The Hallowed Ones
First off I loved the protagonist, Katie. The author does a great job showing a teen that questions. Why I mention this is I feel some books shy away from this when in fact most teens go through a time of questioning what they believe in. In this case it's Katie's Amish faith. It's assumed she'd wed her best friend Elijah after their Rumspringa experience. The horror that comes next is shown through Katie's eyes.
Another thing I loved is how the author didn't get preachy or knock down a faith. What was refreshing was how the whole idea of someone's faith, regardless if they're Christian, Muslim, Jew, or Wicca, can in fact be a protection against evil.
Katie's faith is challenged at times especially when the Elders refuse to listen to the truth. Katie risks everything when she finds a stranger outside their community when she gives him shelter even when the Elders want nothing to do with him.
Subtle horror elements throughout this story up the creepiness factor. Add to that a teen struggling with her faith and what she really believes in, make this a must read book!
Kuddos to the author for not being afraid to address some hard questions. I know that's what makes this amazing dystopian/vampire tale work!
2. Love how author shows a real teen questioning not only her community but faith
3. Subtle horror adds to creepiness factor
Jeez… I’ve never read a book like this before. This was terrifying and enthralling since the beginning to the very end which, to be honest, had me mental ‘cause I want more.
This book is gruesome… gruesome in a way that makes your insides twitch when you read the killing scenes. The way Bickle described the deaths, the vampires, the Amish culture and Katie’s rebellion was amazing. I even screamed with the characters when they would freak me out. And when that happens to me while reading a book, it’s normally a good thing.
This story is centred on an Amish community. Katie is an obedient girl though rebellious at times. Certain day, a helicopter crashed in the fields and while Katie tries to help the pilot, she sees a pair of red eyes within the cockpit and the pilot is suddenly dragged and killed.
After that, the Outside world is changed. Rumours of riots and people running and stuff suddenly turns into an empty world where pandemonium is ruling. Some sort of disease was spread turning half of the population into vampires.
Now, the premise as itself had me craving for the book. Having the Amish and vampires together in one book sounded too good to be true. These were two things I thought were never seen together. And, though in the beginning I was slightly scared of what would come out of it, Laura Bickle managed to have me hooked from the beginning. Katie’s character changed a lot during the book.
There was a moment when I wanted to slap her because of her blinding faithfulness to her culture and rituals. But, after she finds Alex and saves him breaking every rule, she grows up and realises that, perhaps, being obedient and trusting only in God’s will is not enough.
There’s a lot of religion in the story. The Amish put their trust in God and believe they were chosen to survive. The Elders and the Bishop of the community were just annoying and I just wanted the vampires to kill them. Couldn’t they see what was going on? Katie, with Alex and “the wizard’s” help, where the only ones who believed that their survival little had to do with God. Katie’s struggle concerning her beliefs was really well scripted.
Her relationship with Elijah was a pure contrast with Alex. She found herself trusting an Outsider she barely knew instead of her best friend and supposed future husband. Her denial of being baptised only demonstrated the inner fight she was having.
I only wished the end would be more explored or that news concerning a second volume would come out. I felt that there was so much to tell, so much to discover; how the world would survive with the epidemic of vampires, if they would find a cure, what would happen to Alex, Katie and Ginger once they were expelled from the community. These small bits had my fingernails crawling for more.
I have a warning though; if you have a weak stomach, there are scenes that might be too strong for you. Limbless bodies and its descriptions were shocking and had my stomach turning.
I recommend it if you are tired of vampire romance; there’s nothing nice about these vampires. There’s also romance, which helps to smooth things for a bit. And a character that grows up in the hardest way.