May 17, 2012

Review: The Dark and Hollow Places

By: Carrie Ryan
Published: March 2011 by Delcorate
Format: Hardback, 374 pages
First Reviewed: April 2011
Buy: Barnes & Noble//Books-A-Million//Amazon//Book Depository
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A Forest of Hands and Teeth Novel

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.
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?

Rating: 3/5

Third and final book to The Forest of Hands and Teeth. I've reviewed the first two, but I'll be honest when I say I hardly remembered what happened, as I read the first a year and a half ago and the second a little over a year ago. I remembered some things and that I'd liked the first okay and really enjoyed the second (and I remember more about the second than the first), save for the unrealistic romance. However, because each of these books is narrated by a different character, I didn't stress too much.

I was able to jump back into the world after a few chapters, though it took almost half the book to grasp Annah's voice and to feel comfortable with the narrative. While I like the writing, I will say that the main reason, besides the semi-slow plot and the semi-dull romance and the semi-realistic sibling relationship, that I didn't love this book but rather just really liked it was the writing.

At first, I thought Ryan just liked using the word "seeps," or a form of it. There was one on every page, it seemed. Though that quickly (pun intended) changed into excessive and unnecessary adverb usage. I swear, if I see one more "slowly," I'm going to hit something. I counted three on a page one time. There was an insane amount of "slowly's" and adverbs all together, most of them unneeded. Oh, and "practically's" and "finally's." It was overwhelming.

What also bothered me was the overdone repetition. I remember noting this in both of Ryan's other books. She repeats feelings and thoughts way too much, to the point where I don't give a crap anymore about the character's feelings and thoughts on a tough subject. Sometimes ninety percent of a chapter would be the same thing being said over and over, just with different words, and sometimes even with the same words. It was just annoying.

All of that, wait, I have one more critique. The romance. To be frank, I don't think romance is Ryan's strong suit. She's great at writing action and creating worlds that engage you to the fullest, but when it comes to the romance, it just falls flat. It literally goes from no romance to full out "I love you" romance. Just like with the previous books, I never saw the relationship develop. It was just not there one moment, then there the next.

Okay, now with all of that said, this was an enjoyable read. Once I was finally able to sit down and read, I devoured it almost in a setting. While the plot is kind of slow at points--many points, actually--there's still something about Ryan's work that makes you read. However, I don't think it lived up to my expectations. I was expecting so much more out of it and while I don't remember everything from book two, I do remember that I was much more engaged when reading that one than this.

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