The first book in any series has the advantage of novelty. By the second book, whether or not the characters can shoot darts from their ears or speak to the dead has become a rule of the narrative rather than the narrative itself. Something else must be made of the story if the second book is to stand in its own strength.
Hallowed, the sequel to Cynthia Hand's Unearthly - a novel about a girl who must fulfill the divine purpose given her as part angel - does just that. This is not an edge-of-your-seat book. While the first had its moments of anticipation and anxiety, Hallowed mostly stays an even course, developing the characters (which were the strongest aspect of the first book anyway) rather than the fantastic elements of angelhood, and in so doing, creating a steady, compelling coming-of-age novel that has more to do with relationships than divine purpose.
When Unearthly left off, Clara had just finished messing up her divine purpose, forgoing the dictates of her visions to follow her heart instead. Fearful of the consequences, Clara explores what it means to live according to her free will rather than her calling. In the first book, we were introduced to Christian, unbeknownst to Clara a part-angel himself - the guy she's destined not only to save but apparently to be with forever. Then Tucker shows up, all normal and wonderful and decidedly NOT angelic, and the story takes a sudden sharp turn. In Hallowed, we take another turn, back to Christian, but never fully with either, because destiny and desire are only sometimes at odds, and even then not always as clearly as one might hope.
If this all sounds a bit vague, that's because largely nothing much happens in this book. It's certainly not boring. Each chapter progresses just as it ought, each character explored just quite enough, and there are certainly revelations along the way. But the revelations are rarely surprising, not because we're smarter than the characters (though we might be), but because their power is in their content, not their sneakiness. This is very much a book about Clara growing up. The question that remains at the end of the book is less a matter of "which hot guy will she end up with" (though obviously we do wonder) and more a matter of "will she grow up as she ought?"
To quote a few shining moments:
Tucker: "This isn't going to become one of those creepy situations where you show up at all hours of the night to watch me sleep, is it?"
Clara, later, in a much more obvious reference, "I did get so wigged out that I sneaked out to his house a couple times in the middle of the night to watch over him while he slept, just in case, I don't know, his comic book collection decided to spontaneously combust. This was dumb and admittedly creepy in an Edward Cullen kind of way, but it was the only thing I could think to do."
One of my favorites: "Before I moved here, I never got the whole love-triangle thing. You know, in movies or romance novels or whatnot, where there's one chick that all the guys are drooling over, even though you can't see anything particularly special about her. But oh, no, they both must have her. And she's like, oh dear, however will I choose? William is so sensitive, he understands me, he swept me off my feet, oh misery, blubber, blubber, but how can I go on living without Rafe and his devil-may-care ways and his dark and only-a-little-abusive love?"
And in a not entirely anti-Twilight fashion, I could not help but notice and of course deeply appreciate the C.S. Lewis allusion in the description of heaven, which is almost exactly pulled from The Great Divorce: "I try to take a few steps away from him, but there's something strange about the grass under by feet. It's too hard. My feet don't sink into it or crush it down. I stumble and look back at Dad. 'What's wrong with the grass?' 'It's not the grass,' he says. 'It's you...'"
It's not very often that I find myself sitting in stunned speechlessness after finishing a book. It's even less often that I find myself enjoying the middle book of a trilogy more than its predecessor. Hallowed has effortlessly managed to accomplish both of these things while cruelly leaving me to pick up the broken pieces of my shattered heart.
Feeling like she has failed her purpose, Clara spends most of Hallowed seeing signs of her punishment. Frustrated with her mother's evasiveness over questions about being an angel-blood, determined to maintain her relationship with Tucker, and guilt-ridden over her growing connection with Christian, Clara's emotions were all over the place - much like her inner ramblings - and it was this realistic portrayal of her confusion that made me fall in love with her character all over again. Her emotional strength in tough situations, and her ability to put her loved ones ahead of her own safety really showed her maturity and growth, which combined with her sensitive narrative made it impossible not to adore her. She also took some digs at Twilight, which I found hilarious!
"This was dumb and admittedly creepy in an Edward Cullen kind of way, but it was the only thing I could think to do."
