Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Dark and Hollow Places by Carrie Ryan

Due for release March 22, 2011
*Review previously posted on Paperback Dolls*
The Dark and Hollow Places (Forest of Hands and Teeth, Book 3)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?

The lead heroine in THE DARK AND HOLLOW PLACES, Annah, has been surviving on her own ever since her companion joined the recruits. Even before then Annah was forced to grow up rather quickly since she and her companion were separated from her twin sister in the Forest. She was horribly disfigured on one half of her body at a young age and feels as ugly as the world around her has become--Especially since being deserted by her only friend.

As Annah comes to terms with her situation she makes the decision to survive at all costs and try to find her past (her sister) in order to forgive herself for leaving her in the forest so many years ago. It's at this point that the plot really thickens and Annah meets Catcher who tells her that her companion, Elias is alive.

Annah at first is elated that Elias has not been killed or worse turned into one of the unconsecrated, but then she wonders why, if he is alive, he hasn't contacted her. The whole thing is very emotional and a story that anyone who has ever felt broken, unwanted by someone they long for, or less than perfect can easily relate to and the way it's told is touching. The author added just enough angst so readers could relate, but then she surprised me with how the characters didn't dwell on it as much as maybe others in similar situations would have. The way everything goes down with the characters and their feelings is very mature and I think it sends a good message of overcoming difficulties, realizing what is important and getting past the hurt.

Despite some of the underlying positive messages, The Dark and Hollow Places is dark, and it kinda has to be for readers to fully understand the world the author is writing. So much has happened since The Forest of Hands and Teeth, and not for the better. People in this story are desperate. Many of the soldiers that are supposed to be protecting the living from the unconsecrated have gone mad with the reality of death everywhere and do awful things to the very people they are to be saving. It's very sad and at times a little graphic.

All I can say is, what a crazy roller coaster this story has been! Carrie Ryan is one of those authors that doesn't simply tell a story with her words. She uses words in a way that grips your soul and forces you to feel the emotions of her characters. Being that this is a post apocalyptic dystopian fiction--some of those emotions are hard to swallow. At times I found myself reading through tear blotted pages and others clenching the book so tightly with my eyes wide. The reason for my excitement is not so much because of the story (though it's really good) but because of the characters the author created. With each new installment in The Forest of Hands and Teeth books I have grown attached to the main characters featured. At first it was Mary, Travis *sniff sniff* and Harry -- then I was all about Gabry, Catcher and Elias, but now I care more about Annah and Catcher than I did about any of the others. I believe it takes a talented author to captivate readers with so many different story lines in their books, and in my opinion, Carrie Ryan is one of the very talented!

Without a doubt, I loved this conclusion to the series. I think it leaves much to the imagination and I hope that the author is considering continuing the storylines of a couple characters because Annah is really amazing and inspiring and I would love to read more about her -- in fact, I would love to read more about what happened to Mary between The Forest of Hands and Teeth & The Dead Tossed Waves too. Yes, I guess it is safe to say I loved these books and would be ever so excited to have more of these characters!

~Peace & Love

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