on January 17, 2012
Oh, Cynthia Hand, how could you do this to me? I feel like this book should come with at least a warning. Something along the lines of:
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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on February 5, 2012
I am a big fan of Unearthly, and was so excited to finally have the sequel in my hands. The characters, romance, dialogue, and angel mystique of Unearthly made it an instant favorite. I couldn't wait to read the follow up, and quickly tore through Hallowed in a day. Hallowed takes the series in new, unexpected, and exciting directions while it wears it's heart on it's sleeve, and I was not disappointed.
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.
on January 23, 2012
Wow,, for so many reasons and in so many ways!
This follow up to Cynthia Hand's debut, Unearthly was very different from its predecessor, but still managed to wow me. However, Hallowed was also quite sad. At the end of Unearthly, I was so eager to find out what was next in store for Clara, her angel-blood pals and family. What I got in Hallowed did not disappoint.
Clara still has much to learn about her mother, her purpose, her love life and her future. Cynthia Hand gives us a lot in this book. We find out early on that Clara is having new visions (this time in the form of dreams) and she is dreaming of a funeral, realizing that someone she loves will die. These dreams and the culmination of the funeral is what drives the story in Hallowed.
Clara's relationship with Christian grows into something different in Hallowed, when she realizes that it is Christian who is holding her hand at the funeral, and not Tucker. This remains a mystery as to why throughout most of the story. I won't reveal the reason, in order to refrain from spoilers. However, I'm still not sure I can trust Christian, and still really love Tucker.
My love for Tucker and Clara and Tucker's relationship continued strong in this book. I loved the carefree love that Clare and Tucker share. The way that it seems Clara can just be a regular teen (who also happens to be an angel). As with Unearthly, some of the best lines came from their time together. I am particularly partial to:
He smiles, a real smile this time, full of warmth and love and everything I could ask for. I tug his face down, finding all kinds of solace in the way his lips move over mine, the thump of his heart against my palm, the sheer steadiness and strength of this boy who stole my heart. For a minute I let myself get lost in him.
I really do enjoy a good love triangle, but I am usually only satisfied when the author does the right thing in the end (or at least the right thing by me :)). Anyone who read Unearthly could tell that a love triangle was inevitable, at least in some form or another, in Hallowed. I think Hand did a very excellent job in the way that she handled the triangle here, however, the more I think about it, the more I hate the way it seemed to conclude at the end of Hallowed. I have read friend's reviews, and understand where others are coming from, that Clara did the smart thing, the responsible thing and maybe even the real and right thing, but this book is not non-fiction, angels are not real, this is a work of fiction and I want what the heart wants! Clara talks a lot about making her choice and about how important it is for her to be able to choose on her own and not have her choices preordained. But, I want Clara to make the choice that is so clearly in her heart, not the one that she "thinks" is the right decision. So, the ending made me cry even more so. But, I still have hope that Hand will do the "right" thing by her readers and make choices that feel right.
And, speaking of love triangles, I loved Cynthia Hand's treatment of how Clara feels about them. This line made me giggle out loud:
"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. So unrealistic, I always thought.
Joke's on me, I guess."
And, truthfully,,, Hand really does know what she is doing. She writes excellent Young Adult fiction. And, I think I mentioned this in my review of Unearthly, but I have never read an angel book that I enjoyed this much (in fact, I waited a fairly long time before I even picked up Unearthly, simply because it was about angels).
This book (and its predecessor) really did get me thinking, and left me hanging! I very much look forward to the next book (and possibly the final book, as Hand has hinted at), although I'm pretty upset that I have to wait so long (2013!) until I find out what happens with Clara, Christian, Tucker,, oh and Jeffrey (!), and of course Angela. Why, oh why do you make us wait so long, Cynthia Hand?
on January 18, 2012
It's rare that I finish a book and truly feel speechless. I have so many emotions coursing through my heart and mind that I'm having a hard time attempting to put my thoughts into words. It is also rare (VERY rare) that a book will make me cry, and this one did... many times!! Though Hallowed is a continuation of Unearthly, it almost has a separate message running alongside the story. Acceptance, loss, grieving, regret and so many other emotions were broached, I just wasn't expecting to read this and have my heart open up so much.
