Yes! I have been waiting MONTHS to get my hands on Hallowed! Unearthly was my first Angel/Demon book and I was so captivated by it that I couldn't put it down! I just about passed out when I saw that Harper Collins was offering the second book in the series(Hallowed) as a galley and then I pretty much DID pass out when they approved me to review it! WOOO! Ya HC! You my home-pub-co...hmmm...that sounds less appealing than Home-boy...I'll have to work on it. Anyways, from cover (which is gorgeous by the way) to close, this book was worth waiting for. I can tell you guys now, you should definitely pre-order it because it comes out on the 17th of this month!
Hallowed starts a few weeks after Unearthly left off. Clara is still struggling with the aftermath of defying her purpose and dealing with the strange new dreams she's been having. The dreams seem oddly like her visions of her purpose, only those visions always came during the day. The dreams are terrifying. All Clara knows is that someone she loves is dead, and Tucker isn't ever in the dreams...dun dun DUN! Seriously, this is how a sequel is supposed to be. It's got the same feel and fabulousness as the first, but at the same time takes the story and the characters to an entirely new level. I am so thrilled that Hallowed is as good as Unearthly. I've read quite a few Fallen Angel/Demon books since I first picked up Unearthly, and I still love this series the best. Cynthia Hand writes these characters to be so amazingly lifelike it's as if they literally fly out of the pages at you.
Clara is such an amazing lead. Despite being involved in one of the most trying love-triangles of all time, she doesn't whine or go into fits about how she's not pretty enough to be loved by these two gorgeous guys or do any of the usual dull and irritating things that I've come to expect from the stereotypical YA female main character. Instead, we get this strong young woman who is struggling to come to terms with her choices and her future...exactly what a lot of young girls are faced with themselves...true, most girls aren't figuring out if what they're doing is in God's plan, but we all have tough choices to make and I think that Clara's confusion and indecision make her really easy to relate to. And I will say this about the love triangle. Though I typically don't enjoy them, this Tucker/Clara/Christian thing works SO well! In fact, it might be the best love triangle ever. It's so hard to find two male love interests who pull at your heart strings equally. But Cynthia does it, and boy does she do it well! Tucker is so warm, caring, and just plain understanding despite all of the crazyness that Clara has brought to his life. Christian isn't quite as warm, but he's part of Clara's world, he knows how she feels because he's had the same experiences, and he's there for her even when she's pushing him away. Even I don't know who to choose for her and usually I feel like shaking the main character for even thinking about leaving (Insert Typical YA Good Guy Here)...Seriously...Unearthly has one of the best love triangles EVER.
Clara and the boys weren't the only fabulous characters in this book. Pretty much every character that had a decent role in the first book is back in Unearthly and just grows and grows as you learn more about them. Clara's mom,Wendy, Angela, even some of Clara's teachers each have their moments to shine and I absolutely adored getting to know them all better. I especially loved learning more about Clara's mom and dad. How they met, how they fell in love...*sigh* so romantic! It was such a shock to finally meet Clara's father and he couldn't have been different from what I had thought in the first book. It was fabulous to see him interact in Clara's environment and completely shake things up. Jeff is starting to worry me and we finally get to see what he was up to during the night when Clara failed at her purpose. I have a sneaking suspicion about where Jeff is headed, but I'm crossing my fingers and hoping for the best for Clara's sake.
And it's not just the characters that are well written.The entire book is filled with some of the best writing I've seen in ages. Somehow, Cynthia manages to take what could be an extremely religiously tense subject and makes it tangible, believable, and most of all, comfortable. The writing style is completely beautiful. It's so moving and flowing that you stop reading the words on the page and just live in the story and that is truly the best thing an author can let you do. I felt so connected to the characters and the plot and everything. It's been a while since I found a book that actually made me FEEL right along with the main character and I was totally in awe of Cynthia's ability to encompass all the complicated emotions that came from such a tough plot. And speaking of the plot, I really enjoyed the pacing. There was just the right combination of emotional problems, action, swoon-worthy moments, and earth-shattering revelations to make the book awesome. Like I said earlier, I didn't even feel like I was reading half the time, just watching an intensely awesome movie or something.
I've gotta tell you, I'm practically dying right now because I'm trying to keep this review spoiler free. There is so much information you get about the angel-bloods, and about Clara herself and about the entire Gardner family! The entire book revolves around a twist that I CAN'T TELL YOU...*locks mouth and throws away key* muhh muhhh muhh muhhhh ma.....*searches frantically for key and unlocks*...no seriously...You won't even believe this book. It takes all of the plot from the first book and just transforms it to something entirely new and unbelievable. Some stuff you won't see coming from miles away and others you will be crazy excited that they are FINALLY happening. That's all I will say on the matter. I can't wait to see where Cynthia takes Clara and the gang and I will be hanging on her every word. My new goal is to get Hardcover copies of both Unearthly and Hallowed for my Keeper Shelf.
Hallowed satisfies the requirements of several of the challenges I'm participating in this year. I think I will use it towards: