The Dark and Hollow Places by Carrie Ryan

(8.5/10) This final book did not disappoint.

I am so glad to get the chance to read and review The Dark and Hollow Places as I really enjoyed the first two books in this series. I am glad to report that this final book did not disappoint.

In each of the three books Carrie Ryan has shown us a different aspect of the world of the Forest of Hands and Teeth. The first book was set in a remote, isolated village in the middle of a forest infested with zombies. It seemed like the last safe place in the world and then, in an instant, that safety was destroyed. The second book took us to the coastal town of Vista where Gabry lived in a lighthouse and the Unconsecrated washed in with the tide. The third and final book hurls us straight into the broken, dangerous landscape of The Dark City where Annah struggles to survive.

Each of these books show desperate people living in circumstances where death is a daily threat and is almost certainly not the end of your suffering. This last book, however, seemed especially dark and violent. Maybe it was the enclosed setting of the damaged city streets and derelict buildings instead of forest and beaches that made it that much blacker. Or maybe it was simply that there were more people in the Dark City. Because, in this book more than the others, its the living, breathing humans who are responsible for the most brutal acts against each other. Sure, there are millions of zombies filling the streets but they are driven by a mindless need to feed and not by the desire to hurt and destroy for the sake of it. There were parts of the story where it seemed as if Annah and her group were the only "good" people left.

But within this bleak, unforgiving story the author has woven tiny threads of hope and light that sometimes are just enough to keep you reading. There is love in this book, not just romance but friendship and family love too. The conflict Annah feels between her emotions and the harsh reality of her situation is beautifully written and it is very easy to understand her confusion even if, sometimes, you just want to take her by the shoulders and shake her!

I don't want to give too much of the ending away but I think it was the only way, really to end this series. I would love it if Carrie Ryan would consider writing more books set in this world at some point as I want to know what happens to all the characters and to the world. I would also love to know more about the history of the zombie apocalypse.

The Dark and Hollow Places is described as a "companion" to the other two books but the story does follow on from the second book so it would be a good idea to read at least that one first. I read The Dead Tossed Waves three or four months ago so the wait between books wasn't too long for me but, even so, there were a couple of times where I wished I'd read the books one straight after the other just to keep the plot lines and characters straight in my head. Next time I pick up this series (and there is no way I won't be re-reading them) I will read them all together and sink completely into this dangerous, brutal world, safe in the knowledge that I can easily close the book and escape back to normality.

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