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Carrie Ryan

The Forest of Hands and Teeth book 3

Orion (2011)

ISBN: 978-0-575-09484-0

Reviewed by Lorraine Cormack

The Dark and Hollow Places is described on the back of the book as a “companion volume” to two others; in the author’s bio at the back it’s called volume three in a trilogy. I think the second is a more accurate description, and as a result the novel lacks a little when read by itself. Even so, it manages to be an interesting and entertaining read; it’s well suited to the intended young adult audience but will also hold the interest of many adult readers.

The Dark and Hollow Placestells the story of Annah. When she was a child, she and her twin (Abigail), and the older Elias left their village to explore in the forbidden forest. When Abigail fell and hurt herself, Elias and Annah carried on with their adventure. They became irrevocably lost, never able to return to their village. Annah has spent years racked with grief and guilt for her sister. Perhaps she died alone in the forest. Perhaps she too wandered lost and alone. Perhaps she found her way back to the village. Annah has never known and the guilt eats at her every day. Eventually Annah and Elias found their way to the City, one of the few remaining refuges. Here they eked out a living for years. Until eventually Elias joined the Recruiters, a semi-military corps that is supposed to provide some protection for the citizens.  He was supposed to return after his two year hitch, but it’s been three years and there’s still no sign of him.  Annah doesn’t know if he’s dead, or if he’s alive but has chosen not to return to her.

Carrie Ryan

Gollancz (2011)

ISBN: 9780575094840

Reviewed by Tehani Wessely

Annah, left abandoned in a city under constant threat from the plague of undead that began generations previously, finally decides she needs to move on. It’s a dangerous choice, but no more so than inertia. On her way to somewhere new (but unknown and unlikely to be safer), she is confronted with the ghosts of her past, and her world is again turned upside-down.

There doesn’t appear to be a series title for this trilogy, which began with The Forest of Hands and Teeth, sort of continued with The Dead-tossed Waves, and is supposedly concluded here in The Dark and Hollow Places. I say “supposedly” concluded because to be truthful, the series doesn’t feel finished with this book. It’s been marketed, but not jacketed, as a trilogy (at least in Australia) and I feel that each of the three books actually stands up pretty well as an individual story. Which makes me curious as to why market this book as the last of three? I would be very surprised if this actually is the final book Ryan publishes in this world, and the ending is certainly open to another.

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Carrie Ryan

Gollancz (2010)

ISBN: 9780575090903

Reviewed by Tehani Wessely, April 2010

Gabry has lived her life by the ocean, sequestered behind a barrier designed to keep out the dead. She’s never known anything different, and she’s lived with enough fear that she never wanted anything more. But then she and her friends dare to go through the barrier and the very worst happens, shattering the life she knew forever. Gabry’s world is destroyed she now has to face not only her fears, but all that is terrifying.

Sequel to the well-received The Forest of Hands and Teeth, The Dead-Tossed Waves continues to consider the question of what it would be like to live in constant terror of being over-run by a menace that could not just kill you, but could mean the destruction of the entire place you live, and all those around you. Gabry’s mother Mary is the protagonist of the first book, and while her role in this one is quite small, particularly in the early pages, there is some further progression of her story as well. Having said that, Ryan has done a very good job of making this book stand-alone, and new readers will have no problem starting here.

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