The Dark and Hollow Places (The Forest of Hands and Teeth #3)
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?
Just when she decides to go on with her life and tries to leave the city she catches a glimpse of her twin sister and everything changes. But with her joy there's also another emotion. She's embarrassed to be around her twin who's 'perfect' while she still carries the scars of the barbed wire. Someone else is with her sister, Catcher, an Immune. Around Catcher Annah feels something she hasn't felt for a long time. She feels alive again.
But is it all too late? Can Annah forget her own demons or will death be the only escape from the Return's destruction?
Wow. This third book in the Forest of Hands and Teeth series packs a big punch. Where do I even begin? The writing is powerful with the vivid descriptions of the city and those who still live there. You can feel Annah's emotions right when she first sees her long lost sister and the pain and emptiness when she encounters Elias again. I love how Ryan arcs Annah's journey in this book. The emotion is the strength of this story. Annah has waited three long years for Elias, hoping he'll return. When he does, things don't turn out the way she'd wished.
One passage in the book kind of sums up the struggle and emotions that go through Annah. When she talks to her sister she finds her sister has her own scars. But hers are deep within. Her sister admits to Annah that she killed a man and carries this with her. Annah wonders if her own scars are proof that she put herself back together again.
Also Catcher and Annah's relationship has all the trademarks of being forbidden. He's an Immune meaning he's been bit but hasn't made the Return as a zombie. He fears for any physical contact with Annah. The final choice they both take makes me hope for another book. But if not, the ending is filled with hope. That's one of the beauties of this book. The emotions are heartfelt and gut wrecking with a character who's journey comes full circle.
A must read and a very satisfying conclusion to The Forest of Hands and Teeth books.
Annah, the newest character of the series, was extremely likable to me. She's flawed, scarred, guarded and there's a real grittiness to her that I didn't find in Gabry; the girl has some fight in her. I guess the reason I like her over Gabry is because although Carrie Ryan puts both Annah and Gabry in many dire situations, I feel like Gabry is a little helpless and always has to be saved (by a boy, usually) while Annah doesn't expect anyone to save her, so she'll do whatever she needs to survive. Female characters like her are rare, although hopefully that trend is changing in YA.
This story also has another love triangle of course, but with a twist. The story finally gives Catcher the limelight rather than Elias which is fine for me since Catcher has much more depth as a character. Some of the scenes between Catcher and Annah were pretty steamy whereas Elias and Gabry are just so clingy.
The Dark and Hollow Places was a good end to the series and I enjoyed this book the most. There was more action and rawness to it and the Dark City was a much scarier place than the Forest of Hands and Teeth which, looking back, looks like a safe haven. This series had a lot of ups and downs for me but overall I enjoyed reading. Plus, gotta love those covers.