Series: The Hallowed Ones #1
Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt on September 25th, 2012
Genres: paranormal, young adult
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Katie is on the verge of her Rumspringa, the time in Amish life when teenagers can get a taste of the real world. But the real world comes to her in this dystopian tale with a philosophical bent. Rumors of massive unrest on the “Outside” abound. Something murderous is out there. Amish elders make a rule: No one goes outside, and no outsiders come in. But when Katie finds a gravely injured young man, she can’t leave him to die. She smuggles him into her family’s barn—at what cost to her community? The suspense of this vividly told, truly horrific thriller will keep the pages turning.
I feel that this read is somewhat ironic, after I have stated many times that I avoid Christian fiction. I make an exception when it comes to Amish literature. I find the Amish lifestyle highly fascinating, and I have a level of respect for their culture and living close to the Earth and caring for their own. When I saw this book at Recycled in Denton, I picked it up and put it down three times before I finally threw it into the basket. I figured that it would make a fun read, and the description was downright tempting. Oddly enough, I noticed that a majority of my Twitter friend list was reading this book that I happened to find in the awesome bookstore. I have always been one to leap off the bridge happily when others are doing the same, so I moved this one up on the TRB list and joined in due to peer pressure.
For once, I made an outstanding decision.
I was amazed that this book worked out for the best. Vampire and Amish literature was definitely something that I never saw working out in such a splendid marriage of two odd concepts.
First and foremost: I loved the main character, Katie. She was completely unapologetic about her stubborn streak. She felt a certain level of guilt, due to her Amish upbringing, but she was never sorry for who she was – she was just sorry that she seemed to be stuck in the wrong place. Katie is the heroine we deserve in YA lit. She doesn’t mentally brag or whine about her awesomeness – she just simply is. She sets out to do the right thing, since she absorbed the nicer Amish traditions and morphed them into strong character traits. Her underlying question between the conflicts of her faith and her evolving view of the world certainly added a wonderful “coming of age” quality to the story.
The suspense in the book certainly added a great aspect of flair and fear. I avoid the “scare em and scar em” approach in books, because I am a huge scardy cat. However, The Hallowed Ones tended to be more creepy than scary. Getting spooked is fine, and this book has enough chills to keep you up at night (fair warning – close the blinds). The gore factor was kept to a minimum, but what was present was chilling enough to stand on its own and not seem out of place or excessive.
I was certainly more than happy to give the book five stars, but, I was slightly miffed how the romance was handled. I don’t want to spoil the book, so I’ll have Male A and Male B stand in for the real characters. Male #2 is awesome. He’s great, he’s sexy, but he is sadly underdeveloped. I can forgive a certain level, because of the nature of the relationship. However, Male #2 had some wonderful opportunities to become a little more fleshed out and developed. Male #1 was honestly shafted and used to make the other guy more tempting. Let me say this first: there is no excuse for certain behaviors in the book for this guy. His decisions, it seemed, felt a little forced. It was a little out of character and a bit extreme to change him into a completely vile person. It seemed that Male #2 was more desirable because the other guy was villianized to make him seem even better.
This book certainly is worth reading. Rest easy, religion reluctants, the Christian aspect is palpable and veers away from turning into a Preachfest. Just like the Amish religion in the book, the author sets out to keep from beating the reader over the head with religion texts while delivering a creepy, fresh take on our favorite mythical bloodsuckers. If you are looking for a great October read, I would highly recommend this book.