Monday, February 27, 2012

Book Review: Hallowed

Release Date: Jan. 17, 2012
Publisher: HarperTeen
Pages: 403 pages
Genre: Paranormal
Source: Publisher through NetGalley

Goodreads Summary: For months Clara Gardner trained to face the fire from her visions, but she wasn't prepared for the choice she had to make that day. And in the aftermath, she discovered that nothing about being part angel is as straightforward as she thought.

Now, torn between her love for Tucker and her complicated feelings about the roles she and Christian seem destined to play in a world that is both dangerous and beautiful, Clara struggles with a shocking revelation: Someone she loves will die in a matter of months. With her future uncertain, the only thing Clara knows for sure is that the fire was just the beginning.

In this compelling sequel to "Unearthly," Cynthia Hand captures the joy of first love, the anguish of loss, and the confusion of becoming who you are.

The idea of fallen angels (or angel/human relationships) has never seemed romantic to me, but rather creepy and demonic so I usually avoid angel books with very few exceptions, Cynthia Hand’s Unearthly, being one of them. I really enjoyed it and thought there was a clear delineation between good and evil in the story. The protagonists were descendants of fallen angels, part human and part angel, who had a purpose on Earth to do good and oppose the evil fallen angels, or blackwings. Hallowed, on the other hand, introduced new characters, blurred the lines a bit and romanticized full blooded angels in a way that I’m not sure that I liked.

Hallowed picks up right where Unearthly left off with Clara, Tucker and Christian about to start their senior year of high school. The first portion of the book is filled with a lot of angst as Clara agonizes if by going against her vision, she has ruined her life by not completing her purpose in life.

Clara’s angst is understandable. At 17, all she wants to do is to hang out with her boyfriend and not worry about destiny and the consequences of going against your given purpose. Of course, her life is more complicated than that. Clara has her moments where she throws a tantrum and contemplates changing her life to suit her boyfriend (all realistic for a girl her age), but she does get it together and her character experiences more growth and maturity than in book one.

I have to talk about the love triangle in Hallowed. I don’t like love triangles but if you are a writer and you are going to include one in your book, this is the way to do it. Clara does not go annoyingly back and forth about which boy she wants to be with. She loves one of them but feels like destiny is pushing her to another and she resents it. It’s also hard to be annoyed by this triangle when both boys are fantastically written and Clara would be good with either one.

My personal misgivings about human/angel relationships aside, this book is extremely well written. Hand easily side steps the second-book-in-a-series-slump by writing a book with a winning plot, adding interesting new characters while still engaging us with the old ones and throwing in relevant plot twists. Hallowed is an emotional book with rich relationships and did I say amazing writing? It would have been easy for Hand to cheapen certain situations in the book but she didn’t. I can’t get too spoilery but there is incredible love and loss and it is very well done.

There is no cliffhanger at the end of Hallowed but readers will definitely be chomping at the bit to find out what happens next. The next book in the series will be out next year.

Content: Kissing and violence

My Rating: Really Good!


Jessica Lee said...

Your review of Hallowed is great! I thought it was really good as well.

Be sure to enter my contest to win an ARC of The Springsweet!

Danny said...

I really loved Hallowed even more than Unearthly (which I also really enjoyed) mainly because it was no boring second book and had a winning plot just as you said! I loved the development of the characters and .. I had a few times really water in my eyes!

KM said...

I've heard lots of good things about this one, but idont think I'm ok with the blurring of spiritual lines. I'm just not comfortable with it. So I'm glad to hear your thoughts since we agree on that sort of stuff!

Kristin Rae said...

I enjoyed Unearthly, and I'll probably pick this one up eventually. Angel books are a bit tricky, for sure. I found it odd that an angel blood would have zero relationship with God?? Even if such a being were possible, wouldn't a connection/relationship with God be... inherent?
Logistics and angel beliefs aside, the story is definitely well written and I loved Tucker. :)

Gabi said...

What has always fascinated me about angels is that they have such a close and unique relationship with God, and it bothers me that God is glossed over or ignored in YA angel books. I've also always heard that angels have no sex, and when they're described as "he" it's just a place holder, because they are not sexual beings. Has anyone else heard this interpretation? So anyway, it's not really possible for an angel to fall in love with a person. Despite all this, I LOVED Unearthly! I thought it was cute and well-written, and I absolutely adore Tucker. I can't wait to read Hallowed.

Livia @ Butterfly-o-Meter said...

Yeah, I have an issue about angels in romantic circumstances, I tend to avoid angel PNR too. But I'm tempted to give this a try too...hmmm...

New follower, by the way, and I loving your blue/white color scheme.

Regards from Livia @ Butterfly-o-Meter Books


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