From the Hardcover editionThe Dark and Hollow Places by Carrie Ryan
Published by Delacorte Books for Young Readers, an imprint of RandomHouse

Annah’s world has been a cold, dark, and terrifying place ever since Elias left for the Recruiters. The city she lives in is surrounded by the zombies that have taken over most of the planet. Her daily goal is simply to survive. But when she meets Catcher, things begin to look bright once again. She begins to feel that there might be hope for her still, and although it’s clear that Catcher has secrets of his own, Annah knows that her only chance at survival lies with him.

When I read The Forest of Hands and Teeth, the first book in this series [my review] I liked it but wasn’t completely convinced. Then I read the second one, The Dead-Tossed Waves [my review], which I thought was even better than the first. And now, with The Dark and Hollow Places, I’m finding myself extremely satisfied with this series overall and very happy that I stuck with it, despite my initial trepidation.

What I love about this series is that each book deals with a different main character. The Dark and Hollow Places introduces the reader to Annah, a character with deep emotional scars to match the scarring on her body. She is in a very dark place in her heart, she is scared and hopeless and certain that she will not survive much longer. In addition, the pain she has dealt with in her life has caused her to shy away from other people, even when she has the desperate need for friendship and love. I could relate to her pain, her fear was palpable to me, and I really connected to her. While I knew that the book would be extremely dark in nature, I couldn’t help but hope for a happy ending for Annah.

Because this story is the third in a trilogy, I don’t see the point in discussing plot here. But what I will say that this book, along with the other two books in the series, are not happy or pleasant reads. The world Ryan created here is a depressing and awful place, and it is terrifying to imagine having to live in such a place. So don’t expect for the conclusion of the series to be wrapped up in a neat little bow with pretty paper – you have to expect more of a gritty, realistic resolution to this series. But there’s something about these books that inspires hope in me. The idea that people would do everything possible to continue to live in a world in which they have no real hope for survival, let alone any kind of normal life. The idea that these people would continue to fall in love, create friendships, and protect one another amidst all the zombie chaos. There’s just something about these concepts that I can’t help but latch onto.

I would definitely recommend the entire Forest of Hands and Teeth series by Carrie Ryan. These books are exciting, fast-paced, well-written, and have excellent characters. Above all, the conclusion of the series did exactly what it needed to do, causing me to be very happy with the books overall.