Not the biggest fan of Clara's mother in Unearthly, I am happy to report that she opens up quite a bit in Hallowed and actually provides us with some much needed information! While many of her answers resulted in further questions, I found myself unable to be as irritated with her as I was in Unearthly. It was much easier to see the warmth and compassion that she carried for Clara in Hallowed, and I appreciated being given a glimpse into a slightly more personal side of her character in such a touching and heartfelt way.
The pacing is definitely a little slower in Hallowed, but it provided us with more time to learn about some new characters, - including more angel-bloods! - to learn some angel-blood mythology, and to see the growing relationship between Clara and Christian.
I saved this part for last because it's actually painful to think about again. Hand has managed to create the most beautiful - and the most heartbreaking - love triangle I have ever had the pleasure to read.
"Before I moved here, I never got the whole love-triangle thing. You know, in movies or romance novels or whatnot, where there’s one chick that all the guys are drooling over, even though you can’t see anything particularly special about her. But oh, no, they both must have her. And she’s like, oh dear, however will I choose? William is so sensitive, he understands me, he swept me off my feet, oh misery, blubber, blubber, but how can I go on living without Rafe and his devil-may-care ways and his dark and only-a-little-abusive love? Upchuck."
The love Clara has for Tucker is of the most innocent kind - full of stolen glances, tender kisses and passion.
"Tucker strokes my hair. There's something so tender about the gesture. It might as well have been him whispering I love you."
Their love is the reason Clara begins to fear for Tucker's safety, and it's ultimately the reason she has to choose whether to let him go. Her connection with Christian is one she recognizes she has no choice in; he is the future she thinks she might be destined for even if it goes against what her heart has chosen.
"I'll never forget the way he tastes. It's not anything I can describe, a little sweet and a whole lot of spice, and it feels, in that moment, absolutely right."
His touch is as familiar as her own and he seems to understand her better than she understands herself. I so desperately wanted Clara to make one choice, but I couldn't blame her for needing to make a different choice. I also couldn't dislike either boy, as they both respected Clara enough to let her be the one to make the decision (after a slight tussle, of course).
Without asking my permission, Hand took me on an emotional journey filled with love, heartache and tremendous growth. Days later, my heart is still mending and I'm not sure that I'll ever be able to think of Hallowed without feeling the dull ache of something lost. Beautiful and surprisingly touching, Hallowed should not be missed.
Hallowed is one of my favourite books, and i've read a alot!
The characters and storyline are beautiful and well written. You can really connect with the character of Clara and all of her emotions.
I especially loved Christian, and I badly want Clara to end up with him! Screw Tucker.. no offense (:
This book kept me captivated and left in suspense. It had a lot of unpredictable scenes which left me suprised.
I'm not normally a crier when I read books, but this one left me with a few tears at times c':
I highly recommend you reading this series, as they are simply amazing! :D
So I’m feeling pretty darn conflicted after finishing Hallowed. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed it, but all the hype gave me too high of expectations. Plus, I’m just feeling generally conflicted about the characters themselves since everything I thought I knew from Unearthly kind of got flipped on its head.
The story itself was great. There was just enough recap to help the reader remember the important stuff from the previous book, but not so much that it bogged the story down. I liked that we followed Clara through her last year of high school all the way to graduation and I’m desperately hoping we actually get to see her in college in the next book. That’s something I so very rarely get to see in YA.
I also really appreciated that the broad storyline was carried over from Unearthly but Hallowed focused mostly on its own story arc and believe it or not, things actually get wrapped up. I know, that seems like a completely impossible thing to ask of a sequel, but Hallowed does it with style.
Then we have the characters. I’m not even sure how I feel about anyone anymore. Let’s start with Tucker. I was totally Team Tucker before starting Hallowed, but I kind of missed snarky Tucker from the debut. I haven’t transferred allegiance to Team Christian or anything, but Tucker didn’t hold quite the same appeal for me this time.
Then there’s Jeffrey. He’s definitely one of my favorite characters and by the end I was feeling so sorry for him :[
The Nusthell: Though hype led Hallowed to be a bit of a letdown for me, I still enjoyed it. It’s a solid sequel that could actually do a good job of standing on its own. If you loved Unearthly then you’re likely to love Hallowed as well.
