Book Review: Hallowed

By Cynthia Hand
Author’s Website
Hardcover | Kindle

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.


Cynthia Hand landed herself amongst some of my favorite Debut authors with 2011’s release of Unearthly. So needless to say, I didn’t have to be persuaded to show up at the store the day of Hallowed’s release. On a whole it was well worth the wait, though I will admit that there were a few things I had hoped to have figured out during the second installment. Alas, it will be another long year of eager anticipation!

Plot: 10

While struggling to overcome the humiliation of her failed assignment, Clara receives a new vision. One which only adds to the confusion of what exactly her purpose is supposed to be. As Clara tries to put together the pieces of an uncertain future, her life begins to spiral out of control.  Torn between her heart and her destiny, she learns that sometimes things aren’t always as they seem. As the story unfolds, and the vision is made clear, her previous worries seem to pale in comparison to what she must now face. Not only will she lose someone she desperately depends on, but her entire life story gets re-written. Suddenly the significance of who she is and the danger that comes along with it, changes everything.

Characters: 8

Let’s face it. Clara isn’t very good at interpreting her visions. She over analyses, and allows her heart to rule her choices. Ultimately, it ends up affecting more than just her purpose. But can you blame her? I know if I had a boyfriend as amazing as Tucker, I would have a difficult time not allowing my heart to get in the way too. I don’t agree with most of the choices she made, but come on, the girl was hit from all sides in this book! I don’t know how she functioned through a lot of what she had to process. I don’t think I could have been half as strong.  It was a very emotional ride.

Jeffery irritated me this go round. Many times I felt like whipping him up a Prozac smoothy. It wasn’t until late in the book that I understood his anger. I’m a bit fearful of his future. His “free will” was so easily persuaded, he has zero discernment, and with all that built up anger towards his sister… Well, let’s just say it’s not looking good.

Tucker or Christian… Christian or Tucker? I know I don’t have to tell you how difficult love triangles are… But this one is nuts! It’s not like one of the boys is total bad news, and the other a saint. Tucker and Christian are polar opposites of two kinds of awesomesauce.  – Insert pained expression here —

Tucker is as adorable as always. Being that I am southern girl, there is nothing more irresistible than a good ol’ fashioned Cowboy who knows how to treat his girl. Tucker is simply put, irresistible. There was only one small disappointment with Tuck in this book, and that was his awkwardness towards Clara during a life changing event. I can’t say much more without sharing spoilers.

Christian won me over.  He could always be counted on to be there.  He was Clara’s silent support, just an “eve” away. 😉 I do admit that he has an unfair advantage with his ability to tap into her thoughts. If Tucker had the advantage of the connections Christian and Clara share, we wouldn’t even have a love triangle. Still, Christian is a doll in my book and I have to admit, as much as I adore Tucker, Christian has won my vote.

Finally, I have to mention Clara’s parents.  Her father makes his debut as one of the many twists in this book.  Not only is he every little girls dream of a father, but the love between him and her mother brings warm and fuzzies to a whole new level.  I just love them!

Setting: 10

What a beautiful place to create your literary world. The majestic mountain view, the Aspen Pines, the sky slopes, fishing, farms; you have a little bit of everything in Wyoming. Makes you ask yourself why anyone would want to live anywhere else? You get a perfect sense of peace in this setting and Cynthia describes it beautifully.

Pacing: 7

This is where I had issues. I had hoped to see more time devoted to figuring out Clara’s purpose.  At the end of the day, I just don’t felt like I got anywhere. Though a lot of unexpected events took place, I was still left feeling confused, thinking, where is this story taking me? We are no closer to finding out Clara’s purpose then we are to figuring out who she is going to end up with. On the upside, there were more twists, turns, and sweet spots in this story then a twisler stick wrapped up like a pretzel! Ultimately, it was those unexpected events that propelled me through the story. Knowing her true identity and the danger involved in who she really is, at least sets us up to finding the answers in the upcoming sequel.

Style: 10

Cynthia is every visual person’s dream for an author. She balances her writing well, and gives just the right amount of detail, suspense and humor to her stories. I had no issues connecting with the characters, experiencing every emotion they experienced, or to see everything that they saw. Cynthia’s writing style is beautiful, which is why she is among my favorite authors.

Regardless of my frustration with the pacing of Clara’s purpose, I highly recommend that you read this book. If you loved Unearthly, you will undoubtedly love, Hallowed.  I was so utterly wrapped up in the story that I simply could not find a place to lay it down.  Needless to say, I shed more than just a few tears.  What an emotional journey this was!  I will be among many who are eagerly awaiting book three!

Grade: 95


About Jenna (Does Books)

Working momma of a little pink princess and reader of all things YA. I'm an artist, writer and avid reader who swears that she's having a hard time letting go of the childish things... Let me read your latest YA book and let's see if it makes the grade!

Posted on January 31, 2012, in Book Review, Four & 1/2 Star and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Awesome!!!! 🙂

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