May 15, 2013

Hallowed - Cynthia Hand

[This is a review for the second book in the Unearthly series, so there may be minor spoilers. If you haven't started the series, perhaps you should check out my review of Unearthly (Book 1) instead.]

Hallowed book cover
Hallowed by Cynthia Hand
Series: Unearthly #2
Publisher: Harper Teen
Publication Date: January 17, 2012
Source/Format: Bought || Hardcover

For months Clara Gardner trained to face the fire from her visions, but she wasn't prepared for the choice she had to make that day. And in the aftermath, she discovered that nothing about being part angel is as straightforward as she thought.

Now, torn between her love for Tucker and her complicated feelings about the roles she and Christian seem destined to play in a world that is both dangerous and beautiful, Clara struggles with a shocking revelation: Someone she loves 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. (from Goodreads)

When it comes to the second book in a series, I’m always initially nervous that they will fall victim to “second book syndrome”. (And this is in spite of my personal experience with wonderful second books!) Thankfully, Hallowed does not disappoint. It’s a solid addition to the Unearthly series, one chock full of big, jaw-dropping revelations, more angel lore and, of course, that highly discussable love triangle. While I didn’t enjoy it nearly as much as Unearthly, I can guarantee that I had some very, ahem, powerful emotional reactions to this book (as Jamie and Rachel can attest from my random text messages as I read it).

If I thought Clara was being tested in Unearthly, it’s nothing compared to what she endures in Hallowed. She’s still reeling from the effects of messing up her purpose, which includes wondering what comes next. Clara is also extremely frustrated with secrets – the ones she has to keep from others (namely Tucker) and the ones being kept from her (mainly by her mother and her brother). It’s a frustrating situation, with no right answer in sight, and I keenly felt her struggle. I was impressed that, in spite of awful things and shocking revelations, Clara still managed to end the book with composure, strength and a whole lot of fight (even though she was hurting).

There is certainly solid character development, and not only when it comes to Clara. I liked getting to know Clara’s mother, as we’re treated to stories of her past and her angel experiences. It was also great to get to know her brother Jeffrey, as he steps out from the background and into (one of) the spotlights.

We also have the boys – Tucker and Christian. Both of them are definitely stronger characters, and each boy has his charms. As she struggles to protect Tucker and fight for their love, Clara cannot deny the feeling that perhaps she and Christian are meant to be. Hand is just too good at writing each of these boys as someone I could potentially love and see Clara ending up with, and it left me feeling torn.

(That’s not entirely true. Currently, I have jumped ship over to Team Christian, joining my friends Rachel and Betty! This might be because we definitely see a lot more of him and get to know him even better in this book.)

Hallowed is slow-paced, if compared to Unearthly. The story focuses on Clara’s journey as she struggles to understand her purpose, her angel heritage, and deals with her family, friends and love life. There were a lot of shockers (moments that had my jaw dropping and frantically sending text messages) packed into the book, though they mostly appear towards the middle and end.

Unearthly was the exciting, fresh book that had readers wondering if Clara would fulfill her purpose (and which boy she would choose). Hallowed, on the other hand, is the highly emotional, gut-wrenching sister to it that has readers asking what Clara is going to do now (and still, which boy she will choose). I loved it in a way different than Unearthly, and still found myself invested in Clara and her life. There are strong characters, a story that builds up on the foundation of the first book and enough twists and turns to keep me bowled over. I highly endorse checking out this second book as soon as you’ve read the first, because it’s just that good. I’m looking forward to reading Boundless soon, and finding out what happens to Clara (and, of course, which boy she chooses in the end!).


  1. Woo hoo Team Christian! I just had to say that <3 I have to admit, I'm happy you jumped ship haha.

  2. TEAM CHRISTIAN?! And here I thought you had good taste... :P

  3. I just wasn't in love with Hallowed. I wanted to love it (I really liked Unearthly), but Hallowed was so sad. And I have very little patience for love triangles. I'm totally team Tucker, though, and I found Christian really annoying. He kept persuing Clara even though she was with Tucker, and also when Clara was emotionally distraught. I don't find that very honorable.

    I would have liked Christian more if he didn't do that. Actually, I would like the book more if there wasn't a love triangle.

  4. Nooooo. Team Tucker all the way. I hate Christian. A lot. I sometimes wish he would die, haha, I feel bad :p I liked Unearthly, I loved Hallowed, I hated the last one :( I can't wait to hear what you think about the ending!


  5. Great review, for a series I really need to start :)

  6. I don't really think I'm Team one or the other... I think I liked both boys equally, but for different reasons. This one was hard to get through, but in a good way. Definitely much more emotional and darker than Unearthly! Glad you enjoyed it and can't wait to hear what you think about Boundless!

  7. Yay-Team Christian! I liked him more in the first book and am glad the second book is winning more people over to my side. Now I just need to read book 3 to see how it all ends!

  8. Yay, I'm so glad you loved this book. This whole series is fabulous in my opinion. Except...I'm Team Tucker forever. Even in book 2 =) haha can't help it.

  9. Ahhhh, you abandoned me here over at Team Tucker lol. I love the sound of this one, actually. I really enjoyed Unearthly, but for me, there was something missing, and maybe a little more emotion is just what I need. And maybe I will end up loving Christian more than Tucker too, we'll see about that ;)

  10. Ugh, I am so bad, I haven't even started this book yet after reading Unearthly like 2yrs ago! I seriously need to finish some of the series I started. I don't like that its slow-paced, but am intrigued with the "highly emotional, gut-wrenching" part, lol. Great review!

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    Deity Island


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