Hallowed: An Unearthly Novel Hardcover – Jan 17 2012
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Enchanting and exciting, romantic and believable-I wasn’t able to tear myself away! (Melissa Marr, author of the New York Times bestselling Wicked Lovely series)
Hand has crafted a captivating paranormal romance that will have readers eagerly awaiting the next book in the series. (Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA))
About the Author
Cynthia Hand is the New York Times bestselling author of the Unearthly trilogy. A native of southeastern Idaho, she has graduate degrees in creative writing from Boise State University and the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. For the past seven years she has taught writing at Pepperdine University in Southern California. She and her family have recently moved back to Idaho, where they are enjoying the fresh air.
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WARNING: This book may cause readers massive amounts of fangirling/fanboying. Do not be alarmed if you encounter symptoms of swooning, emotional instability, and immediate depression after reading.
Yeah...cause that's exactly what happened to me. Many of you may remember that I expressed in my Unearthly review how I was initially reluctant to read this series. Angel PRN books seem to be the worst of the worst in YA literature. So you can imagine my happiness when I come across this gem of a series. If there were ever a reason needed as to why I voted for Cynthia Hand's Unearthly as Best Young Adult Fantasy & Science Fiction, it would be Hallowed. If you were thinking that Hand couldn't do it again, you were wrong!
First off let get this off my chest because it's seriously bothering me:
"This beautifully woven tale will appeal to fans of Lauren Kate, Becca Fitzpatrick, and Aprilynne Pike."
Excuse me while I hurl. Are you kidding me? Stop it. Please. Do not lump this series in with those sorry books. Hallowed, for starters, has a plot. The characters have real depth. The love interests aren't trying to kill Clara. What it should have said was: "For fans of real YA PNR literature." *Breathes* Okay. /end mini rant.
I think it goes without saying that I loved this book. I stayed up past 4am to finish this it. Once again, I could not have predicted the outcome! There are so many plot twists and mysteries revealed and it's not what you would expect at all. And I have a sinking feeling that Hallowed is sure to upset quite a few fans...
If you think I'm going to sit here and feed you spoilers, sorry kids, not gonna happen. However, I can tell you some of the things I LOVED about Hallowed:
The character development:
Fans will be happy to know that we do indeed find out more about Christian, Clara's mom, Angela, Jeffery's purpose and last, but certainly not least, Tucker Avery. *Cues the swooning*
Clara's mother definitely sees more development. And at first I found myself really irritated with her for keeping secrets, but by the end of the book, I couldn't bring myself to be angry at her any longer. We were left with so many unanswered questions at the end of Unearthly, mostly thanks to Clara's mom, but rest assured, many are answered. And of course, with more answers we get even more questions.
The love triangle:
I'm sure you saw that coming, as did I, but here's the thing: I liked it. I usually hate love triangles because I find them a bit played out and predictable. But it worked so well in Hallowed. This probably has something to do with the fact that Hand wrote these characters so well. Their relationships are very believable and heartbreakingly realistic. We see a whole other side to Christian and Tucker. It's rather easy to love them both because they both care deeply for Clara and respect her. There are no semi-abusive love interests here. How about that? ;)
The prose, the pacing, and the plot:
I never thought I could come to love the use of present tense prose, but I felt it was so perfect. We are really able to connect with Clara on another level because of that, especially everything that she goes through in this book. And she goes through a lot. The simple sentences and Clara's ramblings really helped me feel everything Clara felt. The pacing was a bit slower in this book than the last, but again, it works so perfectly. Hand gives us the opportunity to let it really sink in. The pacing just goes hand in hand with the plot, which too is very subtle. At first you become eager to get to the end, but you will come to dread it. So beautifully written.
Cynthia Hand, you are so slick and I love you for it. Those Twilight burns you put in there? Oh, yeah, I think you know how brilliantly awesome that was.
"Before I moved here, I never got the whole love-triangle thing. You know, in movies or romance novels or whatnot, where there's one chick that all the guys are drooling over, even though you can't see anything particularly special about her. But oh, no, they both must have her. And she's like, oh dear, however will I choose? William is so sensitive, he understands me, he swept me off my feet, oh misery, blubber, blubber, but how can I go on living without Rafe and his devil-may-care ways and his dark and only-a-little-abusive love? Upchuck."
