Author: Cynthia Hand
Format: eARC (240 pages)
Cynthia Hand is truly a gem in the world of YA lit -- she can weave stories that are believable and wonderful without the gimmicks and the wicked cliffhangers that most YA authors use to draw readers in. Hallowed is a delicious sequel to Unearthly, the book that got us all hooked and made us want some more of that Cynthia Hand goodness. While Hallowed may not be the most fast-pace YA book out there, it spends a lot more time focusing on the characters' emotional development, which in this case is just as good.
Clara is one of my favorite protagonists of all time, simply because she doesn't just think about herself, like a bunch of others.
Twilight: "Edward, I want you to bite me and change me! I don't care what others think about it--" Sorry, Bella. You're out.
Hush, Hush: "Patch, I want you to become human. I don't care how hard it'll be for you or anyone else, I want it to happen." Sorry, Nora! Strike two.
Evermore: "DAMEN I WANT TO BECOME AN IMMORTAL and I will stop at nothing, including my psycho, crazy aunt." And, you're OUT!
Clara constantly thinks about everyone else when she makes decisions. She's not selfish and greedy and I'm-the-protagonist-so-it-should-be-about-what-I-want, like so many others. It's refreshing to see such good character development in YA.
I'll confess it -- Hallowed is slow. The plot moves along steadily, a couple of really exciting things happening. Most of the book is about Clara's development with Christian and Tucker, and she learns a lot about herself.
The plot is actually very interesting -- there are just some times that won't excite you as much as others. After reading Hallowed, I seriously can't wait for the third book in the trilogy -- Hand has this way of cliffhangers that's not a cliffhanger but still feels like it because the wait for the next book will be similar to a form of Chinese torture. With a lot of other YA series, the wait for the next book is solely for the reason of wanting to find out what happens. It'll be one of those "Is she dead or is she alive?" cliffhangers, and the only reason you're excited for the next one is because you want to know what happened at the end. With Hallowed, it's not like that -- well, sure, you want to find out what happens, but it's because of more than just that. The characters are constantly in your head, swimming around, saying "HAYDEN! Think about me! Aren't you excited for the end?" And then you totally forget about your Algebra homework because you're daydreaming about how the story will end.
At this point, I'm counting down the seconds until the third book is in. The stinky part is because I got an advanced copy, I'm going to have to wait EVEN LONGER to get the next book! Hallowed is an excellent book, beautiful and haunting and scary and wonderful. The third installment better be in my hands soon. (*cough* *cough* Cynthia, if you ever need another crit partner . . . *cough*)