Book Review: The Dark and Hollow Places by Carrie Ryan

Posted March 28, 2011 by 4 Comments


There are many things that Annah would like to forget: the look on her sister’s face when she and Elias left her behind in the Forest of Hands and Teeth, her first glimpse of the horde as they found their way to 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 him to come home ever since. Without him, her life doesn’t feel much different from that of the dead that roam the wasted city around her. Then she meets Catcher and everything feels alive again.

Except, Catcher has his own secrets—dark, terrifying truths that link him to a past Annah’s 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?

Review: Have you ever put a book down and refused to read it not because it’s bad, but rather because you just don’t want it to end? That’s exactly what happened to me while reading Carrie Ryan’s The Dark and Hollow Places. The third and final book in her Forest of Hands and Teeth Series, The Dark and Hollow Places is one heck of a read. The novel’s predecessor, The Dead-Tossed Waves made it on to my Best of 2010 List, and this novel is the first book I’ve read this year that I’m sure I’ll add to my 2011 list.

Ryan achieves what so many other authors fail to do, she continuously writes each book in her series with both skill and stunningly beautiful understanding of characterization. When I first picked up the sequel to The Forest of Hands and Teeth, I was horrified the novel would not focus entirely on Mary, a great female protagonist. But I was blown away by Gabry’s story. The same can be said here of the heartbreaking story of Gabry’s sister, Annah. She’s a real character that any reader will find themselves rooting for. She’s hard, but that’s something I admire. Not a lot of authors or publishers want to push a female character with this kind of toughness. Ryan’s use of different perspectives throughout the series allow you to see characters you thought you knew in totally new ways, ways you thought impossible.

And let’s talk about the zombies. Who knew there were so many ways to write about getting attacked by zombies. TV’s The Walking Dead needs to hire Ryan to write for them, because she has some crazy ideas. Thrilling. Utterly thrilling. This is a dark, dark book, but I applaud it for showing exactly how entertaining AND well-written a YA book can be.

My complaints are very small for this novel. I only wished to have a few more angst-less scenes between Annah and Catcher to truly convince me their relationship was based on who they were as people and not the situation they found themselves in. (Or maybe I just wanted more scenes with them because the ones in the book were so darn delicious). I also would have liked an appearance by Mary to fully close out the narrative, but understand the structure of this particular story made it impossible.

In the end, this novel was amazing. I don’t care what Ryan writes next, I’ll be in line to buy it!!


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4 responses to “Book Review: The Dark and Hollow Places by Carrie Ryan

    • Adia

      i am reading the third right now! its awesome so far, its very intense
      but i love that about the forest of hands and teeth series! i dont want the series to end, its just to good!

  1. Adia

    by the way, i also highly recommend the hunger games series to anyone who likes intense but wonderfully written books like the forest of hands and teeth series! i finished all three books in the hunger games and i LOVED it!

  2. This series is amamzing!!! OMG! I love it so much! The first book was great, then the second was better, and then the third…well, was the best! Hope Carrie Ryan keps writing because she’s awesome.

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