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The Dark and Hollow Places

Review

The Dark and Hollow Places

For the past three years, Annah has been struggling to survive on her own in the dreary, hopeless Dark City. When her best friend, Elias, left to join the Recruiters, she swore to hang tough until his two-year term ended. But he never came home. Fearing he's dead, Annah decides to leave this horrible city of despair. She plans to set off into the Forest of Hands and Teeth and try to find her old village and, more importantly, her twin sister Abigail, whom she hasn't seen since they were five.

The last image she has of her sister haunts Annah every day of her life. She, Abigail and Elias snuck out of their village into the Forest to explore. When Abigail fell and skinned her knee, Annah and Elias left her there with tears rolling down her cheeks. She hasn't seen her since. Guilt eats away at Annah's soul for leaving her sister in the Forest; she doesn't even know if Abigail is alive or dead. With nothing keeping her in the Dark City, Annah decides to try to find her.

But just as she is leaving the city, Annah catches a glimpse of Abigail coming in. Annah is sure it's her; they look exactly alike except for the extensive scarring Annah earned from falling into some old barbed wire. Before Annah can reach Abigail, she is lost in the crowds and taken captive by the renegade Recruiters. But all is not lost. Elias is alive! He and Abigail (who is now called Gabry) and their friend, Catcher, have come back to the Dark City to get Annah. But right on their tail is a horrendous horde of Unconsecrated, the virus-infected undead who stop at nothing to pass along their infection with a single bloody bite.

The hungry horde descends too quickly for escape, and Annah, Elias and Catcher can only think of one way to rescue Gabry and survive. They could turn themselves in to the renegade Recruiters who have secluded themselves on the Island Sanctuary with Gabry as bait to lure in Catcher. Catcher is someone the Recruiters are very interested in because he's been bitten and infected but hasn't turned; he's immune. Life with the renegade Recruiters could be almost as deadly as facing the Unconsecrated.

Bestselling author Carrie Ryan has given fans an awesome ride with her trilogy, and this final installment doesn't disappoint. THE DARK AND HOLLOW PLACES is both powerfully disturbing and touchingly beautiful as the pages explode with intense action that will leave readers breathless.

Annah is an amazing lead character, almost drowning in guilt over leaving her sister so many years earlier while at the same time struggling over self-esteem with her disfiguring scars and the utter depression of survival in such a desperate world. Her unrelenting spirit and her choice never to give up will inspire everyone in their own struggles. This story has everything: intense action, nonstop excitement, heart-fluttering romance, enduring survival, and the grossest of gore. I can't wait to see what the talented Carrie Ryan has to offer next.

Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman on March 22, 2011

The Dark and Hollow Places
by Carrie Ryan