Saturday, June 25, 2011
The Dark and Hollow Places - Carrie Ryan
Title: The Dark and Hollow Places (Sequel to The Forest of Hands and Teeth and The Dead-Tossed Waves)
Author: Carrie Ryan
Publisher: Delacorte Press, 2011 (Hardcover)
Length: 374 pages
Genre: Young Adult; Dystopian Fiction, Horror
Started: June 20, 2011
Finished: June 25, 2011
From the author's website:
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?
I fell in love with The Forest of Hands and Teeth when I read it back in 2009, and knew I had to see the trilogy to its end. I was slightly less pleased with The Dead-Tossed Waves when I read it last year, but I attributed that to the complete change in character focus from Mary to Gabry, that and I wanted to smack Gabry upside the head for being almost stupidly naive all the time. Thankfully, The Dark and Hollow Places takes our focus to yet another character who is more tolerable, in my opinion, than Gabry was.
At the end of The Dead-Tossed Waves, we found out that Gabry wasn't Mary's biological daughter at all, and that she was actually a twin. The Dark and Hollow Places takes readers to the Dark City where Gabry's sister Annah escaped to with Elias after leaving their village in the Forest of Hands and Teeth 10 years before. Annah is scarred all over her body from an accident involving barbed wire, and combined with having to care for herself for years after Elias joins the Recruiters, Annah becomes a very hardened young woman, the complete opposite of Gabry at the beginning of the last book. Annah has issues about her appearance due to her scars, plus she's still pretty broken up about abandoning Gabry (whose real name was Abigail) in the Forest when they were children, and those self-esteem issues make her a difficult character to like. But for all that annoys me about Annah, I had to admire her for being self-sufficient and independent, which was what bugged me about clingy, whiny Gabry.
The plot is The Dark and Hollow Places is similar to the last two books: the Unconsecrated/Mudo/plague rats (aka zombies) overrun the area where the characters live, forcing them to flee to a safer area. The Dark and Hollow Places is slightly different in that it reunites the characters from the last book and brings Gabry, Catcher, Elias, and Annah together in what is potentially the last safe place in the continent. But the Recruiters who run the Sanctuary know they have nowhere else to go, and force Catcher to do their bidding or else they threaten to injure the other three, which prompts Annah to find a way out, or else face a kinder fate: death.
The Forest of Hands and Teeth is still my favourite of the three books, but I was pleased that The Dark and Hollow Places was an improvement over The Dead-Tossed Waves. The Dark and Hollow Places was deliciously dark like the title implies, and the focus on Annah and Catcher was a nice way to end off the series.
Not my absolute favourite in the series, but still a good installment. Annah was a more likable character than Gabry in the last book, which was enough to make this book better in my mind.
Thoughts on the cover:
I don't like the weird dramatic model poses that were used for this cover and the finalized cover for The Dead-Tossed Waves, I think it conveys a completely different atmosphere than the books are striving for, but oh well.