REVIEW: Hallowed by Cynthia Hand

Pub. Date: January 17th 2012
Publisher: HarperTeen
Pages: 403
Readership: Young adult
Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal
Rating: ★★★★

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.

It’s a bittersweet feeling, when a new book in a series you love is released. On one hand, you cannot wait to get your hands on it and devour it. On the other hand, you don’t want it to end because you’ll be left with a sense of nothingness as you wait the year or more for the next installment. This is exactly how I feel with Hallowed. How I feel right this second as I type this review. (According to GoodReads there will be a third, so.)

I will keep this spoiler free, fyi, so if it’s a little ambiguous in parts that is on purpose because I don’t want to ruin the book for anyone.

Let me start off by saying I was weary of how this would go. Sometimes, sequels never quite measure up to what the first book was, even if the series is a lengthy one. That is especially true for the YA paranormal romance genre. Boy, was I blown away. Ms. Hand – not that you’re reading this – let me give you a round of applause, a standing O and maybe a big hug. Actually I’d like to shake you a bit as well for giving me all the feels and making me cry like a baby at 3:30 in the morning. But I digress.

Hallowed, as I said, gave me all the feels. One second I was smiling from ear to ear at how adorable and realistic Clara and Tucker’s young romance was then I was aching and sad at all the weight Clara has on her shoulders – the looming death of someone she loves very much. It’s hard being a 17 year old girl with the weight of all her problems plus the knowledge of a loved one dying. It broke my heart for her.

I wasn’t entirely sure how the Christian/Clara/Tucker triangle was going to unfold. I honestly adore both boys, and both relationships Clara has with each individual. I have never been so torn between two relationships in a book in my life. The love Tucker and Clara have for each other is so real and raw and strong that it’s hard not to root for them. But then there’s Christian; an angel-blood and definitely part of Clara’s purpose that it’s hard not to root for him too. But in the end, I can say while a little sad for one of the parties, I am content with the outcome. Clara for sure made the right choice in my mind.

In Hallowed you also get to meet many more angel-bloods, many more characters to fall in love with. And boy did I ever. There’s Billy – Clara’s mothers old friend from way back, and countless others; an entire congregation!

Hallowed is full of twists, turns and moments that make you go whaaaaaat? Be warned – it’s also filled with lots of heartache. Like I said, I was crying at 3:30 in the morning! I was crying until I read the last page of the book and closed it. If I’m being totally honest – I was crying after that. There is only one bad thing I can say about this book: why did it end!? I need more. I truly hope there is a third. I’m not quite ready to let go of Clara just yet. Bravo, Ms. Hand, you’ve done it again.

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