Release Date: January 17, 2012
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.
What I really like about this book is Clara's voice; she's got a sense of humor and a great personality that draws you into the story. The fire from Unearthly was only the beginning; now that her purpose from the vision she had as an angel-blood has passed--her purpose that she did not fulfill--Clara's future seems much less certain. It's an exciting, and nerve-wracking, journey for Clara and readers as she discovers more about her angel-blood status and tries to unravel the secrets around her.
It's Clara's voice and the story that hooked me into the book! The fantasy genre of YA has been overrun with vampires, werewolves and forbidden love for quite some time now, but angels and a story arc other than one of forbidden love is quite refreshing! Hallowed is definitely well-written and at a few points Clara even gently teases the more melodramatic characteristics of the Twilight series and books of similar nature that are now prevalent in YA fiction.
I felt that the actual plot itself wasn't very long. It probably could have been summed up with about half the pages used and readers would have still gotten the general gist of what goes on. However, while some may potentially deem Hallowed a "slow" book compared to it's predecessor, it's often the journey and not just the end results that count. Clara had a lot to learn and figure out about herself--and her purpose--if it had all be presented to her on a silver platter, she hardly would have learned anything! Clara's journey has only just begun, and as readers will see in Hallowed, there is still much for Clara to learn--about her abilities, her future and her past! As they say our experiences make us who we are, and if everything's done for us, we wouldn't have much left to experience!
That said, I did feel that a certain dream sequence did repeat itself several times without Clara (or readers) learning anything more. What made it sound so repetitive, I think, was that in the middle of the novel the dream/vision was presented with only minor variations on wording and sequence of events. The dream was (this), then Clara thought and felt (this). Not much else was learned from the sequence and Clara did not even brainstorm a new interpretation of the dream/vision. This was repeated a few times--adding little but a few extra pages to the novel. It was only at those points that I felt the novel could have picked up the pace a little bit.
Lastly, I have to admit that I didn't really feel it for Clara and Tuck until the very end. Although Clara said she loved him, I didn't get that feeling from her, during her interactions with him. It was as if that spark and that chemistry wasn't entirely there anymore. There were many points in the novel that I felt there was much stronger chemistry between Clara and Christian and Tuck just didn't seem as strong of a character. This last point could be the reason why Clara spent a great deal of the book seemingly bouncing back and forth between the two--she couldn't really make up her mind about her feelings for the longest time. I can't say much more for fear that I might spoil something, but it'll be interesting to see what other readers think about the leading men in this novel!
Hallowed was not as strong as I thought it would be, but even with the reservations I had, I had a good time reading it! The writing is great and Clara's voice and humor is a breath of fresh air! Fans of Unearthly will no doubt enjoy Hallowed, which is still a relatively creative and very enjoyable novel, especially in the fantasy genre that is now dominated by vampires and werewolves!
Overall: 4 out of 5
Plot: 3.50 stars
Characters: 4 stars
Writing: 5 stars
Cover: 5 stars (love the embossed, silver (shiny) lettering and the feather woven in!)