Release Date: January 1st, 2012
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Source: I own the book
Description from Goodreads: 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.
In this compelling sequel to Unearthly, Cynthia Hand captures the joy of first love, the anguish of loss, and the confusion of becoming who you are.
Review: It is tough to write a review for a sequel or the middle of a series. However, I felt that Hand gave the reader enough material to feel that the book was an extension instead of additional chapters for the first in the series. Hallowed picks up where Unearthly leaves off. After Clara defied her purpose, which drove the plot of the last book, I felt that going into this book would be an adventure. For the majority of sophomore books in a series, you have a clear idea of what is happening in the follow up story. Hallowed felt like new ground, a rarity in the middle of a series.
Clara can still be a bit undescriptive, but her emotional turmoil in the book helped carry the story forward. In fact, Hallowed’s purpose tapped into an unknown side of Clara: she’s a girl who is dealing with loss, whereas in Unearthly, Clara faces down beginnings and discovery. Hallowed also tended to be steeped in the deep drama-sauce. The events in the book were highly charged and emotional and Clara had her reasons for her emotional episodes. The focus is the loss of one of the main characters; a character that I felt oddly connected to, and I found the grief and the shredding of the family completely believable and very depressing (in a good way, if that makes any sense). Instead of centralizing the main conflict around boy trouble (although this book has a fair amount of conflict about boy trouble), Hand decides to bring grieving and the loss of loved ones into the plot. Insert my praise for a writer who can see beyond romance and love as the only reason to write for a younger audience.
While we are on the subject of boy drama, I’m downright thrilled that Christian was given the proper attention he deserved. I’ll make it clear from the start that I have nothing against Tucker. He was a great character and a wonderful love interest from the first book. But I felt that Christian was always cheated because he was never given the development and attention that Tucker received in Unearthly. It was easy to be Team Tucker from the first book because Christian was bland and one dimensional. However, the author designed one of the key elements to give Christian the spotlight and focus on his own character. I feel that the playing field in the love triangle has been balanced. I can say that I tend to lean towards Christian, although I feel a bit distressed that his main argument for a relationship is because the Upstairs Daddy deemed it so. And as I stated in my updates, I shall drag my opinion back to the Land of Unpopular Opinions.
I think that someone cannot write about this book and not mention the major shafting of poor Jeffrey. The poor kid is nothing but a tool for the complexity of the storyline and to throw more attention onto the wonderfulness of Clara. Jeffrey is ignored for the majority of the book, then he reveals his BIG REVELATION, and is then pushed back into his own corner. I can’t understand why such an interesting and important character is virtually ignored in the series. I kept wanting to reach into the book and give the little guy a shoulder to cry upon. Clara is a great main character, but the author tends to really let her preference show. We all know who Mommy Hand prefers and she doesn’t try to hide who her favorite kid is in the family. Hint: It’s not Jeffrey. Clara takes the center stage and holds on for dear life.
I was pleased with this second installment of the angel-themed series. Even with the blaring failure of keeping the central characters relevant, this one is above and beyond the other angelic centered books on YA shelves.