Monday, August 15, 2011

The Dark and Hollow Places

There are many things that Annah would like to forget: the look on her sister's face when she and Elias left her behind in the Forest of Hands and Teeth, her first glimpse of the horde as they found their way to 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 him to come home ever since. Without him, her life doesn't feel much different from that of the dead that roam the wasted city around her. Then she meets Catcher and everything feels alive again.
Except, Catcher has his own secrets—dark, terrifying truths that link him to a past Annah's 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 drenched in the blood of the living? Or is death the only escape from the Return's destruction?

Beth says 4.5 Stars…

I love this series. I remember when I somewhat skeptically grabbed the first novel, only to get swept up in the story and world. What I really enjoy is how this series keeps it fresh by changing the central character. It shows different facets of how the crisis affected the world. Instead of just seeing one person’s journey you get glimpses inside the lives of several people who have all seem different sides of the catastrophe. The plot in this one didn’t center on any sort of epic journey, differing from the previous two novels in that respect. I feel that the lack of movement made the story even more intense. Instead of giving the release of constant motion to the readers, the lack of forward progression kept me on the edge of my seat. I also found it interesting to finally get a look at the mythical city, which of course had more than a few issues. It somehow managed to not be as bright and shiny as initially thought in previous books.

The one problem I had with the book was how long it took me to connect with Annah. I didn’t find her very likeable in the beginning, and had issues with the barriers she placed around her emotions. However, she opened up after a bit and that allowed me to connect with her. Her emotional problems became fascinating and my respect for her grew as she worked through her issues. You really can take part in her inner journey, which in a way takes the place of a physical trek. I also thought it was great that we could still see what happened to some of the characters we’ve grown to know and love. It allowed for a more satisfying end to their stories. I found the relationships between all of the characters complex, but the one between Annah and Gabry fascinated me the most. As an only child, the interactions between twins are incredibly foreign and interesting.

This series manages to constantly subvert expectations. It’s not just about zombies; it really focuses on what happens when the known world crumbles. The strength and struggles of the remaining humans take center stage, set against the backdrop of a world in chaos. This isn’t really like anything else on the shelves and something you should be reading. If you’ve enjoyed the rest of the series grab this book and if you haven’t read any of the novels, pick them up. They’re worth it.


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