I don't typically write reviews where I summarize the story, and I'm not going to start now. I am trying to give the most heartfelt review I can without revealing any spoilers. This review will never give the book justice, but I have to voice my thoughts while they're still so raw and close to the surface.
Clara certainly grew up a lot in this book. I honestly don't know that I would've been strong enough to make the same decision (in the end) that she made. Is it really better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all? Years ago I lost someone that I loved, and sometimes not ever getting a "why" is the hardest part. It's a hard subject for me. So, when Clara has to make a decision to let someone she loves "go" it was gut-wrenching to say the least.
We also deal with another kind of loss which was also difficult to read about. It's something I have yet to experience, and something I obviously don't look forward to. Clara handled herself with a lot of inner strength, and though she didn't get easy answers, she continued to try her best. Sometimes that's all that anyone can ask of you and I feel like Clara gave it the best she had. She had to make a lot of hard decisions, she had a lot of information thrown at her and though she didn't handle every situation perfectly, she did the best she could in the moment.
This book was poetic and beautiful. There really are no other words. I feel like we were getting an honest glimpse into the author's heart and that is so rare. To broach this kind of life-altering subject geared towards teens and young adults with a grace and ease is talent in its purest form. Though I still have many questions and uncertainties, I feel a peace with how this book ended. I think that speaks volumes when a book can so mix things up so drastically, yet I still love it and I'm not throwing a fit or mad. I feel a peace about it all, though I'm still quite sad and my heart is breaking for certain characters.
I liked that we got to know Christian more in this book. I certainly look forward to finding out what will happen with Jeffery. College should be interesting, and of course, I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Tucker! He stole my heart in the first book and has an iron grip on it even now, love him!!
I loved this book, can't say enough good things about and I'll never do it justice with my ramblings. It was amazing though, and worth every penny to go out and buy! This is a wonderful series, this was a wonderful second installment and I truly can not wait for the next book.
on January 19, 2012
A most touching follow up in the Unearthly series, proving Cynthia has went far over the top in her creativity and writing! Hallowed will melt your hearts, and leave you yearning for more. This is such a great series!
As Clara is trying to regain normalcy her life from everything that became of her 'purpose' and the fires, not to mention the run in with Samjeeza, things are quite well. Things are going great with Tucker, and staying friends with Christian are going well to. It's when she realizes that her purpose must not be finished that she starts to get worried.
It starts with more visions. What scares her the most out of it all, is that Tucker isn't there. She messed up everything the last time to save him, and this time, he isn't in them. The feeling of the vision is sadness. Christian is there, comforting her. She is more than scared of the outcome of these visions, and rightly so, doesn't want to share what she suspects with Tucker.
It's when Samjeeza makes his grand appearance that things get even rockier. He starts to watch her outside of school. Christian can sense her fears and insecurities,and he is there for her. It's quite sweet really. The way he just waits just in case she needs him. Having him do this though, opens her eyes to the truth of the future and how things will always be. She has to make huge decisions, As well as find out that her vision was far wrong, it was about someone else entirely. Someone even closer to her, and she even has another new visitor along the way. Someone she would never expect.
on March 25, 2012
I am left with an impression of this book that differs from many glowing reviews, so here I share my opinion for the sake of balance. For me, this story did not really come to life until I was at least two-thirds of the way through it, and the only part I really liked was that last third (the end). Though that ending be sad or bittersweet, it was the only part that rang true for me and drew me in at all. I'm sorry, but with that ratio I cannot honestly label it a "good" or "excellent" book.
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.
on August 11, 2012
I love this series. Have you read Unearthly yet? If you have then you know exactly why I am so in love with it. If you haven't what are you waiting for? DO IT ALREADY!
Ok, now that that's out of my system, I have to tell you that Hallowed blew me away. After reading Unearthly, I knew that this would turn out to be one of my all-time favorite series. It has a very character-driven plot, so we see a lot of personal development and emotions. Clara's family is going through a tremendously difficult time, and Clara herself is still trying to figure out what being an angel blood means.