Unearthly left me wanting more, and only a few chapters into Hallowed I got more than I was expecting! Clara is worrying about what it means for her to have failed her purpose, and she’s plagued by a new vision. Is it a new purpose? Or is it just a peek into events to come? Either way it’s going to be heartbreaking! When the time came, I had such a hard time holding back tears, but I had to since I was sitting in the middle of a student lounge. It was just so sad, even though we’re told exactly what’s coming. Poor Clara has a lot to deal with in this book.
Aside from the tragic event mentioned above, she also has normal teen problems to deal, which I liked reading about in addition to her angelic issues. She’s struggling making a decision about her future, mainly what college to attend in the fall. Thankfully, she has her best friend, Angela, to help with that. She also has to deal with the aftermath of getting caught in her boyfriend’s bed at 6:30 in the morning! And prom, and homework, and dealing with a moody younger sibling. Typical teen stuff.
Her angel problems are no picnic either, but we get to learn a ton of new information about them. Clara’s mom is finally breaking the silence regarding her secrets, and some of them are pretty major! Clara’s whole sense of identity is being reconstructed on top of everything else she’s being faced with.
This sequel does not disappoint in any way. We get answers to many of the pressing questions left over from Unearthly, plus we’re bombarded with so much new information that bring up their own questions. There’s also plenty of scenes with Tucker and Christian, and now I’m torn about who I think Clara should be with! Hallowed reveals new sides to both of them, and it truly made the love triangle that much more intense. We also get more of Jeffrey and now his moodiness makes so much more sense. I really do not want to wait for the next book!
Meh, I say, meh. I liked this book alright, but I was a little put off by Clara’s constant “I didn’t complete my purpose what does that mean” whining that seemed to permeate the entirety of this book. Every time she brought up the indecisiveness of her choice at the end of “Unearthly” I just wanted to shake her. How can she think her life is meaningless when she did what she did? How could she think that God would wish her to make a different choice in the end?
Although that frustration was excessive throughout the book, it didn’t take away my feelings on it completely. I did still find myself thoroughly engrossed in the situations in the second book of the series.
I absolutely loved the blossoming romance between Clara and Tucker. The little things they did together that I found so completely perfect for them. I almost wished the book was entirely about Clara and Tucker and all the other stuff with Christian and her destiny fell away. I was steadfast in my determination to read every word of the book instead of just skipping all but the Clara and Tucker bits. Cynthia Hand writes good love scenes.
When I realized that Clara was going to lose someone close to her I ran through all the characters feverishly. Tucker? Jeffrey? Christian? Wendy? Angela? Who could she lose that would rock her so heavily. I came to the conclusion at the same moment that Clara did and I wept. I openly and without shame wept. My sobs generated a bit of an unease within my house, but such is the problem of a bookworm. We care about our fictional characters and don’t want any of them every to do… Unless they are exceedingly annoying and in that case, we pray for them to die.
A new evil that was vaguely mentioned in “Unearthly” is discussed more openly in this book by way of leading up to the grand finale of the third book. I loved that Cynthia Hand trickled information about the “big baddies” slowly throughout the three books instead of shoving it down our gullets in the first book and just casually reminding us of them in the subsequent books.
I devoured Hallowed in a matter of hours. I stayed up until the wee hours of the morning following Christian, Clara, Tucker, and the various other characters down a road of weakness, strength, and love. I never expected to love Christian since, being a team Tucker member, he was the enemy, but I started to really start liking Christian. Why, Cynthia?! Why do you have to make the third in the love triangle almost as endearing as the one I love?! Starting to understand why Clara is having such issues.
“Hallowed” was the perfect middle book in the trilogy. It introduced the “big baddies” that will be the focal points of the last book, it caused it’s reader to feel heartbreak in preparation for the (most likely) happy ending of the final book in the trilogy, and it showed a few characters that were not the main protagonists to have deeper sides to them that originally thought. I think Cynthia did an excellent job with “Hallowed”… despite Clara’s constant turmoil over her purpose, her heart, and her existence in general.
Review posted on: http://www.ladybugliterature.blogspot.com
This is one of the few times I actually liked a sequel in a series of books.
In Unearthly we find out Clara is part-angel. She moves to Wyoming because that is where she will fulfill her 'angelic purpose', which is saving a boy from a fire. This boy turns out to be Christian, who is also part-angel. But in the end she saves Tucker, another boy she meets, and thus she defies her purpose. Hallowed follows up on this event.
