I’ve been slowly working through The Dark and Hollow Places by Carrie Ryan for the last couple of days. Partly, I blame the stupidity of ongoing health dramas. Partly I blame myself. This is “the final” book in the trilogy… and I simply did not want to let these books go.
The Dark and Hollow Places starts out with a new character – Annah, the twin sister of Gabry from book two. Annah lives in the Dark City and is patiently awaiting the return of Elias, who went off to find Annah’s sister, Abigail. Annah and Elias left Abigail behind in the Forest of Hands and Teeth ten years ago while fleeing the Unconsecrated. Since then Annah has regretted the decision every day. Her guilt is visibly represented on her flesh by severe scars, an accident caused by barbed wire. Annah thinks of her sister and knows that she herself is ugly.
Three people come into the city that irrevocably change Annah’s life. One is Elias, the man Annah is in love with. Another is Gabry, Annah’s sister, who is in love with Elias as well. The third is Catcher, the Immune former flame of Gabry. All three of these characters serve as a symbolic counterpoint for Annah in provocative ways. They also make a very impacting point in the story. Because of Catcher’s immunity the Recruiters (who secure the defenses in Dark City) have forced him to infiltrate the infected areas for supplies. To keep him in line they imprison Annah, Gabry, and Elias but they really only need to keep one alive to maintain Catcher’s loyalty. The threat of their deaths are ever-present in (and out) of Dark City.
I really like what Ryan did with this book. Granted, it took me a minute to get into the storyline but once Gabry and co. made their presence known I was hooked. Annah is a hard character to wrap your brain around. I wasn’t convinced, at first, that I was going to like her voice. I wasn’t sure I was ready for her darkness. She’s a completely different character than the first two women; her inner strength comes from years of self-loathing more than success. I was scared of how dark she was in the beginning, but I quickly grew to appreciate her, to love her. I really grew to love her.
This is, potentially, the darkest book in the series. But it’s not because of the dead, it’s because of the living. The things that people do, the things that people become in order to survive, are truly monstrous, and Ryan drives this home with efficient grace. It’s not the undead we need fear, it’s ourselves. Beautifully, masterfully done.
I’m really glad that I had this book to read this week. Really. Very. Glad.
5 out of 5 stars. It’s bittersweet to see this series end, but I’m very happy with the final book.
* The Dark and Hollow Places releases March 22, 2011. Please so not ask to borrow my copy. I’m being greedy with this one.
– Follow the Reader –