We learn a lot about the angel bloods in this novel, but I have a sneaking suspicion that there is more to come--particularly regarding Samjeeza. The angel lore that Cynthia Hand has developed fascinates me, and I can't wait to learn more about it.
As with Unearthly, the romance is my favorite part of Hallowed. I think Cynthia Hand may have written one of the best love triangles of all time. As much as I loved Clara and Tucker in Unearthly (they were so cute!), I now feel that Clara belongs with Christian. Clara and Christian are just perfect for each other. They are a match in every way, and he seems to be the only person in the world who can truly comfort Clara regarding her family's unfortunate circumstances.
Hallowed is full of romance and mystery. It is the perfect novel for fans of love triangles. It is hard to pick a boy for Clara because they both really have a lot to offer. At the same time Cynthia Hand does poke fun at the love triangle situation that Clara is in, which makes it feel more realistic and not so cliché. Hallowed is also my favorite angel book of all time. It has a lot to offer in terms of romance, angel lore, and mystery. When I finished reading, I was left with a happy, content feeling because I loved reading about the characters and living in their world for a bit. I'm highly anticipating the next novel in the Unearthly series, and I seriously hope that there are plans for a spin-off series because I know I won't be ready to say goodbye.
on January 24, 2012
Clara Gardner is not sure whether the nightmares she's been having are just dreams or whether they're visions. All she knows for sure is that they fill her with incredible sorrow and the only thing that helps is Christian's presence.
Unsure of just what her purpose is, or if she even has one, Clara is desperate for answers. Answers no one seems to have or is willing to share with her. But without answers and without a clear purpose, Clara feels lost.
Especially since she keeps feeling drawn to Christian even though her heart belongs to Tucker. And while Christian may be the one she should be with, Tucker is the one she wants to be with.
But if her dreams are a sign of what is to come, then she has much bigger things to worry about than who to choose. Because if they are real, then she will lose someone she cares about.
And it may just mean she won't have a choice to make after all.
Cynthia Hand's sophomore novel, Hallowed, is a gorgeously written, incredibly moving and absolutely captivating sequel that will keep readers on edge as they try to interpret the meaning of Clara's dreams and will break their hearts when they learn the truth.
This enchanting and heartrending story will invite readers back to Jackson, Wyoming, where Clara Gardner struggles with discovering her purpose, understanding just what her actions during the fire mean for her future, being in love with one boy and yet feeling drawn to another, and uncovering the reason why one particular Black Wing is so interested in her and her mother.
Hallowed picks up shortly after the events in Unearthly. Everyone, and especially Clara, is still trying to recover and figure out what will happen next. And while Clara wants everything to return to the way things were, everything is about to change. And not necessarily for the better.
As Clara tries to find answers, sort out her feelings for Christian and Tucker, practice using her powers and keep her distance from Samjeeza, time is running out. And if she can't quickly figure out who she needs to keep safe, then her nightmares may come true.
Author Cynthia Hand has written a beautifully touching and suspenseful story, filled with surprises - both good and bad - heartbreak, loss and love. Her writing makes it easy to get absorbed into the world she created. And her characters are the perfect mix of wonderfully flawed, flawless, lovable, detestable, strong, not so strong, brave, loyal, selfless, frustrating and incredibly determined.
Hallowed is a simply amazing follow-up to Unearthly that existing fans and readers new to the series will immediately connect to and fall in love with.
on June 10, 2012
Hallowed is a beautifully written story with fully-developed characters you care about. It took me awhile to get to this book, but once I picked it up I could not put it down. I won't re-tell the story but suffice it to say that I felt for everyone in this story, from Clara to Tucker to Christian...and even all the way to Angela's mother! The author created vivid scenes - especially at the end of the book, and I actually was teary-eyed. And the story did NOT suffer from "second book syndrome" - there was a lot going on throughout, including unexpected twists and turns. I can't wait till the next book comes out and this time I'll read it the day I get it! A great book for adults but I would not hesitate to recommend it to my 13 year old niece.
on January 18, 2012
I picked up Hallowed right after listening to the Unearthly audiobook. Never in my life did I imagine I was going to be taken through such an emotional roller coaster. Major tissue paper alert with this book! You have been warned.
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.