Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Book Review: The Dark and Hollow Places by Carrie Ryan


Annah has been fending for herself in the dark city since Elias left her to join the Recruiters. Finally she realizes he’s probably not coming back and sets off to see if she can find her old village in the Forest of Hands and Teeth.  On her way, she thinks she sees her long lost sister and meets Catcher – who tells her the horde is on the way and the city is no longer safe.

It’s funny, because until this installment, I always thought these books were set on the west coast.  Guess I was wrong!

Of the three protagonists in this series, Annah’s had it the hardest.  Not only did she grow up as an orphan, she also had an accident that physically scarred her for life. (An aside – apparently even in a world overrun by zombies, people still think looks matter.)  She spends a lot of the book moping that no one could possibly love her because she’s broken, and comparing herself to her perfect sister Gabry (who is much less annoying now that we are not inside her head).

This has always been a series where you have to suspend disbelief, but I had the most believability issues with THE DARK AND HOLLOW PLACES.  My main point of contention is with the portrayal of the recruiters, a whole group of selfish, sadistic and stupid men who never once show the slightest bit of compassion (either out of strategy or decency).  I find it hard to believe that every last one of them is rotten through and through.  Then there’s the Annah/Catcher romance.  Catcher didn’t deem himself good enough for Gabry, but since Annah’s scarred, she’s fair game?  Curious. (Though despite this, I did think they were very tender and sweet with each other).  And finally, the escape scene towards the end is inventive and gorgeous, but wildly implausible.

What I did love was that we got a look at the state of the rest of the world, and that, as always, Ryan knows how to turn a phrase.  Despite unimaginable odds, there were still people who longed to live a life instead of merely trying to survive another day.  That's an awesome takeaway, I'd say.    



Zombie chickens say: Live life to the fullest - even if the zombie hordes are beating down your door.


Series order: 
THE FOREST OF HANDS AND TEETH (read my review) 
THE DEAD-TOSSED WAVES (read my review)
THE DARK AND HOLLOW PLACES (available now)





Find out more about the series at the author's website


Song for the Ultimate Dystopian Playlist: Conversation 16 by The National. Sample lyrics: "I think they kids are in trouble, do not know what their troubles are for. Give them ice for their fevers, you're the only thing I ever want anymore." (scene where Gabry & Elias are sick) "I was afraid, I'd eat your brains." (Catcher - definitely!)


See index of all dystopian reviews on Presenting Lenore

13 comments:

Tez Miller said...

Have only read the first book, and I thought it was set in California. What with the beach, and was there mention of wine country?

Jules said...

I really quite enjoyed the series and I thought that this one was perhaps the best one.

I agree with you about about the recruiters, but I assume it was just the 'mob mentality' thing and fear taking over.

Lenore Appelhans said...

Tez - well a beach could be either coast (or the gulf area) but I don't think I remember wine country.

Jules - the first of the series was my favorite by far. I get "mob mentality" but I would've thought their self preservation instinct would've been stronger and enough to treat at least some with human decent. It's like they really did not think things through ...

Lenore Appelhans said...

Ugh I hate it when auto correct makes me look illiterate! Decency - not decent ...

Miss Lauren said...

When I read the first book in this series, I feel in love. I think it was actually my first zombie read as well. Then the second book blew me away. I received The Dark and Hollow Places in the mail a couple of weeks ago and have been saving it for Dystopian August and let me tell you.. it has been hard not to read! :) Thanks for the review, Lenore!

Zibilee said...

I actually also bought this first book in this series as well, and haven't yet had the time to read it. I have never really been exposed to zombie literature, though I am finding out recently that I like all sorts of paranormal, urban fantasy, and fantasy, so these books should be a good choice for me. It will be interesting to see what I think of these as the series winds on.

Emily said...

My favorite book by far in this series was The Dead-Tossed Waves. The escape scene at the end was quite unbelievable to me as well. And, frankly, I wanted more of Gabry and Elias.

bermudaonion said...

I don't think this series is for me, but I want to try it since the author is from the area we live in.

amy said...

I just finished this over the weekend, and I enjoyed it. I felt like Annah was so whiny and annoying through a lot of it and I agree with you-I don't think that she would be as worried about her looks when she has to fight zombies everyday. Overall though, I am addicted to Carrie Ryan's world and I hope she writes more. I am loving your Dystopian August!

Michelle said...

I definitely liked this one more than you did. While I agree that the sadism was a bit excessive I focused more on what the result of that was. That Annah and the others overcame it all.

Julia :) said...

I wasn't a HUGE fan of the other books in this trilogy, but I definitely need to give this one a read, if just to find closure. I'm sad to hear that the characters are still mopey. :P

Julia :) said...

Ohhhh and for the record I totally thought it was based on the West coast too. >.<

France said...

In the Dark and Hollow Places we get taken to the Dark City, and see the story unfold through the eyes of Annah, the other twin. At first I was a bit sad that we wouldn't get to see it from Gabry's point of view, I wanted to know more about her and what happened after the end of The Dead Tossed Waves but I quickly got over that once I got to know Annah and her story. I really admired Annah for her courage and will to live, I mean this girl spends most of her time and spent pretty much years on her own waiting for Elias and she's still not willing to give up. I would've been freaking out in some of these scenes in the book and locked myself in a closet shaking with fear waiting for death, yeah, I'm a wuss. Not Annah, she was willing to fight her way to survive and sacrifice herself for her loved ones if she had to, the fact that she never gives up throughout the whole book is why I admire her so much.