Friday, January 20, 2012

HALLOWED by Cynthia Hand

Cynthia Hand

Grade: A+

Description from
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.
SPOILER ALERT! If you haven't read Unearthly, read it before you click below to read this review.
Hallowed is an enchanting novel that grabs you from the first page of the prologue. The prologue is Clara's dream/vision, and in it she's in a cemetery burying someone, but who? As the novel unfolds, we find out who will die, and it will break your heart as much as it does Clara's. Hand does an excellent job of weaving reality with fantasy and heartbreak with hope. This novel will stay in your head long after you finish it.
Clara, who is a stubborn brat in parts of the book, slowly learns that what's best for her isn't always what's   best for everyone. She learns what the full impact is for not fulfilling her purpose, and she realizes that her actions affect others. By the end of the novel, she's a new character, and a better one. She grew up a ton in this book, and as she grows, her personality becomes more and more apparent and likable. By the end, Clara has become one of my favorite YA characters. Hand handles Clara's evolution from bratty teenager into adult very gracefully, and it happens at a believable pace. 
Christian really won me over in this book. I still love Tucker. He's a good guy, but Christian totally has my vote now. As I stated before, this is the first love triangle in which I actually liked both guys, but I do. Christian is in the lead now, but who's to say that won't change in the next book. In Hallowed, he's just perfect for Clara, and while Clara and Tucker are good together, Christian and Clara "belong together," to use Hand's own phrasing. It just seems obvious in this novel. I have no idea who Clara will end up choosing, though. Whoever Clara ends up with will be fantastic though because both guys are wonderful and truly care about her. 
Jeffery is a surprise in this book. I've decided that I really don't like him very much. He's just a jerk. He handles things like a petulant child, and I don't like it. I know guys supposedly mature at a different rate than girls, but unless angel-blood guys mature at the rate of a snail, he shouldn't be such a brat. Just a thought. Maybe I'm not supposed to like him though, or maybe it doesn't matter. I'm not sure about that yet. 
Angela also won me over in this novel. I no longer distrust her. I think she really wants what's best for Clara. Her purpose is becoming more and more clear, and it affects not only her but Clara as well. I've decided that Angela is a terrific edition to the story. Wendy is absent more in Hallowed than she was in Unearthly, and I'm starting to wonder if she's not just a filler character, a way for Clara to meet Tucker. I'm not sure. I guess I'll find out in the next book. 
We get to meet Clara's dad in this novel, and is he a surprise. I LOVE HIM! I hope he's in the next book as well. He's a great guy, and he's not half as jerky as Clara first thought. He really comes through for her when it matters, and he was a great addition to the story. Meeting him comes with many shocks, though. I did not see the surprise coming. I won't say what it is here because I don't want to spoil it for anyone. 
We also get to meet more of the angel-bloods in this book, and some of them are a surprise. It's nice to meet more of them, though, and I love Billy, Clara's mom's best friend. She's a fantastic addition to the story. She has sass and spunk, and since someone dies, she really lightens the mood on more than one occasion. I look forward to getting to know her better. 
The pacing of the story is done very well, and the plot unfolds at a quick rate without skipping over any important details. I cried a lot in reading this book, but at the end, I was left with a feeling of hope. I really love the character Clara's grown into, and I really enjoy the new character additions. While we see Samjeeza again, there are no major fight scenes. The story doesn't need them. It's captivating enough to hold your interest without having action, and that's impressive. Hand did a fantastic job with Hallowed, and I cannot wait for the next book in the series. 
Want to buy Hallowed?

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