The Dark and Hollow Places, by Carrie Ryan

I just… I… hmmph. Pout. Frustrated dance. Etcetera.

I shouldn’t have picked up this book. I really shouldn’t have. I quite liked The Forest of Hands and Teeth, but I did not like The Dead-Tossed Waves, and I knew that I was not going to like this book but I had to give it a chance, right? And when I saw the audiobook sitting on the shelf, just waiting there for me, knowing that I lots of time for listening to audiobooks at work… well, I couldn’t resist.

True story: I listened to probably the first three or four hours of this book before realizing that it wasn’t still about Gabry of the previous installment. I was very very confused and wondering how I had managed to forget all this stuff that must have happened, and then finally I figured out that it’s actually from the point of view of Gabry’s sister, Annah. So I gave up and started over, and things made so much more sense then. Well, comparatively.

Right, so, Annah. She’s living in the Dark City (no, really), and she’s been waiting for her boy-thing to return from the army-type-thing for several years now, but with all the zombies and the really crappy living conditions she’s like, okay, fine, I’m out of here. Except then she sees herself, and by herself I mean her twin sister, and she’s like, oh, how interesting, considering the last time I saw her I was leaving her to her doom in the woods. And so she heads back into the city to find her sister and, you know, catch up.

But, if you’ve read the other novels, you know that Gabry doesn’t remember a thing about Annah, and also she’s trying to run from some zombies and army-type people herself, oh, and also, she’s madly in love with Annah’s boy-thing. And he’s pretty in love with her, too.

And so there is love triangle-age, no, love square-age because another fella is there who was once in love with Gabry and who is now thinking about being in love with Annah, like, seriously? And there is also danger because said fella has this immunity thing to the zombie-ism and the army wants him. And then they get him, and also the other boy fella and also the twins and they aren’t very nice and they show Annah that the world has really gone all to crap and so isn’t it okay if they leer at her and abuse her? Of course it is.

It’s… uncomfortable.

So, yeah. The book doesn’t have much of a discernible plot, that I could tell, unless you count making me hate Annah so hard as a plot — if I have to hear one more time about how no one loves her or how her scars make her unlovable or how she uses her hair as a shield or how she once associated a certain affectation with her old boy-thing but now it’s totally her new boy-thing’s affectation, I may scream a little. I did actually say “I KNOW.” out loud a couple of times, at my desk, while listening to this. Frustrating.

I’m not sure how this series went so off the rails (in my opinion, as I’ve seen many people loving on this book) after this first book — I think part of it is that the protagonists have gotten progressively weaker, and also the fact that the love parallelapiped has gotten progressively more important to the story. Whatever it is, I’m giving this book a solid MEH.

Recommendation: I guess if you’re looking for a love story with zombies, you could read the last two books of this series.

Rating: 3/10
(A to Z Challenge)

The Dead-Tossed Waves, by Carrie Ryan

So I kinda sorta rather enjoyed The Forest of Hands and Teeth, to which this book is a companion (not so much sequel). Forest was full of interesting zombies and deep dark secrets and a trial of faith and although I didn’t think it a particularly good book, I thought it was very entertaining.

This book… less so. At first I was all excited because the main character here is Gabrielle, not Mary of the first book, and in the first book Gabrielle is the zombie chick that caused a lot of problems. I thought perhaps this was going to be a sort of companion book that talked about Gabrielle’s life and how she ended up in Mary’s town. Then, crushing disappointment when I found out that the Gabrielle in this book is actually Mary’s daughter.

So we have fast-forwarded many years to the future. And nothing much has changed. Mary has settled in by that ocean she had longed for, where Gabrielle — Gabry — has learned all about the Mudo (previously the Unconsecrated) and how lame they are and how they want to nom people. Nonetheless, she sneaks out with a bunch of people to go play in Mudo territory and of course the Mudo attack and Gabry’s boy-thing is bited and she runs away and her friends get caught and sentenced to a Really Bad Rest of Their Lives and then Gabry’s bff blackmails her into going out to rescue said bff’s brother slash Gabry’s boy-thing. But of course, this is not very easy, especially when Gabry starts falling in love with another boy.

And that is where I got distinctly displeased with this book. It was like the Hunger Games books all over again, with the indecision and the boys mooning and FOR SERIOUSLY it needs to stop. Bring me more zombies!

But the zombies are mostly lacking in this book, at least until the end when there are a disgustingly large amount of them, and the love story was certainly not as compelling as the deep dark secrets of the first book. Like the Hunger Games before it, I am sure I will read the third novel in this series in the hopes that it will be as awesome as the first book. I hope I’m not disappointed again!

Recommendation: Not for the zombie lover, or those with an allergy to dramaful love stories. At this point, I would definitely stop after The Forest of Hands and Teeth.

Rating: 6/10
(RIP Challenge, Support Your Local Library Challenge)

See also:
Shhh I’m Reading…
Book Addiction
Persnickety Snark
Devourer of Books

Pass me yours, if you’ve got ’em.

The Forest of Hands and Teeth, by Carrie Ryan

I don’t know where I first heard about this book, but I had been looking for it in Cleveland for quite a while — I wanted to read it, but I had too many other books to read to bother putting it on hold. When I was at my library in Jacksonville the other day looking for a completely different book, that I could not find for the life of me even with the help of a librarian, I was like, hmm. Is it here? It was!

And then I read it. Way.

At first, I was concerned that the book would be like the movie The Village, which was TERRIBLE and no one should ever have to watch it. It starts off rather the same, with creepy things in the woods that break in every once in a while and then the villagers have to hide lest they be taken away. I don’t remember what’s supposed to happen to those villagers in The Village (traumatic experiences and all that), but in this book they get eated and turned into ZOMBIES. A zombie book! Yessssss!

That’s all you really need to know about this book — well, I guess also that it’s a young adult novel so it’s all full of teenage protagonists and whatnot. But whatever, ZOMBIES. Nomnomnombrains.

Welllllll… okay, so there are zombies, which is awesome, but they are really secondary to this story of a crappy future where zombies have taken over and there’s a village run by fundamentalists who keep lots of secrets and they tell everyone that there’s nothing else out there, just this village and these zombies (well, they say Unconsecrated, but zombies) but our hero, Mary, is all “My mother told me about the ocean” and not really down with what those fundamentalists are selling. It’s more than zombies. But there are zombies. And sequels, which I will definitely be reading.

Rating: 8/10
(Support Your Local Library Challenge)

See also:
Book Addiction
Hey Lady! Whatcha Readin’?
books i done read
Devourer of Books
Book Nut

Pass me yours, if you’ve got ’em.