|The Dark and Hollow Places by Carrie Ryan|
Ebook, 292 pages
There are many things that Annah would like to forget: the look on her sister's face before Annah left her behind in the Forest of Hands and Teeth, her first glimpse of the Horde as they swarmed 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.So sad to reach the end of this series, but it has to stop somewhere like all the good ones. Lucky for us, this one ends after a whirlwind set of events and a new, impressive main character. Much like the second book, The Dead-Tossed Waves, it has a "companion" feel rather a sequel. At least this one has a concurrent time frame with its predecessor instead of being a generation after The Forest of Hands and Teeth.
Annah's world stopped that day, and she's been waiting for Elias to come home ever since. Somehow, without him, her life doesn't feel much different than the dead that roam the wasted city around her. Until she meets Catcher, and everything feels alive again.
But Catcher has his own secrets. Dark, terrifying truths that link him to a past Annah has 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 covered in the blood of the living? Or is death the only escape from the Return's destruction?
Annah impressed me from page one. She has lived a tough life and it just got worse after Elias left. Scarred from a childhood incident, she shields herself from human interaction and runs on survival mode. These characteristics make her shine, but do cause issues as she is met with a set of circumstances that she cannot control.They also made the story so great to read from her perspective, especially seeing Gabry in her eyes and recognizing their differences. It is amazing how their different childhoods affected each one of them. One child that is headstrong and the other is more of a "go with the flow" and adjust personality. Additionally, Annah's attitude vastly changes the lives of Tristan, Elias, and Gabry by pushing them over limits they couldn't even fathom and even breaking the mold on some of Tristan's misconceptions.
Due to only hearing about Annah from the other characters' POV, we basically have to spend the first part of the book learning about her and her shaded past. It can be slow at times, but I promise it is interesting and really helps you understand her personality. The groundwork was laid better than with Gabry and I found that this helped me form a connection to Annah that I couldn't with her. After this period, however, the plot explodes and snowballs downhill in a gut-wrenching ride. The architectural descriptions and events in the Dark City were some of my favorites; they actually made me stop and think about "what if" and how our society would react in those situations. I also think that readers may be surprised how the so-called "love triangle/quadrangle" turns out. Yes, it was a little predictable, but it sure wasn't an easy resolution! The only thing I have to squabble about a little is the ending. It almost felt like an afterthought or a conclusion to a "middle of the series" book rather than a finale to a series. I read the last page and thought "That's it?" I think it needed an epilogue or another chapter to solidify it more. Otherwise, this was my favorite book and lead character of the series and definitely worth waiting for!