Literary Friday: The Dark and Hollow Places

Synopsis according to Goodreads:
"There are many things that Annah would like to forget: the look on her sister's face before Annah left her behind in the Forest of Hands and Teeth, her first glimpse of the Horde as they swarmed the Dark City, the sear of the barbed wire that would scar her for life. But most of all, Annah would like to forget the morning Elias left her for the Recruiters.  

Annah's world stopped that day, and she's been waiting for Elias to come home ever since. Somehow, without him, her life doesn't feel much different than the dead that roam the wasted city around her. Until she meets Catcher, and everything feels alive again. 

But Catcher has his own secrets. Dark, terrifying truths that link him to a past Annah has longed to forget, and to a future too deadly to consider. And now it's up to Annah: can she continue to live in a world covered in the blood of the living? Or is death the only escape from the Return's destruction?

The Dark and Hollow Places is the conclusion to Carrie Ryan's The Forest of Hands and Teeth YA dystopian zombie trilogy (say that three times fast!). I really liked the first one, both for the intensity of the world-building and the realistically uncertain and flawed heroine. The second book was disappointing. But this one? Totally makes up for that.

There are a few shark-jumping moments, where Ryan's apparent love of the horror movie tropes shows through, but for the most part this is a high-intensity, gritty story of survival. And more than survival- what it means to be alive.

The title is more of an internal character reference, as this conclusion to the series poses the question: Would it be better to be undead, in a world devoid of hope or life? Do we press on, fighting for inches, because we deserve life, or simply out of habit?

The main character, Annah, is your typical tough-as-nails-and-needs-thawing female YA character, but I like that Ryan allows her to save herself (primarily through self-reflection and sheer stubbornness). I'd like to think I am like a mix of Annah and Mary, but that's just vanity. 

I'd recommend this to fans of either or both of the preceding books, dystopian YA that is less government-focused and more human-nature-focused, those who enjoy a gritty zombie novel, bibliophages struggling with depressive slumps, and those who enjoy a tough female protagonist. 

Rainy Day Ramblings

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