Megan's Reviews > The Dark and Hollow Places

The Dark and Hollow Places by Carrie Ryan
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's review
Jul 21, 2010

liked it
bookshelves: young-adult, zombies, dystopian
Read from October 07 to 12, 2011

Perhaps I need to go back and reread The Forest of Hands and Teeth. The thing is, that book blew me away. I loved the mystery, the surreal quality, Mary's craziness, the pervading sense of doom and of course the never ending onslaught of the Unconsecrated. I remember reading the book late at night, in the middle of a storm while the hubby was away. Between the wind and lightening I could hear moans of the undead, and when thunder shook my old, isolated house I imagined hoards at my door. I was so spooked that I actually had to put the book down and take a break from it! Carrie Ryan can write a creepy zombie story that is for sure.

Needless to say, I was completely let down by the teen angst portrayed in The Dead-Tossed Waves, almost so much so that I considered not continuing with the final installment of this trilogy. But of course I did finally read The Dark and Hollow Places. The verdict? Well, Carrie Ryan can still write some of the best zombie scenes ever. So many zombie books fail because they go for the immediate scare and shock value. But Ryan manages to build up a slow tension and throughout the novel and allow the reader to truly see the hopelessness and horror of a zombie apocalypse.

And then they come, stumbling from the cloud of dust and dirt: Unconsecrated. At fist it’s just a few, but then there are more and more, struggling across the rubble and flooding into the streets. Slow but steady they flow like blood from a seeping wound.
Some are short and some are tall. Some men and others women. Some wear clothes from olden times and some are naked, their bodies striped with wounds. But all moan with gaping black mouths. All claw at the air, reaching and needing. Some of them shuffle on broken limbs, arms gnawed away, with stringy gray tendons swinging with each step.
There are more than I could ever count and I know this is just the beginning. Soon the entire City will fall to them. I stare and wonder how we’ve survived as long as we have against such an inevitable destruction.

Unfortunately, Ryan also has a desire to write about teenage angst and lurve. While this worked well in The Forest of Hands and Teeth, it’s old hat by now. At this point the zombie scenes and the supporting characters are meant only to hinder the romance and heighten the angst. Teenagers talk philosophically about the nature of life, love and death and manage to be the only good guys amongst many of the survivors we encounter. *yawn*

The Dark and Hollow Places is a solid three stars for me. While I absolutely love Ryan’s ideas and writing style, her execution of this trilogy leaves something to be desired. I would love to see her break away from a plot which is so dependent on the lurve and the angst.
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Reading Progress

10/10/2011 page 106
10/10/2011 page 106
28.0% ""...all moan with gaping black mouths. All claw the air, reaching and needing. Some shuffle on broken limbs, arms gnawed away, with stringy gray tendons swinging with each step. There are more than I could ever count and I know this is just the beginning. Soon the entire City will fall to them. I stare and wonder how we've survived as long as we have against such an inevitable destruction.""
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Comments (showing 1-18 of 18) (18 new)

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Giselle Oh I loved this one! Best of the series!

Megan That is good to know :) I hated The Dead-Tossed Waves so much that I nearly didn't purchase this one. But Forrest was hands down one of the best & creepiest zombie books I've ever read, so I figured it was worth at least finishing out the series.

Wendy Darling I agree that two was awful! I still liked the first better, but this was good, too. Look forward to your review, Megan. :)

message 4: by Tatiana (new)

Tatiana Although I didn't even like the 1st book, I have to give Ryan credit for the horror part. IDK if you've read her short story in Zombies Vs. Unicorns, but it has very little lurve and angst and thus is a much more successful work of hers IMO.

Megan Zombies vs. Unicorns is still on the TBR list. I hope to get to it eventually :)

message 6: by Tatiana (new)

Tatiana Her short in that collection was one of the best.

I wonder if she can write anything else besides zombies?

Megan Tatiana wrote: "...I wonder if she can write anything else besides zombies?"

...speaking of milking the cash cow and unplanned trilogies :) I've never read anything else by her, but she appears in a lot of anthologies which seem to have a YA PNR focus. It will be curious to see what she comes up with now that this trilogy is finished.

message 8: by Tatiana (last edited Oct 13, 2011 09:25AM) (new)

Tatiana I have Enthralled: Paranormal Diversions and she has another zombie story in it! Haven't read it yet.

Not that I have anything against teen romance, but she needs some work in that department, or at least she needs to not make the romance part in her books that dominant. I can see her write something paranormal and scary.

Megan Her romance writing isn't bad, and I loved it in Forrest. But it is always so angsty and drama filled. She is able to capture all of the strong emotions of a romance without... oh, without the relationship or friendship aspect. It come across as very soap-operaish and it is difficult to tell one relationship from the other. You know, Paige & Lucas may be boring but at least they have a very different relationship from Clay and Elena ;) Ryan's characters all tend to blend together.

message 10: by Tatiana (new)

Tatiana You know, I just looked at my review of Forrest and I never even mentioned anything about romance. I remember it was one of the first YA novels I read and while I have a clear memory of not feeling the lurve and of the shifty, dramatic love quadrangle, I guess I was too inexperienced with teen angst to be truly annoyed with it then:)

Megan Yeah, I know what you mean. I pretty much loved what everyone else (including you!) hated about Forrest ~ but wonder how I would feel about it now?? I actually remember liking the shifty love nonsense though. So many YA's feature girls finding their one and only but I always think back to how flaky I and my girlfriends (and even guy friends) were back then. It seems so much more realistic for teens to be uncertain of who they love, and to confuse a friendship with romantic feelings.

Giselle Ah shame you didn't enjoy it. This was my favorite of the series. =)

message 13: by Tatiana (new)

Tatiana I can't believe you are defending a love quadrangle! You must have really liked that novel:)

I am scared to reread some of the novels that I read during that introductory to teen lit period. Don't trust my judgment back then at all!

So, in your opinion, did Mary sleep with either of those guys? I still remember I had this burning question at the end of the book.

Megan Giselle, it was pretty good :) It just seemed to have a lot of the same themes that were already covered in Forrest & Dead Waves

Tatiana, yes, there is much shame in defending a lurve quadrangle *blush* like you though, I was fairly new to YA back then so perhaps I would feel differently now? I think if Mary slept with either of them, it would have been the boy with the broken leg (sorry can't remember his name Travis? Harry was her friend/first boyfriend right?)

message 15: by Tatiana (new)

Tatiana I think his name was Travis. She was stuck with him in a tree house, right?

I was unsure about the other one. They were bound? And I remember her being in a nightie next morning.

Obviously, I remember all the IMPORTANT stuff!;o)

Megan Tatiana wrote: "Obviously, I remember all the IMPORTANT stuff!;o)"

lol! Yeah, she was struck in the treehouse with Travis. Harry she was bound? engaged to? But liked him as a friend...mostly!

message 17: by Jubilee (new)

Jubilee I totally agree with this review 100%. I haven't read the 3rd book but I just finished the 2nd and although it's a good book it leaves a lot to be desired in the way of plot.

Megan Thanks Jubilee :) Book two in this series was so disappointing! You're right, the plot did leave a lot to be desired. If you are feeling up to it, this final book is so much better than the second.

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