I think I am in love with Cynthia Hand’s writing. Let me be clear about something, I hate sad depressing stories. I refused to watch Old Yeller for years because I hate what happens to the dog in that movie. Same goes with Bambi, Where the Red Fern Goes or any other depressing childhood movie that involves the death of animals. Hallowed doesn’t involve the death of animals, thank God. But it is still depressing. and there’s a death in the book. Yet somehow, despite the odds I kept reading Hallowed and I liked it quite a lot. So let’s get on with the actual review of the book.
General Summary: Clara is having visions again. This time she realizes that someone she love is going to die. Is it Tucker? He’s not in the vision? When Clara finds out more about her vision her world changes even more than she realized it would.
Review: This book is beautifully written. If I was thinking about getting a MFA I would seriously consider going to any school that Hand taught at. It’s written that well. Let’s start with the plot, as the introduction to this blog entry shows I hate sad stories. But I loved Hallowed. I think a lot of that love is because how the subject matter was handled. Despite the book being a YA paranormal, it comes off as being very realistic. I felt as if I was experiencing Clara’s anguish with her. And despite the sadness of the book, it also shows that life does move on.
Many mysteries are answered in Hallowed as well as started. I am extremely eager to read Boundless because I want to know how all of this is going to be resolved. Some of the characters that I found to be so-so in the past installments I grew to love. Also, Hand provided some explanation for some of the biggest issues I had with Unearthly.
In Unearthly there is a ridiculous amount of angels that live in the small mountain town that Clara calls home. If there used to be one eye rolling moment in the series this was it. However, explanation is given in Hallowed that actually makes sense.
Best Feature: Dealing with Cliches: I love how Hand used cliches. Yes, I know that cliches are usually a bad thing, but when you use them like Hand does it’s hilarious. There’s a paragraph about love triangles in the book that made me smile:
“Before I moved here, I never got the whole love-triangle thing. You know, in movies or romance novels or whatnot when there’s one chick that all the guys are drooling over, even though you can’t see anything particularly special about her. But, oh, no they both must have her. And she’s like, oh dar, however will I choose? William is s o sensitive, he understands me, he swept me off my feet, oh misery, blubber, blubber, but how ca I go living without Rafe and his devil-may-care ways and his dark and only-a-little-abusive love? Upchuck. So realistic, I always thought.” (Hand 237).
What I find so amazing about this, is Hand’s not afraid to laugh at herself or the cliches that are used in the book. And honestly, the cliches that are used in the book are handled quite beautifully. The love triangle isn’t one built out of instant love. It’s a little more complicated than that. And each boy is uniquely characterized and I can see why Clara would go for both of them.
Worst Feature: Lack of Tucker Avery: I love Tucker, but his character was really distant in this installment. And I understand why. It was sort of necessary for the plot of the series. And given what has happened to Clara in this book, I understand why Hand had to do this. But gosh golly, I wanted more of Tucker Avery.
Appropriateness: These books are rather clean. There’s some talk about sex and mild violence. But other than that, it’s pretty appropriate.
Overall Rating: Nine out of ten wings. I really, really liked this book. And as far as sequels go it’s excellent. However, not quite as good as Unearthly at least in my opinion.
Hand, Cynthia. Hallowed. New York: HarperCollins, 2012.