I put off reading Carrie Ryan’s 3rd book, The Dark and Hollow Places – not because I don’t like her writing, but because I wasn’t sure I was up to immersing myself in the post-zombie-apocalypse one last time.
Like and the Dead Tossed Waves, (both of which I enjoyed very much) Places is another good book, told from the point of view of Annah, the twin sister of Waves‘ narrator, Gabry. We learned of Annah’s existence at the end of Waves, and the action here picks up where Waves left off. Unfortunately, it’s been a while since I read the last book, so I’ve lost the narrative thread, as well as the sense of anxiety and need-to-know that had built up over the course of the last story.
The action in Places occurs in the Dark City – the shell that once was New York City. The three main characters from Waves (Gabry, Elias, and Catcher) have come to the Dark City looking for Annah, with a horde of Unconsecrated (zombies) behind them. (A Horde they basically created in the last novel, when they (1) destroyed chain link fences meant to keep the Unconsecrated at bay and (2) woke a humongous sleeping horde of Unconsecrated by accidentally bleeding on them.) When this Horde overruns the Dark City, Catcher, Gabry, Elias and Annah take refuge in the Sanctuary, an island outpost manned by the remnants of the Recruiter’s forces. (I initially assumed this was Roosevelt Island, because it’s accessed by cable car, but it might also be Liberty Island or Ellis Island – I’m not familiar enough with the NYC to say for sure.)
This book is really dark, thematically – through Annah, we bear witness to some horrible, inhumane-yet-very-human behavior. Ryan continues to do an amazing job of building up a sense of urgency and dread without turning the reader (this one, anyway) away from the story. While it ended on a borderline-unbelievable note, featuring home-made hot air balloons and a one woman slog through abandoned subway tunnels all the way from Grand Central Terminal to Coney Island, it was a satisfying conclusion.
This is supposed to be the last of a trilogy, but I’m really hoping Ryan will re-visit her zombie-fied version of the Atlantic seaboard, because I’d really like to know what happens next. And really, what higher praise is there?