Before I began this book, I feared it would turn out to be like too many books with a love triangle: cheesy and no story but the love triangle. Luckily I was wrong!
Where in most second books in trilogies nothing important happens, this books is full of new events that actually affect the story.
The book is mostly about Clara's new visions. She sees a cemetery and certain people are not there. At first she thinks it is Tucker's funeral, but later it turns out it is her Mom's. The whole part in the book of Clara's mom dying is very sad and I wished the writer would not have done this, I would have loved to know more about her past.
We also meet Clara's dad in the book. He turns out to be a real angel, this turns out to mean Clara is much stronger than she initially thought. I liked that now her mom died, she still has some kind of parent figure to go to.
I missed Jeffrey (Clara's brother) his humor this book. I thought him really funny in the first book, but he was sort of depressed in Hallowed. Of course, that's not hard to understand with his mom dying, but some more humor in the books would have been nice. I did not really understand his purpose, but it seems he is growing darker and darker.
The bad guy in this book (the dark angel Samjeeza) seemed a lot less convincing than in the first book. When first he wanted to kill her, now he just turns up sometimes and talks a bit, nothing else. I had higher expectations for this, I had thought he would have had some sort of revenge planned.. Maybe in the next book?
And then of course: the love triangle.. What I liked about the love triangle is that Clara is not constantly thinking about who she should be with and changing her mind about it every minute. She really loves Tucker, but he will never understand her and her angel problems like Christian does. And of course she has the whole purpose thing, which seems to point to her ending up with Christian in the end, which she is fighting. I am not really 'Team' anyone here, but I guess in the next book a fight with the dark angels will begin and Christian will be a lot more helpful than Tucker there..
I would definitely recommend this book! It is a good sequel, which is rare. The book answers a lot of questions from the first book and does not get boring. I'm excited for the last book in this trilogy!
- Great characters
- Not a bad love triangle
- Great plot
Cynthia Hand’s first novel, Unearthly, was my first-ever angel book, and I really lucked out with it. I think it’ll always be special to me. However, when it came to reading the sequel, Hallowed, I was less than eager because it was obviously going to have some intense love triangle business. And I’ve never been a fan of love triangles. But I finally caved and decided to try it out.
So, let’s talk about the love triangle. Christian vs. Tucker, angel boy vs. cowboy. Towards the middle of the second half, I was getting annoyed by the whole “we’re destined to be together” spiel. I just hate the idea that Clara has no free will and has to be with Christian because that’s their God-given “purpose.”
However, Hand did manage to handle things pretty well. I still don’t like love triangles, but I think the author did a good job with hers. Clara did make the final decision for herself, and there was closure at the end. Sad, heartbreaking closure, but there was closure. Of course, I’m sure that we’re not done with either guy, so we’ll see.
Otherwise, though, I still like Clara as a main character. She’s independent and strong, and she definitely didn’t like it when Christian tried to convince her that she didn’t have a choice in falling in love with him. I find her situation interesting, actually. She’s a girl who strongly believes that Edward Cullen isn’t a dreamboat (she says so—yay pop culture references!), but she’s stuck in a situation where it looks like her only option is to go along with this guy, even if she isn’t sure she wants to.
I really admire Hand for trying out that characterization, because it wold only be too easy for Clara to have succumbed to Swan Syndrome.
That actual plot for Hallowed is, well…kind of heartbreaking. Clara keeps having these dream-visions of a funeral, and she knows someone close to her is going to die. This is where I love Hand’s ability to bring reality into her paranormal novel. Dealing with death is a very realistic, human thing to face. Sure, there’s a Dark Wing bad dude after Clara, which is a nice conflict, but I liked Hand’s touch of reality too.
Yet while there are a lot of sad elements in Hallowed, I wouldn’t say this is a sad book. It’s got a pretty positive spin to it, and in the end things are looking up for Clara and her crew of angel buddies. Book number three, Boundless, is pretty promising, and I’ll definitely continue with the series from here.
Oh! And just as an aside, if you’re going to use a foreign language in your book, make sure you get that checked over. Hand had a few errors with her Spanish, which I’m 98% sure weren’t intentional.
I’ve still only read three angel books so far, and since Cynthia Hand has done such a good job, I’m not sure if I need to read any more. Hallowed is a great book with a touching plot and a likable protagonist.