Monday, November 14, 2011

Book Review: Hallowed by Cynthia Hand

Release Date: January 17, 2011
(Thanks to Netgalley & the publisher!)
Published by: HarperTeen

Hallowed (Unearthly #2) by Cynthia Hand

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.

Ten Likes/Dislikes

1. (+) Clara, the protagonist - Clara really grows up in this novel.  I liked her a lot more in Hallowed -- she's a strong and smart girl but one who also makes a lot of mistakes and is easy to relate to.  She is no longer detailing everything she can about Christian; she becomes more of herself and more of who she needs to be, given her powers and whatnot.  That being said, she also is a bit more vulnerable in parts of this book which may irritate some readers.
2. (+) World-building - You learn more about the angelology, and though I haven't read a lot of angel books, I really like what Cynthia Hand is doing in terms of her world-building.  The idea of free will and the draw of darkness and one's purpose are really fascinating and are expanded upon in this novel.  You learn more about Clara's powers as well as her connection to Christian and some other things that I don't want to spoil for you ;P.
3. (+) Clara's family - The family dynamics are so realistic.  I love how everybody has their secrets, but there's still so much love there.  And though Jeffrey started getting on my nerves, I still had a spot for him too, after everything the two of them go through.
4. (+) The Romance - Tucker v. Christian.  This would be on my list of acceptable love triangles, because Clara clearly would choose Tucker and the Christian dynamic only comes in when you wonder what her purpose really is so it becomes a battle of what she is vs. what she wants, which I think is kind of interesting...  Though... admittedly Christian has his moments in Hallowed... as does Tucker.  But it's sad to see that Clara seems to be giving into whatever the supernatural forces are telling her (especially when you learn what her mom's purpose was)...
5. (+) The Setting - One of the great things I liked about Unearthly was the great setting, and that continues in Hallowed.  Though Clara doesn't get out as much as she did in Unearthly (in the sense that there's more on her plate than the fun summer she had), you still get a glimpse of Wyoming and it's just as beautiful as before.
6. (--) The Plot - Character development.  This book felt like it was the character book of the series... but at the same time, it felt like it wanted to be on that also moved the series forward... so it was a weird mix.  And I didn't like it.  I hated how by page fiftyish, I knew what was going to happen.  I hated the way Clara kept considering the idea of not going to college because of Tucker.  I hated the way she didn't battle the supernatural will as much as before.  I hated how some of the characters got tossed to the side for newer characters, though they weren't expanded on as much as the older ones so it's like the weird plot deal again.  I hated that there was one central event and that we just saw the emotional consequences of it.  In Unearthly, there was Clara's purpose, but her purpose got mixed up with the two fires and the Tucker/Christian deal and figuring things out on her own and the Black Wing.  This book feels like there is only this dream in terms of action, and personally, I'd would preferred if it was either a fully character-oriented book or a plot-driven book rather than a hybrid of the two.  I don't really know what the next book will be about.
7. (+) Pacing - My egalley says it's only 242 pages, but Goodreads lists it at over 400... It definitely did not feel as long as that! It felt like a quick and easy read, and each scene draws you in like a hook until you feel like you have to keep reading until the end.
8. (+) The Writing - Cynthia Hand is a really good writer.  I don't remember what was happening in the book that made me think this but at some point, I thought, wow, she's really good with all these little details in building her setting and making her world come alive.
9. (--) Too Much Build-up - In Unearthly, I really liked the build-up with the purpose repeating and the twists that came with it.  In Hallowed, however, you get Clara's dream... but then you know what it's about... and there were very few twists to match.  I kind of already mentioned this, but it was really disappointing for me.  As much as I liked finding out about the consequences of what happened when Clara didn't fulfill her purpose, I would've much rather read about things that she does to continue her purpose, which I guess is contrary to what you learn about purposes but blah, it was frustrating.  Don't build up the dream unless you're going to deliver on the threat.
10. (--) The Cover - I really hate the way the color isn't sharp and makes it seem like we're seeing Clara through some sort of filter.  I get why the book is colored blue, but for me, it doesn't really cut the feeling I get from the book.

Hallowed is a great sequel but doesn't quite follow up to Unearthly.

Reminded me of: Supernaturally in that the voice stays the same as does the romance, but I enjoyed the plots less than I did for the first books.


  1. I didn't love the first one so maybe I should skip this one(?)

  2. I guess--I liked the first better than the second so if you didn't already like the first book... What didn't you like about Unearthly?

  3. Great review! I am in the process of reading Boundless the third one, but Unearthly is still my favorite one; I love the romance between Tuck and Clara!


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