Steph Sinclair's Reviews > The Dark and Hollow Places

The Dark and Hollow Places by Carrie Ryan
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's review
Apr 12, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: 2011-reads, i-loved-it, i-really-enjoyed-it, original-and-creative, dystopian, zombies-zombies-everywhere, realistic-fiction, young-adult
Read from April 12 to 16, 2011

You know how when you are reading a book and you can sort of tell when the author lets her characters off the hook or saves them from a potentially devastating situation? Well, Carrie Ryan spares no sort of mercy for her characters. In fact, she leaves your soul begging for a way out for them. I found myself bargaining with Ryan to please cut them some slack! But Alas, such is not the way in any of the Forest of Hands and Teeth novels. While the POV changed from each of the three books, one constant always remained:

Or the “Unconsecrated,” “Mudo,” or “Plague Rats” depending which book you’re on.

The Dark and Hollow Places (or the series in general) is epic. I can honestly say I really, really liked it, perhaps even loved it. However, it is not an adventure I would want to read again. It is just too damn depressing. And I’ll probably have Zombie filled dreams the next night I sleep. The world Ryan creates is so grim, so full of darkness and despair. Honestly, its awesome. It feels like you are watching a horror movie.

The book picks up with Gabry’s twin sister, Annah. What a broken character! At first, I thought Annah was sure to annoy the hell out of me with her constant complaints of her scars. But she quickly grew on me. Annah is a very strong, solid, female protagonist. Is she flawed? Sure. She is so used to depending on herself for everything, that she is afraid to let anyone get close to her. Throughout the novel, she learns that if she or her loved ones are going to make it, she has to learn to trust again.

Annah can not take a break in this novel. Ryan puts her through some pretty hellish situations that left me doing something like this: Photobucket Or this: Photobucket I was on the edge of my seat for most of the book. Nowhere was safe, not from the Zombies or the recruiters. Many times they all just wanted to give up. But really, who could blame them? Ryan brought up a very good question in this book: What is the difference from surviving and simply existing? What do you do when you only have a short time to live? Well, you LIVE. You continuing fighting, feeling, believing.

So, if you haven’t read this book or series…what are you waiting for?! The Return?!

More reviews and more at Cuddlebuggery Book Blog.
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Reading Progress

04/14/2011 page 102
04/15/2011 page 173
45.0% "Carrie Ryan, you sure know how to put your characters through Hell."
04/15/2011 page 182
47.0% "Ok, ok. I'm dying to know what in the world happened to Mary and Harry!"
04/15/2011 page 201
52.0% "Huh. So that's what Mary is up to. Somehow, I'm not surprised."
04/15/2011 page 207
54.0% "Oh Annah! You are just as broken as Catcher. :("
04/16/2011 page 265
69.0% "I swear this book disturbs my soul like no other!"
04/16/2011 page 354
92.0% "My heart is racing! How on earth will you end this Ryan?!"
03/11/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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♔Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ Veronica Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ ♔ Thats exactly what I loooove about this series! Carrie Ryan makes her characters so realistic instead of idealistic and does not give them any cheesy fairy tale ending. You leave the book maybe a little sad but at least believing in the plot. I think it makes the books less predictable when you're not sure if the main characters are even going to survive or end up terribly mutilated/infected/insane. =D

Louis I totally agree, really enjoyed the whole series. The 2nd book is my favorite though but its close

Natalya I completely agree with you on your assessment of theme. I love Ryan's writing style and I really appreciated her questioning, as you've said, the difference between surviving and existing. It's rare that I find a YA book that accomplishes something like that so well. It was utterly depressing, of course, but (despite the zombies), it was realistic. I felt that her characters had real feelings and real conflicts. Maybe replace the zombies with guerrilla soldiers and drop them all in the middle of a war-zone and you have something real people can relate to. Even though it's science-fictiony/fantasy, in a way it's not and this is only accomplished by Ryan's command of language and skilled characterization. And relentless lack of mercy for her characters :)

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