Friday, July 15, 2011

Me on The Dark and Hollow Places

Title: The Dark and Hollow Places
Author: Carrie Ryan
Release Date: March 22, 2011
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers

Possible spoilers for The Forest of Hands and Teeth and The Dead-Tossed Waves.

There's a lot Annah would like to forget, but the one thing she wants to forget most of all is the day Elias left her to join the Recruiters. Ever since that morning, she's been waiting for him to come back home. Without him, Annah finds life to be meaningless, dead, and wasted. Until she meets Catcher and everything feels alive again.

But Catcher has his secrets, a dark truth that links him to a past Annah wants to forget, and to a future far too deadly to even think of considering. Now, it's all up to Annah: does she continue to live in a world covered in the blood of the living, or is death the only escape?

There's something so powerful and haunting about this series, and it's not just the Unconsecrated/the Mudo/the walking dead. It's the different characters, how they've been formed by their struggles, and their encounters with the Unconsecrated. There's so much about this series that boils down the the ability of the human race to fight back from so much tragedy and continue to survive when they should've been wiped out long ago.

There's also a dark, historical feel to these books, a slight Puritan pilgrim feel that I think comes from the lack of cyber technology. It's nice, it makes it feel different to other books I've read in the past year.

Annah is so completely flawed. Her world shattered when she left her sister in the Forest, when Elias left, when Elias came back with Gabry and Annah realized he was in love with Gabry and not her. Her life sucks so much, so what is there to look forward to when a massive Horde is mindlessly killing and infecting the living?

And Catcher. Every day he defies fate by surviving, by being one of the Infected without becoming one of the Unconsecrated. He becomes a tool of those who took power in an attempt to keep as many people as possible alive. They need each other, Annah and Catcher. They need someone to care for, to live for, and not just as a replacement for someone they lost.

This world is not perfect, far from it. But there is still life, and those who are willing to fight for survival. For the chance to see the sun rise again the next morning.

At the heart of this series is the ability of the human race to survive against all odds and fight their way through massive murderous hordes and dead cities and forests. In the darkest night, in the bleakest moment, there is still hope, still passion and fire, still the need to continue living. Carrie Ryan's The Dark and Hollow Places is the perfect end to an emotional and powerful series.

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