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Review: Hallowed

Hallowed by Cynthia Hand was released in the U.S. on January 17, 2012 in hardcover and eBook formats. It is currently available to order online at Amazon and Barnes & Noble in both formats.

Published by HarperTeen, the print edition is 416 pages.

Hallowed is the sequel to Unearthly, author Cynthia Hand’s 2011 debut.

***

Goodreads Description:

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.

Described by Richelle Mead as “utterly captivating,” Unearthly received outstanding reviews, garnered accolades from New York Times bestselling authors, and was named an Indie Next Pick. In this heart-wrenching sequel, Cynthia Hand expertly captures the all-consuming joy of first love—and the agony of loss. This beautifully woven tale will appeal to fans of Lauren Kate, Becca Fitzpatrick, and Aprilynne Pike.

***

Clara Gardner is not sure whether the nightmares she’s been having are just dreams or whether they’re visions. All she knows for sure is that they fill her with incredible sorrow and the only thing that helps is Christian’s presence.

Unsure of just what her purpose is, or if she even has one, Clara is desperate for answers. Answers no one seems to have or is willing to share with her. But without answers and without a clear purpose, Clara feels lost.

Especially since she keeps feeling drawn to Christian even though her heart belongs to Tucker. And while Christian may be the one she should be with, Tucker is the one she wants to be with.

But if her dreams are a sign of what is to come, then she has much bigger things to worry about than who to choose. Because if they are real, then she will lose someone she cares about.

And it may just mean she won’t have a choice to make after all.

***

Cynthia Hand’s sophomore novel, Hallowed, is a gorgeously written, incredibly moving and absolutely captivating sequel that will keep readers on edge as they try to interpret the meaning of Clara’s dreams and will break their hearts when they learn the truth.

This enchanting and heartrending story will invite readers back to Jackson, Wyoming, where Clara Gardner struggles with discovering her purpose, understanding just what her actions during the fire mean for her future, being in love with one boy and yet feeling drawn to another, and uncovering the reason why one particular Black Wing is so interested in her and her mother.

Hallowed picks up shortly after the events in Unearthly. Everyone, and especially Clara, is still trying to recover and figure out what will happen next. And while Clara wants everything to return to the way things were, everything is about to change. And not necessarily for the better.

As Clara tries to find answers, sort out her feelings for Christian and Tucker, practice using her powers and keep her distance from Samjeeza, time is running out. And if she can’t quickly figure out who she needs to keep safe, then her nightmares may come true.

Author Cynthia Hand has written a beautifully touching and suspenseful story, filled with surprises – both good and bad – heartbreak, loss and love. Her writing makes it easy to get absorbed into the world she created. And her characters are the perfect mix of wonderfully flawed, flawless, lovable, detestable, strong, not so strong, brave, loyal, selfless, frustrating and incredibly determined.

Hallowed is a simply amazing follow-up to Unearthly that existing fans and readers new to the series will immediately connect to and fall in love with.

Reviewer gives this book…

On a personal note:

I always find it the most difficult to write reviews for books that were heartbreaking. When I read books that just reach in and squeeze my heart so much so that I can barely breathe and where my heart just aches for the characters, it takes me ages to try to express just what I thought about the book.

Well, that’s what happened with Hallowed. I finished it over a week ago and I’ve been trying to sit down and write my review, but every single time I do, I tear up. Just thinking about the events that unfolded and just how much they affected me, makes it nearly impossible to think, let alone write a coherent review.

I knew this book was going to be sad. I read the description and was worried about just what would happen. I thought I’d prepared myself. But I got caught up in the story. I was enchanted by the writing. And even though I knew something bad was coming, I wasn’t ready. Not for what happened. Not for how beautifully the author wrote about it.

And I did not expect to be as affected as I was. As I still am.

Hallowed is sad and beautiful and breathtaking. It completely changed my feelings about the two male protagonists – Christian and Tucker. It introduced me to a new character that I absolutely adore – I won’t say his name, but it is a he, and he is gorgeous and he is quite the surprise. And it made me even more suspicious of another.

I forgot just how much I loved Clara between the time when I read Unearthly and now. I forgot how independent she was. I forgot just how much she wanted to do what was right, but also wanted to do what was right for her. Hallowed reminded me about exactly who she was and why I loved her and it made me love her even more.

And it was also nice to see just how selfless she could be. How her need to protect those she loved was greater than her need to be happy. And how strong she could be when she had to be. By fighting her purpose, by standing up to the darkness and by being willing to take comfort and strength from those willing to give it even if it was from someone she didn’t want to lean on.

I was worried when I started reading Hallowed that I would be totally lost because it had been quite a while since I read Unearthly. Over a year. But the author did an amazing job in filling in those gaps, adding in the details from the first book subtly and only when they were needed. So, I did not feel lost. At all. And I was not confused at any point during the read. Though now, more than ever, I want to go back and read Unearthly.

I love the world the author created with the White Wings and the Black Wings. I love the idea of having a purpose. I love the different types of angel-bloods that she included in her book.

And I love that she puts her characters in difficult situations, forces them to make the tough choices, allows them to make the wrong ones, gives only some of them enough strength to pull through, and is willing to break their hearts and her readers’ hearts when she has to.

This series is one that I can and will read again and again. And most definitely again.

***

I actually have three favorite passages. One is way too spoiler-y and the other one is kind of hot. But this one just made me grin:

“You must think I’m an idiot,” he says then.

I look up, startled. There are a lot of words I’d use to describe Christian Prescott: mystery, enigma, conundrum, destiny, terrifying, and, well, just plain hot, if I’m being honest, but the word idiot has never crossed my mind. Except maybe that one time at prom.

Book trailer for Hallowed:

This review is based on a printed ARC I received from the publisher, HarperTeen, in exchange for my honest review.

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