Monday, March 17, 2014

Review: Hallowed by Cynthia Hand

Title: Hallowed (Unearthly #2)
Author: Cynthia Hand
Published: January 1st 2012
Add It: Goodreads
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository

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
Stars: ★★★★

Meet the author

Website Facebook Twitter Goodreads


  1. My best friend and fellow blogger Janhvi and I had decided to buddy read this series sometime back and while she did read the first two books in the series, I never got to it. I'm so glad you're enjoying it though. I hope it ends well for you. I'm rather curious to figure out this clipped writing phenomena which is sounding very interesting to me. Nice review!

    Sarika @ The Readdicts

  2. Oh, I liked this too. Still haven't read the last one though, so good luck with that ;) ALSO--I don't think Clara runs between her love interests either. Great review!

    Jessica @ Rabid Reads

  3. Lovely review, Siiri. I've been wary of reading this series because of the love triangle but I do have all 3 books. I should probably get to it soon. I can tell that I'll like Tucker more from your description of Christian. He sounds really annoying and like someone I actually know. I'm glad that this was better than the first book for you! Fab review! :)

  4. I still need to read this book, but it's been so long since I read Unearthly. I've forgotten a lot of what happened in the story. One day I'll try and finish this trilogy :) Great review Siiri! I'm glad you enjoyed it!

    Janina @ Synchronized Reading

  5. I don't get the whole Christian thing. I fucking do not like him! He was so stalkerish and hovering and cligning. Dude, give the girl some space!!! And where was Tucker???? I never thought Clara liked Christian and I hated that feeling that Cynthia was trying to force him down my throat and make me like him. (I just had a visual of that part in Finding Nemo where the bird is trying to eat the fish and they won't go down) I do really like this series though.
    If you read book 3, beware because Cynthia still tries to force feed us Christian...I just want more Tucker...

  6. I have this series, but just haven't wanted much YA PNR in so long. If it makes you feel better, my friends all liked Tucker more than Christian. I'm sorry the relationships and Angela bugged out, but am glad you were happy with the works-building.
    Thanks for the review, Siiri!

  7. I'm so glad that you finally decided to read the sequel and what's more that you LIKED it!! Yay for my little angels. While angle books mostly disappoint me, those that I love are always kept close to my heart. This series is one of those. Even though you're right, it's not flawless, the lack of the world-building did bothered me in the first book but luckily we got it here. I missed Tucker a lot here. Great review, Siiri :)

  8. WHAT?! You didn't like Christian?! You... you... I can't believe you! /runs off to one corner, crying uncontrollably

    Ahem. *Composes self* It's funny that you didn't like Christian at all in this book :P I actually fell for him in this one and started wanting Clara to end up with him. He just appeals to me more for some reason, and I kind of like the fact that his meeting with Clara... all of it... was pre-determined. It's weird because I actually HATE seeing that in books, but it worked to me so much here.

    Agree with the world-building, it really solidified itself in this installment. I remember reading a bunch of angel books before picking up this series, and they were all mediocre compared to this. It's really one of the more well-thought out ones.

    Great review, Siiri!!

    Faye at The Social Potato Reviews

  9. I remember loving Tucker from the very beginning, so like you I did at times get irked with Christian's character, but I think by then end of this book, he really had grown on me! I also remember this book thoroughly breaking my heart! But I have to agree Hand really did an immense job with this follow up book, I adored Unearthly, so giving us Hallowed really was something else! I can't wait to see how you get on with Boundless! Lovely review as always!

  10. As a firm team Tucker fan, I have to agree with you on how pushy Christian was. He definitely needed to give Clara more space, and I felt like this book tried to ramp up the love triangle, but I never really saw it that way. Glad you still enjoyed it overall. Can't wait to hear what you think of Boundless!

  11. I totally agree with you, Siiri, the relationships were a hot mess, and they continue to be in the next book unfortunately. I read this on a plane coming back home from a vacation and couldn't help the tears pouring down my face! I think this was the most emotional book in the series for me. Can't wait to see what you think of how things end. Great review, Siiri! :)

  12. Glad that some of the things that bothered you in Unearthly were remedied in this one Siiri! I agree with you on Christian, since I was such a fan of Tucker in the first book, the overabundance of Christian in this second book was a tad frustrating, I just wanted Clara and Tucker to be together! I'll definitely be interested to see what you think of the last book:)

  13. I actually did like Christian, but I am and will always be solidly on Team Tucker! I totally see what you're getting at with your review, in that the relationships were a hot mess. I guess they were, but Hallowed really resonated with me. The emotions of everything that happened just really got to me!

    Great review <33

  14. i liked Unearthly but couldn't get into this one when I tried, but great to hear that the writing style has smoothed out and emotions were all there

  15. I've yet to read this book but I've heard great things (and not so great). Angel books are probably my least favourite paranormal next to mermaids. It seems like this one had middle book syndrome, but I hope the next is better. Thanks for the review Siiri!

  16. I definitely agree that the love triangle in this series was a bit meh. To be honest, personally, I wasn't on either Team lol- more like Team I Don't Give a Crap. *shrugs*

  17. Ohh, so glad that this book didn't suffer from second-book-syndrome. It seems like the author really took all the reviews into consideration and upped her ante, so wonderful to see. Not really a fan of angel books these days, but I'm glad you really enjoyed it Siiri! xx

  18. I read Unearthly last year and I cannot say I was moved. I enjoyed it and found it to be entertaining but that was it. I did like Tucker though. Tucker. *happy sigh*.. and it's a pity that he doesn't have a larger presence in this book. Although I AM glad to hear that there is more world building in this one. I found it to be weak in the first one and because I am a curious human being I wasn't very happy about not getting all the juicy bits :P

    Lovely Review, Siiri!!! :)

    Rashika @ The Social Potato

  19. I'm glad your enjoying this series, despite your feelings for one of the characters :). The world building definitely gets stronger as the series continues. I'm very curious about your reaction to the final book!

  20. This was one of my fave series about angels (before I read Angelfall), I agree with you about few things that were lacking, but I sill enjoyed reading it. I was team Tucker all the way!:)

  21. I am so excited about this series! The plot sounds good. Very disappointed to hear that there is not as much world building in this one and that the author seemed to have taken the story in a bit of a different direction. But I am curious now.