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The Dark and Hollow Places

The Dark and Hollow Places - Carrie Ryan Brief-ish summary (that isn't so much spoilery as it is more of a quick set-up of the plot during the first chapter or so): Teenage Annah has been on her own for three years, since Elias--the boy with whom she got lost in the forest several years prior--left to join the protectorate to secure a better future for both of them. In the Dark City where lawlessness prevails Annah learned quickly what it takes to fend for herself. She's had to be strong in order to survive.

Because of street smarts and childhood accident that left part of her face and body marred Annah's been fortunate to fend off creepers and the like. Unfortunately the very same scars cause Annah to keep everyone at arms length. She walks the streets with her head down, speaking only when necessary and has no friends or acquaintances. She's literally all on her own as she waits for Elias to return to her.

Near the beginning of The Dark and Hollow Places Annah makes the decision to move on--Elias has been gone three years when he only signed up for two. She knows that there is a good chance he's dead or worse. She knows it's foolish to continue living in the same building they lived in together as it's been declared unsafe and the city is getting more dangerous every day.

It's when she's leaving the city for what's supposed to be the last time she sees a teenage girl who has her face, or rather the face she would have were it not for all the scars. Annah knows without a doubt the girl is her long-lost identical twin, Abigail, whom she and Elias left in the forest all those years ago. Guilt-stricken, there hasn't been a day in which Annah hasn't thought about Abigail, about her fate--whether she found her way back to their village or not.

Annah attempts to get to Abigail who, ironically enough, is entering the Dark City. She fails because of the excessive, though entirely necessary security measures in place. Helplessly she watches Abigail pass by, hoping she can locate her after she returns to the city. Around the same time a young man, also entering the city, becomes the focus of nearly everybody's attention when security dogs start barking at him, identifying him as infected. Turns out Abigail is traveling with the young man and helps him escape from the peacekeepers. In turn they take her into custody while Annah looks on, horrified.

And this, folks, is when things get truly interesting but I'm going to have to finish reviewing this book later as my five year old needs attention RIGHT NOW! (Seriously, the world might just end if I don't do her bidding.)


Original short review:

More like 3.9 stars but I went ahead and rounded it up because it is the series finale and it ended well. The protagonist is the strongest Ryan has written to-date, though a little too much of a tortured soul from time to time. There are times in which I found myself choking on her pain, which isn't necessarily a bad thing.

It's just that Ryan writes heartbreak and rejection so well, I found myself sort of reliving some of the nastier, best-left-forgotten experiences from my adolescence. I was choking on bitterness on the MC's behalf and I even hated the 'other girl'. So glad I'm no longer a teenager, but I digress.

I'll write a full review when I get to my computer as typing this out from a phone isn't very fun.