Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Review: Hallowed by Cynthia Hand

Title: Hallowed
Author: Cynthia Hand
Series: Unearthly #2
Pages: 320
Publisher: Harper Collins
Format: e-Galley
Genre: Paranormal YA
Source: Harper Collins via Net Galley

For months part-angel Clara Gardner trained to face the raging forest fire from her visions and rescue the alluring and mysterious Christian Prescott from the blaze. But nothing could prepare her for the fateful decisions she would be forced to make that day, or the startling revelation that her purpose—the task she was put on earth to accomplish—is not as straightforward as she thought. Now, torn between her increasingly complicated feelings for Christian and her love for her boyfriend, Tucker, Clara struggles to make sense of what she was supposed to do the day of the fire. And, as she is drawn further into the world of part angels and the growing conflict between White Wings and Black Wings, Clara learns of the terrifying new reality that she must face: Someone close to her 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

My Review:
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* 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.
I give Hallowed 5 Keys. It was such a great book. It doesn't quite stand alone because you need to read the first book to understand a lot of the intricacies of the plot, but it certainly holds its own against any other book in the genre. It was a totally kick-butt sequel that is just as good, if not better than the first. I swear Cynthia Hand has completely dominated and then ruined the Angel/Demon genre for me.  It seems like no other YA book on the same subject can even begin to compare. Maybe I will be lucky enough to find an adult series that captivates me the same way that the Unearthly series does. If you haven't started this series, do yourself a favor and run out and buy Unearthly right now. Then you will be ready for Hallowed's release day on the 17th. You still have time if you do it now!

Hallowed satisfies the requirements of several of the challenges I'm participating in this year. I think I will use it towards:


  1. Wonderful review Andra I really enjoyed this one too and yes the characters are amazing and the main reason I enjoy these so much. I can't wiat for books 3. I'm especially curious what boy Cynthia will make Clara choose! :D

  2. Couldn't agree more Andra! I typically get really frustrated when a love triangle comes into play, but this one works oh-so well and has me all in a frenzy due to all the tension. Clara is one of my favorite YA heroines, I just love everything about her. So glad you love this series as much as I do!

  3. Loved this review, you told me everything I needed to know about this to know I will probably really enjoy this one. I hadn't heard about this before now. Thanks for the heads up.

  4. I hated this book so bad after I finish it mostly because of the thing Clara and Christian did. I'm still upset but I finally realized I shouldn't hate the whole book just because of one stupid mistake characters made.