I believe this is the final installment of The Forest Of Hand and Teeth, although I would be happy to be wrong. Carrie Ryan’s The Dark and Hollow Places has the most action of the three books as the characters are either being chased by the Unconsecrated or are in some other kind of danger seemingly at all times. We meet up with Annah who has been in the Dark City alone for the last three years. Elias left to join the recruiters and he should be back by now. Annah decides to leave because anything would be better than staying alone and waiting for Elisa to return. But as she leaves the city she catches a glimpse of a girl who could be her long lost twin, the one she left bleeding in The Forest of Hands and Teeth. Her sister Abigail is with a man who is infected. She knows this because the dogs catch his scent and he is about to be arrested. Instead he leaps into the river and Abigail is taken away. Abigail is not quite the girl Annah remembers. She became Gabry from The Dead Tossed Waves when Mary found her in the forest and took her to the city on the shore. All this is happening as a horde begins to breach the the Dark City’s defenses and a wall of zombies takes over the city. That infected man is Catcher, another character from Book 2. This book is filled with non-stop action, horror and cruelty. Elias has also returned with Catcher and Gabry. The recruiters need them to control Catcher, who is vital to their survival since he can walk among the dead without trouble. Catcher, Gabry and Elias are being held at the Sanctuary, the seemingly only safe place around. But it is full of evil men who hold cage matches between the Unconsecrated and humans as sport. They also use them as human hamster wheels to power electricity. Book 3 moves much faster than the other two. It is an intense read that never loses its glimmer of hope. I think that is what I love about the series the most.
Some ideas for discussing with teens:
What does Ryan mean by Dark and Hollow Places?
When Gabry confesses to killing Daniel, Annah thinks about her scars. ” I stare at the way the tracks of her tears break across her jaw and along her neck, at how it looks like her face, once shattered, has been carefully put back together. And I wonder if that’s what my scars really are: proof that I’ve put myself back together again.” Discuss.
What can someone’s scars say about a person?
Talk about the differences between Annah and Gabry. Also, Catcher and Elias.
Talk about Annah’s relationship with Elias and Catcher. How are the relationships different? How are they the same?
Why would Ox pursue Annah even though it meant his death?
Talk about the drawings Annah did, first with the infected woman’s face paints and then the burnt stick charcoal drawings.
Talk about the soulers.
The infected woman begs Annah to kill her. What would you do?
What do you think will happen now with the survivors?
If there was going to be a next book, how would you start it?