Author: Cynthia Hand
Published: January 1st 2012
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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.
Having read Unearthly last year and quite liking it, I had high expectations before going into Hallowed. I was a bit scared, not going to lie. The ending of Unearthly left me in a good place, but I had a feeling that not everything will stay the same in Hallowed and I was right. Cynthia Hand took Clara’s story to places, whether good or bad, is left for the readers to decide. For me, it was a mix of both.
“There's nothing more inspiring than the complexity and beauty of the human heart.”
Much to my pleasure, I was happy to see that the clipped writing that bothered me at the beginning (and throughout) Unearthly had developed into a more flowing and smooth style. I am aware that I sometimes write in morse codes, yes, but it’s not something I really wish to see in books. I am a huge fan of Maggie Stiefvater’s, Laini Taylor’s magical writing styles and I appreciate the easy-going and well-paced writing of Richelle Mead, for instance, as well. Clipped writing doesn’t really help one when forming connections with the characters.
The other thing that bothered me in Unearthly was the lack of world building, but we got tons of it in Hallowed. I enjoyed getting to know the specifics of the angel mythology in this certain world and discovering it all with Clara made me realize that I have come to care about her, a great deal at that. We get to see the past happenings of Clara’s mom and learn about the history of Clara and Jeffery’s parents, meet other angel-bloods in addition to the ones we already know etc. I appreciated these aspects of Hallowed a lot. I also loved the surprise reveal about Jeffery—I had a whole different story conjured up in my head for him and the forest fire.
Then we reach the parts that I didn’t enjoy. See, basically everything that I found lacking or didn’t like in Unearthly was turned into a positive in Hallowed and vice versa. I enjoyed the relationships Clara formed in the first book, but in this one? It was a hot, hot mess.
While Clara isn’t a main character who runs between her love interests (you can argue with me on this, but it’s clear that she loves one of them and cares about the other), but her bond with Christian truly bothered me. Not so much the bond, but… him. I get that he cares about her, but he was always there and not giving her space. I felt claustrophobic with him being around the corner everywhere. There wasn’t much of Tucker. Then there’s Angela, always pushing her thoughts on everyone and taking leadership (though I do appreciate her being a good friend to Clara). Also, it makes me sad that Wendy isn’t much on the picture either. This book was more about the angel-bloods, I understand, but it wouldn’t have hurt to see the humans a little more.
All in all, Cynthia Hand is a great young adult author and when I’m able to tolerate Christian Prescott (and his overly annoying presence) a little more, I’ll pick up Boundless, which I planned on reading right after. Well, yeah. The world-building and plot developed a great deal in my eyes. However, the characters were what let me down this time. There isn’t anything wrong with self-doubt once in a while though. I can’t wait to follow this series to the end and see how everything works out.
Overall rating: 4.0 out of 5.0