Mar 22, 2011

Reviews - The Dark and Hollow Places by Carrie Ryan

The Dark and Hollow Place by Carrie Ryan
April 7th, 2011 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers

From the Publisher:
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?

Sometimes when a series comes to an end, I get weepy. This story was no exception. I am almost in denial that I won't be able to read another book in this series. Why must we stop at three? Why can't this series go on like a James Patterson one (forever)? Regardless, this book is a fantastic ending to what is one of my favorite trilogies. We finally meet Annah, Gabry's sister, who left Gabry in the Forest of Hands and Teeth when they were children. Today, Annah is anxiously waiting Elias' return to the Dark City. Elias left three years ago to join the Recruiters (and to find Gabry), and Annah has just about given up hope that he is going to return to her. Before all hope is lost, Annah and Elias are reunited in the Dark City, but that isn't the last reunion of the story. *insert tear* There is some smooching going on too...

There is a whole lot going on in this book, and it is not a dialogue driven read. There are many chapters with no communication, only inner dialogue. We are quickly wrapped up in Annah's thoughts about her sister, Elias, and all those zombies. Ryan takes her time describing in great detail the dire situation of the Dark City and its flesh eating inhabitants. Annah's struggle to stay alive in a place that is dying slowly every day is described with such veracity that I often wanted to reach out and save Annah myself. Ryan doesn't go lightly on her characters, she makes them suffer. True fans who have read the first two books, don't want to be I won't go any further into the plot.

The lasting impression besides "NOOOOOO, I want more," was that this book is dark. Creepy, slimy, gritty, 'never gonna get my nails clean again' type of dirty. This is not a bad thing. We met The Unconsecrated in The Forest of Hands and Teeth, we met the Mudo in The Dead Tossed Waves, and now...we meet the plague rats. In a nutshell folks, we are talking about zombies. Good ole fashion zombies that want to bite and turn you. They are around every corner, and at times I thought that the end of Annah and everyone else was near. There were a few squeamish scenes, but it is all part of the perfect package. Those of you that are looking for a real survival story have found the right book.

5 Stars!

Here are some thoughts from other readers on The Dark and Hollow Banned Book Tour. I encourage you to follow the links and read/comment on their thoughtful reviews.

"Even as the trilogy draws to a close, Carrie Ryan leaves us with no easy answers for the future of the world she created. The message seems to be that you just go on and do what you need to do to survive and at the end of the day, there is a glimmer of hope for brighter days ahead." ~Christnai @ Reading Extensively

"I, for one, am not a zombie girl, but her writing is just so beautiful and elegant that I don't feel like I am reading about a zombieocalypse." ~Jennifer D.

Thank you Random House for providing the tour book.


  1. This book DOES look good! I don't really read these types of books, but I might have to read this series. It sounds like a VERY good book. Thanks for the great review!


  2. Oh my goodness, it was so good! And yes, it was definitely dark and "creepy, slimy, gritty". I was appalled by the Recruiters and I thought it was sort of morbid and scary that darkness in this installment stems from human beings not from zombies themselves. Was I the only one who felt bad for the zombies in this book? I thought it was amazing how Ryan was able to completely turn the opinions of the reader around, making them see the humans as bad and the zombies as unfortunate.

  3. Fantastic review! Though I did not feel weepy, I felt like biting my nails while reading this one! I can't wait to see what Carrie Ryan writes next.

  4. Sooo... the cover scares me. I am hiding under my covers as we speak.

  5. I love the covers and you will probably hate me but I haven't read this series yet! *hides*

  6. Okay, Britta....I ditto what you said. Why didn't I think to write that? I felt like this review could have been 129 pages if I let good!


  7. Jen,

    Haha, I think I might copy and paste my own comment into my review ;) There are so many things that I couldn't say at the time of my review because the book hasn't fully digested yet. Reading reviews and writing comments (which I've done alot of for this book) has been like a thought process. There are so many layers to this book and I feel that each review has been peeling one off and I am understanding and interpreting more.

    I hope that didn't sound too cliche and corny because it is totally true.


  8. Jen,

    At first I was kidding... but I really just did add an update to my review. I feel like it was worth mentioning.


  9. Jen,

    That was such a nice thing to say (on my blog)! It means alot, especially coming from you. You don't know this, but you were one of the blogs I was looking up to when I first started :) Not examples, per se, but one of the blogs that I was like "If I can just be like them...."

    Britta :)

  10. I just picked up a copy of this after reading your review. I've read the first two books, and didn't realize that this was going to be a trilogy. :/

  11. I have this the first book of this series but I have not read it. It's still in queuing.
    Just like you some of my friend loved this book.
    I hope they do not make any changes of its cover.

  12. I have this one sitting on my bedroom floor. I think I might have to read this one. It sounds amazing! Great review!