Monday, November 21, 2011

Review: Hallowed by Cynthia Hand

Read (November 16 - 18, 2011)
Book: Hallowed (Unearthly #2) by Cynthia Hand
Publication Date: January 17, 2012
Publisher: HarperCollins
Number of Pages: 416
Genre/s: Young Adult, Paranormal Romance
Source: ARC provided by publisher via Netgalley

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. - (source)
“Our purpose on this earth is not a single event, an accomplishment we can check off a list. There is no test. No passing or failing. There’s only us, each moment shaping who we are, into what we will become. So I say forget about future. Pay attention to now. This moment right now. Let go of expectations. Just be. Then you are free to become something great.” - taken from an uncorrected ARC 
Hallowed started right after where Unearthly ended, in the forest wherein Clara must fulfill her purpose and the fire that has left everything on its path destroyed and charred. Clara failed at her purpose because she followed her heart and by doing that, she had changed everything.

Everything starts to unfold. We’re introduced to the world of White Wings and Black Wings and the eternal war between them, the congregation where all angel-bloods gather and to new angels. Secrets kept were laid out in the open. Clara learned about what she really is, how she and her brother are special even amongst the angel-bloods. And although everything was planned out for her, she still has her free will and she must make the ultimate decision between the guy she loves without any imposition from the boss up above and the guy she is destined to be with. She also knew with another dream that someone she loves dearly will die. And it was all Clara could do to keep herself together and everything else from falling apart. 

What is most commendable about Hallowed was the growth in Clara’s character. Not only did her hair color change (sorry, I just have to say that) but she had shown exceptional strength of character and will beyond all the drama and the big bombs being thrown at her relentlessly. Acceptance and sacrifice were needed and she gave just that.

Then there’s Christian, the great constant in Clara’s exceedingly wobbly life. Oh, I really feel for him! I feel his pain and disappointment every time Clara pushed him away. But still he’s there, not to woo Clara or keep telling her that they belong together but because he wants to let her understand that he will never leave her. Honestly speaking, Christian has more of a presence here than Tucker which I think is Hand’s intention to shed more light into Christian’s side. I just wish that he didn’t left Tucker out of the picture. Tucker does not have much exposure except in Clara’s thought as the super-hot-manly-sweet-guy, which I think did not give him justice because he was more than that. For starters, I seriously think that he’s more virtuous than Clara. For me, he came off in this book as a hormonal, uncomprehending, shallow person who easily gets disoriented and queasy with Clara’s glorious self.  

But with all grumbling aside, deep down I believe, too, that this was all part of Hand’s subtle plan of setting up the distinction between Christian, the boy equivalent of Clara, who compliments her and Tucker, the mere human, who completes her. 

Hallowed is not what I was expecting. Do I mean that in good way? By some means, yes, because Hallowed is in a whole different level than Unearthly. It was darker and more emotional and confined. Like all was happening in a single time frame and the bleak and suffocating atmosphere to it made Hallowed totally realistic and convincing. Also, the concept about God was superbly handled.

But I have to say that I liked Unearthly more. This book is a wonderful read, it was hard to put down, but I still can’t figure out why but there was something about this book that made me read it in a distant, impassive sort of manner. Maybe because even though I find Clara’s resilience admirable and her demeanor immensely different from other clichéd heroines in the YA world, there were times I would love to smack her right in the head and pull her marvelous hair so she can’t stop whining about how unfair her life is. 

All the same, I could still say Hand deliver yet again a strong and remarkable story about angel lore. She again ended Hallowed much like its predecessor Unearthly, with tons of possibilities about where the next book would lean into. It could be about anything: someone’s journey to heaven, or it could be somewhere in Stanford or Italy or Wyoming. Hallowed is greatly recommended and I for one surely can’t wait for the next installment in this captivating series.

Cupid's Verdict:
4 Cupids
A copy was provided by the publisher at no cost via Netgalley
in exchange for an honest review.


  1. Oo i hadn't even heard of this series or book before now, thanks for sharing. Good review.

    Found you through Book Blogs & a new follower :-)


  2. Hi TToria! :) Thank you! You have to check out this series. You'll discover absolutely fine writing and a fabulous angel world from Cynthia Hand.

    And I checked out your blog and it was awesome. I'm your 150th follower. :D

  3. Well-written review! I've read a good number of positive reviews about this book. While I am slowly expanding my reading breadth to include paranormal, I would like to wishlist this and read for myself the good things you have discovered.

    Your new follower,

    Nancy @ Simple Clockwork

  4. Thank you, Nancy! I would really recommend you to try this series, I promise it won't disappoint.

  5. New follower via bookblogs, thought I would say hi! Trev @

  6. Great review! I loved Hallowed, and I can't wait for the next in the series. In my opinion, this book was better than Unearthly (though I loved Unearthly, too)!

  7. Great review! I heard great things about this series but I still haven't read Unearthly. I really need to hurry up, huh?

  8. why clara can't choose a boy whom she really love...
    i love unerathly better...
    thx u for the review...

  9. Awesome! You gave her well-balanced review showing us the good and the not so good sides of the book. Thanks for sharing!



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