Series: Unearthly, #2
Release Date: January 17th, 2012
Number of Pages: 403
Rating: 4.5 stars
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.
This review is spoiler-free for both Unearthly and Hallowed.
There's something hauntingly beautiful and deeply lingering about this trilogy. It's not something I am able to easily put my finger on, but between Hand's dazzling writing style, the wonderfully developed characters and relationships, and the often creepy and incredibly interesting plot and (admittedly predictable) mystery alongside them, there is something irrevocably gorgeous about this novel.
It's no huge secret that most people, including me, have started this trilogy to see what all the hype was about Christian and Tucker. Those two boys, however, are not the main reason I've continued, and will undoubtedly finish, this trilogy. Would I like to see which of the two Clara ends up choosing? Absolutely. One of the most remarkable things about this trilogy is that the love triangle's outcome can go either way, and no option is blatantly obvious. But it's the remarkable relationship development between the characters, and the strong sense of the importance of family and the bonds that hold family together that have me coming back for more.
Hallowed is much more of a slower paced novel than Unearthly was, which may sound hard to believe, considering the fact that Unearthly was fairly slow paced. Hallowed deals with heavy topics such as destiny, love, betrayal, trust, death, and how to overcome the grief and sorrow that follows death, and also relies heavily on some lighter topics, such as college, friendship, and family. With all that having been said, it is clear that Hallowed will not be a novel for many people. Those looking for a novel and trilogy with heart-pounding action, suspense, and a quickly paced romance will be better off looking elsewhere for their ideal read, because they will not find much of that in Hallowed.
In fact, my adoration for the trilogy thus far is somewhat of an enigma to me, putting into consideration that my attention tends to stray while reading slower-paced novels, thereby impacting my enjoyment, and I generally dislike love triangles, but the thing about this trilogy is that I don't mind the slower pace or the love triangle. I want to know which college Clara decides to go to. I care deeply about what will happen to her character, and the directions her life will take, and the same goes to Christian and Tucker. What team I'm on between the two of them hardly makes a difference - I care and have grown to love both characters, and have truly loved seeing their relationships with Clara evolve from page one. I do have a preference between the two, but in the end, I know I'll be satisfied with whoever Clara ends up choosing.
And as for the slower pace of the novel, it more than pays off in the end. The journey of this novel could be described as being similar to the journey of trekking up a steep hill; you may hike up that hill for what may feel like forever, go through some hardships during the trip, go through and find some things you may not like about that journey, but once you reach the peak of the hill and look out at the vast expanse of land out in front of you, you know without a doubt in the world that you'd trek up the hill once more to see such beauty. You feel like breaking out into tears - and you most likely will - at the sheer beauty of everything, and all the trekking up the hill is revealed to be worth it, if only just for that view.
I've never been very good at metaphors, but with Hallowed, those feelings similar to trekking up that steep hill are inevitable. You will be overcome with grief; you will be overcome with happiness, and in the last chapter, you will be overcome with a mixture of the two. You will cry at the beauty of it all.
And you will love it. And you will want to go through it all over again.