Title: The Dark and Hollow Places
Author: Carrie Ryan
Genre: Paranormal fiction, dystopian fiction, zombie fiction
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Source: Audiobook from the public library
Audiobook reader: Allyson Ryan
First line: This city used to be something once.
Annah has lived in Dark City since she was a child, learning how to stay away from the plague rats, how to scavenge for food and other items necessary for survival. Up until a few years ago, she wasn’t alone in her meager existence – she had Elias. Then he left to join the Recruiters, promising to come back at the end of his two-year commitment. Only it’s been three years, and she’s running out of any reason to keep on surviving.
While leaving the Dark City, Annah spots a girl her age entering the city – a girl who looks exactly like her, minus her scars. She returns to the city, determined to find her sister, when she runs into Catcher. He’s different than anyone she’s ever met, and Annah starts to care about living again. But the world is still falling apart, the Horde is getting closer, and there seems to be nowhere left that is safe. Is it worth it to start working to survive again?
I loved The Forest of Hands and Teeth, the first book in Carrie Ryan’s zombie series. Book two was pretty good, but didn’t wow me as much, mostly because I thought the main character of Gabry was a bit whiny. The Dark and Hollow Places is my favorite of the series, and a terrific place to end the story – although it would definitely work to have more stories set in the world of the Unconcescrated and the Forest and the Dark City.
The character of Annah is the reason this book stands out more for me – I loved her. She is damaged and dark and strong and fierce and loyal, and as I listened to the audio, I wanted her to find happiness so badly. Of the three heroines in the series, she is definitely the one who most resonated with me emotionally. Her relationships with her sister, Elias, and Catcher are complicated, and exactly what you would expect in the world they live in and with the things they have seen and experienced.
Very slight spoiler alert.
While the story of Annah, Gabry, Elias, and Catcher came to a satisfying end, Ryan also stays true to the devastating world she has created. If you’re expecting everything to be all happiness and light, don’t – this is still a world inhabited by the walking dead, seeking to devour anyone left alive.
End of very slight spoiler alert.
Audio notes: Allyson Ryan did a fine job of reading, but it wasn’t the type of narration that leaves a lasting impression. There were a few places, especially in the action scenes, when her reading didn’t sound natural, where it sounded like she was acting, trying to be dramatic, and this is something that bugs me in an audiobook.