Just finished reading the Dark and Hollow Places by Carrie Ryan and what a totally breathtaking book this is. I literally couldn’t put it down. It was gripping, thrilling, exciting and horrible, dark and twisted.
This review will definitely contain spoilers for the first two novels so please do not read unless you’ve read the other two (unless of course you don’t mind plot spoilers – in which case press on!)
This book is told by Annah (twin sister to Gabry (or Abi) from the Dead Tossed Waves). Annah has grown up in the Dark City with Elias (who you may remember from the DTW) who has now been gone for 3 years after signing up to become a recruiter. I really liked Annah. She is tough and can look after herself but she’s managed to retain her own sense of being. She hasn’t sunk so low that she can’t stop and help others.
The action in this novel increases as the hoardes of unconsecrated, awakened during Catcher and Gabry’s escape from the Recruiters in No.2, descend upon the unsuspecting inhabitants of the Dark City and cause havoc in their wake.
Without too much plot description, the four are eventually reunited and share a strange imprisonment on an island full of recruiters where Catcher is used as a forager with the lives of the others constantly held over his head by way of incentive!
I have really enjoyed this whole series. I loved the Forest of Hands and Teeth but thought the Dead Tossed Waves was even better. I didn’t know what to expect with this final chapter but frankly I think it succeeds in topping off the series perfectly. This is without question my favourite installment. Everything about it is just so well done.
Firstly, the charcters. I really cared about them, I certainly cared about Annah and Catcher (this isn’t Gabry and Elias’ book after all – they had their moment in No.2). I loved the way that Catcher and Annah found each other – and they were both equally broken – but managed to break through their own barriers (with tentative steps of course). Then you have the characters who you’re not supposed to like – and you really don’t like them at all! The recruiters are no longer there for the protection of the people but have become brutal and cruel, preying on the weak and quite frankly resorting to sickening levels to provide their own cruel means of entertainment.
Secondly, the setting. As you would expect, as we have now moved to a much larger city things are darker and grittier. It’s not really a surprise, you’re in a big city, hundreds of people trying to survive and basically becoming much more base, savage almost. The fabric of the city is slowly decaying, buildings have become pale imitations of their former self, rubble and twisted metal filling the landscape. Add to this a labyrinthe of old unused underground tunnels (former subways) where the potential for dormant unconsecrated is a very real possibility and a series of bridges that have been constructed between buildings – to allow safer travel – but which are also fast decaying and you have the perfect setting for this dark tale.
On top of the characters and the setting the story itself is brilliant. I wondered how we would move forward in this book and whether it would mimic slightly the tale in number two but it doesn’t. Don’t get me wrong, I had my moments where I was almost despairing and couldn’t see any hope. Things do become really rough on the island but these are survivors. They cling on to their lives desperately and not only that they’re inventive.
The ending was fast paced and gripping. If I could have held a cushion in front of my face whilst reading I would have done! A bit like when you’re watching a scary film and the tension is building, people being chased, falling, being trapped, etc, I was reading between my fingers and practically shouting ‘get up’ (thankfully I wasn’t sat on the bus travelling at the time).
And, if I can continue to wax lyrical – I love the name of the book and what it means and also the fact that it has more than one meaning.
All in all perfect series with, for me, a perfect ending. I’m sad it’s come to an end.
I really enjoyed this book. The first book is called The Forest of Hands and Teeth and I think I probably read it last August?? When I was on holiday if I remember correctly. I really liked the Forest of Hands and Teeth – I probably can’t remember all the character names now but the basic premise, the world that Carrie has created and the whole mystery with the Sisters and the way in which they control the village was really gripping. Also, this book was, I felt, a refreshing change. After all, and I know I read all of them, but we have an awful lot of stories about vampires and werewolves! Couple this with a well written love triangle and bah da bing. I really liked the FOHAT and was anxious to read the second book – I’m sure that the end of the first book was disappointing to a lot of people (because it wasn’t a traditional happy ending – or more to the point it didn’t have a conclusion as such) but I didn’t really feel like that because everything was still open and as we know with books anything can happen (also so many books are now written as trilogys that you expect the first and second to remain a bit open).
The Dead Tossed Waves is listed as a companion novel and by that what is meant is that it is not told in the same voice as the first book (i.e Mary). Gabry, Mary’s daughter continues the story in the second novel.
I really enjoyed this book (even more so than the first). The story continues but also develops. New concepts are brought into play and the world in which we are now moving is expanded. The first novel was mainly contained to the Forest and the concept that there was nothing else. The second novel is based in a new place called Vista. Vista is small and fairly self contained but is aware of the wider world and is part of a system called the Protectorate. There is even the possibility (through serving in the militia) to move to the Dark City! However, serving in the Militia is not exactly ‘nice’ and more than likely will lead to death.
What I really like about the book is that it’s now starting to expand, it’s fast paced (virtually from the start of the book) and it’s unpredictable – Carrie is definitely not frightened to sacrifice characters along the way, and, to be honest, given the situation they’re all living in this is understandable.
I suppose if I have any criticisms they would probably be related to the fact that Gabry constantly blames herself for everything (and this is a criticism that I voiced in a previous book (Mockingjay) – so perhaps this is a teenage thing, to constantly blame yourself for everything that goes wrong and feel responsible for the consequences. Although having three teenagers I can’t say I’ve noticed this as one of their prevalent characteristics (perhaps they hide it well??) I mean, basically, at the start of the book an event takes place that changes everybody’s lives – but, if you really think about how that event started (and I’m trying to not give away spoilers here) it wasn’t really Gabry who instigated anything. And, yet, none of the others- such as Catcher, or his sister – seem to be ridden with guilt!
The only other criticism I would probably have is why the living don’t try to eliminate more of the ‘unconsecrated’. They seem mainly to concentrate on keeping them out or running away. Alright, maybe that’s to do with people hanging on to their sense of morality and not just wanting to ‘kill’ people. I don’t know, maybe this is linked to the third book – maybe then, the remaining humans will start to fight back, or maybe a vaccine will be created! Who knows.
Criticisms aside (and to me they are really small), I would definitely recommend this book. Rating A.