Yup, that's pure win right there.
It was so heartbreaking. Clara just didn't get a break in this book and I felt for her so much. I just wanted to hug her. And at the end I felt like I needed a hug. Hand, you had me crying at 4am! I can't believe you went there in this book!! I mean, seriously, I was having a fit over here:
Disbelief: "NOOOOO!! She did not just do that! NOOOO!"
Depression: "How will I survive until 2013? I'm doomed. Doomed, I tell ya."
Cynthia Hand tore my heart out and made me eat it...
...and I liked it...
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Hallowed picks up where Unearthly leaves off, as Clara deals with the repercussions of how she handled her angel purpose. Now, a new purpose-like dream materializes that has her worried about someone close to her. As Clara's focus is pulled into the angel world, where does that leave her relationship with Tucker? And when tensions heat up with the Black Wings, Clara finds herself right in the middle of the conflict.
This is a more melancholic book than Unearthly. Clara has a lot of sadness around her that weighs her down, not least of which is the awareness that she is about to lose a loved one. She has angel growing pains as she learns more about her powers and how much others are relying on her. She is learning more about her purpose and how her choices make it evolve. There is the question of fate, and how she can choose to accept or ignore the path that she is destined for. So, this is a turning point sort of time for Clara.
Another small problem competing for Clara's attention is the growing love triangle. Cynthia Hand pokes fun at love triangles in general in the book, and even with a nod to Twilight. It seems that Christian fits perfectly in her life, and the only problem is that her heart belongs to Tucker. I found myself tugged in both directions in regards to the love triangle, and I'm not sure it's over, no matter how things left off.
In addition to the angel revelations and matters of the heart, I was also really interested in the character relationships. In particular, Clara's brother Jeffrey, and friend Angela have me very intrigued. I was glad to see Jeffrey with a meatier role in this installment, but it left me wanting even more answers. New characters and surprise appearances in the book also provided some of the back-story I craved.
Hallowed is a very worthy follow up to Unearthly, and an emotional, heart wrenching read. The series is well written and addictive, and even has a sense of humor that can win over paranormal weary readers. I can't wait to find out what's in store in the next installment of the series, due out next year.
The story picks up right where Unearthly left off, right after the fire and Clara's uncertainty about what she was supposed to do on that day, save Christian (who didn't really need saving) or save Tucker, the guy she's in love with. Clara rightfully feels like destiny's playing a mean trick on her.
Clara suddenly begins to have a new vision, which she is at first unsure is actually a vision since she's having it during her sleep, like a dream. Her vision involves a funeral and seems to tell her that someone close to her will die. Judging by the people not present in her vision, she assumes this person is Tucker.
Meanwhile, Angela forms an "Angel Club" and recruits Clara, Christian, and Clara's brother as members. They begin to learn thins about each other and what they can do as angelbloods, as well as compare notes and opinions on what Clara's vision means. Eager to help her is Christian, who has developed an obsession with Clara, convinced that she is his purpose and destiny, while Clara refuses to reciprocate because she is in love with Tucker. Clara vows to watch over Tucker and prevent at all costs what she sees in her vision to come true, going against her purpose and causing a lot of friction between her and her mother.
We are suddenly thrown into the world of black wings, whom we were introduced to in book 1, and Clara struggles to find a way to battle them using Glory. Clara has sudden moments where she feels sorrow, a sign that a black wing is nearby, throwing an element of suspense throughout the book. Clara's mother reveals a bit more information to Clara, but always holding back, not giving more than she thinks is necessary, and irritating Clara to no end.
There is a big revelation towards 3/4 of the book that I will not mention in this review (you will have to read the book), but it's HUGE and it involves Clara's estranged father. We also find out more about Clara's vision and who is the person that the funeral is for. This is where the tissues will come in handy.
The end will leave you with a sense of yearning and loss that I myself have only experienced with a handful of books. I became so attached to all the characters in this book, and although this book is not the last in the series, it had an air of finality, like I'd lost a loved one myself. It moved me deeply and I may or may not have cried like a baby when I finished this book. I give it 4 stars. Excellent, EXCELLENT sequel. Can't wait to read the conclusion to this very moving story when the third book in the series comes out.
