The Dark and Hollow Places is the third and final book in the YA zombie apocalypse series Forest of Hands and Teeth, written by Carrie Ryan.
So, as all of you regular readers of the Bibliophile Support Group know - I adored The Forest of Hands and Teeth and was a bit disappointed with The Dead-Tossed Waves, the two books that came before The Dark and Hollow Places. Read the respective reviews here and here.
But I was ready to continue the story. A basic synopsis will follow, which I recommend you don't read unless you've already read the two previous books - otherwise you will be spoiled!!! And for those of you who have read the first two books, I won't be giving much detail at all - because like I've said before, if you're already a fan why spoil what's coming next, right?
Annah has been alone for a long time in the Dark City. She's been waiting for Elias to return since he left that terrible morning to join the Recruiters. Annah wonders if he knows how lawless the Dark City is now, and what fate he left her to. The Protectorate no longer keep the wild Recruiters in check, and the Dark City is not a place for young women to be alone. Annah's only protection are her many scars, making her ugly to most.
But she survives day by day - waiting for Elias, waiting for the day she'll know what became of her twin sister after she left her behind in the Forest of Hands and Teeth - waiting for the day the guilt won't haunt her.
Then Catcher appears. He knows Elias - and apparently her sister. Annah finds herself drawn to him, but his secrets are dangerous. And the inevitable consequences of the Return are a constant threat to any hint of happiness...
I'll admit it - I still wish that this were a continuance of Mary's story, the story we were introduced to in The Forest of Hands and Teeth. But I forced myself to let that go and focus on the story Carrie Ryan decided to tell me instead. And, I must say, I was far more impressed with it than The Dead-Tossed Waves!
Annah's character, though plagued occasionally with repetitive thoughts of guilt about her sister Abigail, is strong and interesting. She's compelling and makes for an excellent main character in this gripping, chilling final novel. Carrie Ryan brings us a look at the darker side of humanity and the degradation the survivors can fall to. And though I sometimes felt that the depths some of the Recruiters went to was too far (I'd still like to believe that if the population was so very decimated we wouldn't be so easy to wipe it out further), the shocking effect of the scenarios Carrie Ryan presented were horrifying - truly.
Yet, what is amazing about this series is how Ryan is able to disgust you, terrify you... she also gives you romance. It's not a 'happily ever after' romance, it's not flirty, it's not without it's faults - but it sets up the unique and utterly well done mixture of tones.
The Dark and Hollow Places is anguish and hope, desperation and inspiration, strength and weakness, murder and self-defense, suspense and moments of quiet, enemies and family, death and life. There is such an unfathomable aching that comes from reading the horrors that Carrie Ryan weaves so lyrically for us - it is painful to read, and impossible to forget.
As I neared closer and closer to the end, I got chills. My eyes were wet with unshed tears (I was at work - don't make me cry Carrie!). So, even though I still don't know why there was so much repetition at the beginning of the novel, I don't know why we couldn't follow Mary longer, and I don't know why the series is done already - I can't deny what a phenomenally effective and original novel The Dark and Hollow Places is.
It delivered - for sure. What a finale. Wow.