The Dark and Hollow Places by Carrie Ryan

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.

Rating A+

The Dark and Hollow Places

The Dark and Hollow Places

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