Clara's vision has happened. Almost. While the horrific fire is over and done with-is she done with her purpose? It doesn't look like it. Immediately Clara begins to have more visions, a continuation of her purpose. Once again, Christian is involved. While this obviously the central theme in the book-so much more goes on.
First, there's romance. I might as well bring that up now. Christian is A LOT more involved in this book. So if you liked him the first, you'll love him in Hallowed. There is major character development there and I really liked what I saw. I always had viewed Christian as some shallow guy that was taking a back seat to everything. Apparently not. The big deal with Christian is-Is he the guy that Clara is supposed to be with? Clara is really at a loss here-it seems that God, for heavens sake (pardon the pun), is trying to tell her that. But then again there is the inevitable love Clara has for Tucker. Clara is a very determined character and when she wants something she tends to get it. It's time for Clara to figure out what she really wants.
And for those of you who are growing tired of the annoying teen romances that have no depth to them-fear not. I loved that the author brought up the "first love" concept and how it's not always correct. Teenagers-this is a big hint. I'm really glad that perspective was brought up. This book, like the first, has perfect balance. I was invested in the romance while focused on her problems.
But guess what other character is making more of an appearance? Samjeeza, the black wing for the first book. Like Christian, there is a lot more discovered about his character and his history. I have conflicting feelings concerning him...I realize he's evil personified and all that, but he doesn't seem as bad as he is supposed to be. He really does bring havoc to Clara's life, but she handles it brilliantly.
There is so much more to the plot. Rather than spoil the entire book this is just an fyi: This is a tear jerker. Be prepared with tissues, I really wish I would have had this advice prior to reading the book. I will say that it really makes you appreciate family.
Clara discovers so much in this book. I thought the first was an oasis of mystery and finding-come to find that the author has a lot more tricks up her sleeve. I was on the edge of my seat while reading this.
Another major aspect I think should be brought up about this book; the God aspect. Every Nephilim type book that I read doesn't ever really bring up the "big man" or the religious book. The Unearthly series doesn't go overboard-but it is there. It doesn't matter that you're religious or not, I really appreciated that the author kept that in mind. The book has more purpose because of this without being thrown in your face every second.
I absolutely loved it. I read it in one setting because I couldn't set it down. Every time I tried it was still all I could think about so why bother? This book has earned a notable place on my book shelf-as I think it should on many more.
I don't feel Ms. Hand showed us the best of her talent with this installment. I found much of the narrative and dialogue lackluster and uninspired. I'm not sure why but, here, her writing was just not as poetic and convincing as it was in Unearthly. I hardly liked any of the characters as well as I did in Unearthly, not even Tucker and Clara herself. The only ones I really liked were Angela and Maggie, Clara's mom. Well, and I must say Billy, too. She rang pretty true compared to the rest. For some reason the characters really remained flat for me for most of this book. It's as if they were cardboard cut-outs standing in for a stereotype of who (what figure in our main heroine's life) they were supposed to represent. Like "I'm the real boyfriend, the jealous boyfriend" "I'm the Angel-boy who's better than you and I'm going to take her from you". (Because I am the one that's like her, and only I really understand her). "I'm the angry, ignored brother". Please! Really?? I definitely did not find Christian, nor his constant presence, charming and appealing at all. For me it was unrealistic and weird. The story only really showed it's heart and came alive for me in the last third, when the major sad event occured. I must say I did think the portrayal of how Clara handled this was pretty good, and I appreciate the way Christian was there for her at this point.
The end (temporary, until the next "chapter"), was logical and bittersweet at the same time. It seems like the characters made the best, and the only reasonable choices they could for the near future. Not until this ending did Hand manage to make Tucker and Clara's feelings really resonate for me and touch my heart. I have always liked Tucker and kind of hope they end up together. However, I cannot stress too much about what the author may have to do with Christian's character for that to happen. Though you may disagree with my overall opinion of this book, if it helps make my point (to say) this installment did not quite make me care ENOUGH to be heartbroken one way or another with which way things go with the rest of this story.