Book Review -- The Dark and Hollow Places

Title: The Dark and Hollow Places
Author: Carrie Ryan
Genre: YA post-apocalyptic
Published: 2011
Pages: Hardback, 374
Opening Lines: "This city used to be something once. I've seen pictures of the way it gleamed -- sun so bright off windows it could burn your eyes."


"There are many things that Annah would like to forget: the look in 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 the 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?"
~Jacket copy


Thoughts: Ryan has this amazing way with words. Starting with the first book, I was drawn in by her introductions. I was pleasantly surprise that she kept it going in the later books. Even if a few short sentences, she sets the stage for the story without giving anything away or pushing too hard. It also sets the narrator's tone and pace of the novel.

All of the previous books follow a different character in the story post Return. In The Dead-Tossed Waves, the story picks up with Mary's daughter, Gabry. With the way the book ended, I hoped that it would resume with Gabry and Catcher finding the Dark City; however, it is told from Annah's point of view. Since she left her sister on the path in the forest, her and Elias have been living in Dark City. Barely surviving, Elias enters the Recruiters with a promised to return after the required two year tour. The story picks up three years later. Annah is surviving in the Dark City without word from Elias. All she can presume is that he is dead. Not seeing any point in staying, Annah packs up her meager belonging and heads toward the gates to leave Dark City. However, on her way out, she sees her mirror image crossing the bridge to enter the City. Unfortunately, she is escorted by the Recruiters to the Sanctuary.

After reading this book, I'm not sure if Gabry is my favorite narrator. I adored Annah. She is a strong character. Even though the audience sees her wallowing in self pity, the book is not filled with this. On the contrary, I felt it helped make Annah a sympathetic character and allowed the author to show the major growth she under goes as a character. In this series, the author does an amazing job showing growth and development in her characters. This includes most of the supporting characters.

Ryan also has an amazing way to flesh out her backgrounds. She describes the scenery enough to give the reader and idea, but she allows the reader to fill in the details. When Annah was trapped in the cage, I started to feel extremely claustrophobic! It is amazing when an author is able to elicit such responses from her readers.

The only problem I had in the book was the ease with which they creating the hot air balloons. I wanted to know how the surviving residents of Dark City were able to make all of the propellers. In addition, I felt that it was a little too forgiving to allow Annah, Gabry, and Elias to create it in a vacuum. After Ox's pronouncement, it seemed ridiculous to assume that the Recruiters would leave the girls alone when Catcher would scrounge the City for supplies. I'm not sure how Ryan should have handled it; however, she made it much too easy.

That aside, I enjoyed the book! I liked watching Annah grow. At several points, I found myself almost crying for her in her dealings with Elias. The ending scene in the tunnel showed the audience just how strong she was as a person.

I would definitely recommend this series! It reminds me a a combination of The Hunger Games and a zombie outbreak.

Rating:
Currently: Blood Rights by Kristen Painter
Current Pages:
27077
Current Progress:

75/50 books


Sinn

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    "If you’re a freak like me, Wave your flag! If you’re a freak like me, Get off your ass! It’s our time now, To let it all hang out!" I am a recovering English major, closet bibliophile, breve addicted, zombie lover with a rockabilly and heavy metal fetish.