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Passionaries (The Blessed) Paperback – January 6, 2015
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From School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—This second installment in Hurley's supernatural Catholic-themed trilogy finds three teens who have been reincarnated as saints grieving separately over the loss of their surprisingly shared beloved, Sebastian. There's Cecilia, the gritty musician; Lucy, the socialite; and Agnes, the good girl. The teens are dealing with the fame and notoriety of possibly being reincarnated martyred saints, when they learn that someone has stolen Sebastian's heart with the intent of making it a religious relic. Both the girls and their nemesis, psychiatrist Dr. Frey, want the heart. Hurley's premise is interesting. Unfortunately, the world-building and background information doesn't quite gel. New readers will feel like they've tuned into a movie halfway through and may struggle to be invested. While the protagonists are distinct and capable of being formidable heroines, the heavy-handed messages of self-worth, belief, and faith sadly come off as cliché. "Ciphers" like Frey, people in powerful positions bent on manipulating the populace, are indistinguishable mustache-twirling baddies. Dialogue can waffle between trite or melodramatic, with an occasional swear word used. The emotional weight of the conclusion's stand-off is overshadowed by cartoonish, Matrix-like moves and gore. Loose threads and characters still in danger pave the way for book three. A strictly additional purchase where there are fans of Blessed (S & S, 2012).—Danielle Serra, Cliffside Park Public Library, NJ --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Cecilia, the singer; Lucy, the It girl; and Agnes, the Catholic school student, are trying to process the events of the past month. Mysterious Sebastian, who called them together for a heavenly vocation, is now dead. Supplicants follow them as saints. And Dr. Frey, psychiatrist and mortal enemy, is determined to join forces with the Catholic Church to eliminate them. Let the bloody chaos begin. Book two of the Blessed series follows the girls, now on their own, as they try to figure out their relevance, protect themselves, and keep their faith in Sebastian strong. This gory offering is no simple bridge book in a trilogy. There are professions of faith, horrifying murders, and the continuing mystery of their mission. Hurley, also author of the Ghostgirl series, has taken on a huge job, but for the most part, she handles her multinarrated saga well—though at times it seems as if no one will be left alive. The ending is particularly disturbing, but those who have made it this far through the grit, death, and incense will await the redemption of the final chapter. Grades 9-12. --Ilene Cooper --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
I like the title, and I believe it is quite fitting for the book. A minor character in the book defines what passionaries are. They are some kind of books related to the Catholic religion. I don't know if that's fictitious or not (I did try searching for it and found nothing).
The cover is very gorgeous as are all of the covers of Tonya Hurley's books. The cover fits the book especially with the guitars and the sword.
The world building was a bit hit and miss. There were times when it seemed like something like this could happen. I mean, who says we can't have modern day saints? However, there were also times when it seemed a bit too unreal such as when people were getting murdered. For example, in one scene, the girls get attacked so they end up killing their attackers. They don't get arrested because there's no evidence. Surely they would've caught them on CCTV or someone would've seen the girls with blood all over them. Plus, there'd be so much forensic evidence. I also felt that sometimes there was sometimes some fight scenes just for the sake of having a fight scene.
The pacing started off slow but eventually find a decent pace. The pacing isn't as good as the first book in the series, but it still held my attention.
As for the plot, I don't really know what's going on. At least in the first book, it was the girls finding out they were saints. However, after reading this book, I don't know what's going on! I realize the girls are saints and there are some people that don't want the world to know that, but what I don't know is the why. Why do these people not want the world to know these girls are saints? I felt that the answer is just not very clear. Passionaries did have a plot twist that I never saw coming. There's also a big cliff hanger at the end of the story as to make way for the third book in the series.
The characters were all fabulously written. The girls are stronger in this book, and their saintly personalities show through. Saying that, Cecelia is more hardcore in this book then in the first one. At least I thought so. Dr. Frey is still very cunning as ever in Passionaries. One thing that did irk me was that Hurley brought in the character of Finn. To me, Finn is a totally pointless character. I really didn't see the relevance in bringing him into the story.
There were times when the dialogue did seem a bit awkward although this was mostly in the beginning of the book. I felt that the meeting between Dr. Frey and some of his associates at the beginning of the book had painful dialogue. It just didn't seem to flow naturally. Luckily, the problem is quickly solved. There is some swearing in Passionaries as well as graphic violence.
All in all, Passionaries fell short of my expectations. It was a little bit too confusing, and the world building just didn't seem all that realistic. I do want to read the next book in the series because I've invested so much time in this series. However, the expected publication is some time in 2015, so I may give it a miss since I tend to forget things that happened in books after so long.
I'd recommend this book to those aged 17+ who want to know more about Lucy, Cecelia, and Agnes.
(This review can also be found on my blog).
The girls discover that Sebastian's heart is missing, and unbeknownst to them, Dr. Frey has it. Their pursuit is to find it. Dr. Frey and the World's Power Brokers want the girls and their message of Faith destroyed. Cardinal DeCarlo, Advisor to the Pope, visits Dr. Frey. The girls must be quickly lured to their destruction. The Pope, unaware of DeCarlo's duplicity, tells him that he is sending an investigator to test the girls' authenticity.
When one of the girls goes missing, the other two follow Dr. Frey and are able to locate her. They arrive just in time to find the Cardinal preparing to torture her. Not allowing the Cardinal the satisfaction of destroying her, our Saint, in a vivid and breathtaking way, and according to her Destiny, destroys herself. The Investigator arrives; DeCarlo is taken away, and the two saints, while mourning their friend, know they too, are moving towards their own destinies. Dr. Frey has once again escaped. He has been busy, intervening in the lives of Bill and Jesse. Will Dr. Frey escape in the final book of The Blessed Trilogy or will the World be saved from Evil? We look eagerly forward to finding out.
The Author's description of these very real time girls aka saints, and their thoughts about their true identities, and the exciting yet frightening ride to an inevitable end - or so it seems, continues to carry us along.
Anyways, I love how the characters really developed in this installment. I enjoyed reading about how they cope as they come to terms with their fate/destiny. They all seem relateable in a way. Although I was very sad that Sebastian was gone :(.
Overall, I thought that this was such an exciting book! If I had a lot of free time on my hands, I think I would’ve devoured this book in a day or two :) Ms. Tonya Hurley did such a good job with this book. I felt that it definitely lived up to the first installment of the book. Such an amazing read!
** This book was given to me in exchange of an honest opinion**