose other than to elongate the book and I enjoyed the entire up and down of the emotional rollercoaster.