Wednesday, June 13, 2012
Hallowed by Cynthia Hand
January 17, 2012; HarperTeen
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. (courtesy of Goodreads)
Hallowed was...good. I realize that "good" is the blandest descriptor aside from "interesting," but it is the best summation of my feelings about Hallowed. To be more specific, Hallowed was a step up from "okay," but a step below "really good." The interesting thing is that I read Angelfire and Unearthly within a few weeks of each other. I much preferred Unearthly. A year later, I read Wings of the Wicked and Hallowed within a few weeks of each other, but this time I preferred Wings of the Wicked.
I can't entirely describe what I disliked about Hallowed. Partially it was the lack of the qualities that made me love the first book so much. Especially Tucker. I adored Tucker in Unearthly. He had such a distinctive, funny, pleasant personality. He is still a large part of this novel, but their relationship has moved into the typical troubled "second book" realm. Instead of seeing sweet Tucker, he's either absent or jealous of the time Christian and Clara spend together. Aside from Tucker, the book just didn't capture me. When you read a book, you either gel with it or you don't. There's not always a rhyme or reason.
Moving on to what I liked about Hallowed and why I think most people will really enjoy it. The plot is stronger in this book than in Unearthly. There is a strong theme of choice versus destiny. Clara is fighting her pre-destined purpose. Is that the right thing to do? As time goes by, even Clara wonders whether she wants to fight destiny - or what she thinks destiny is. The theme causes the reader to pause and think about our own lives. In that way, Hallowed feels more important than the typical fluff paranormal.
There are several huge plot twists. Clara has a vision that someone she knows is going to die, but doesn't know who. She also learns a lot more about her past and her family. It doesn't sound all that exciting when I describe the plot, but I don't want to say anything to spoil it. Needless to say, I was very surprised. I only wish the plot development had started a little earlier. The first major twist showed up about halfway through. Up to that point, I was quite bored.
As I mentioned above, "second book" syndrome affects Clara and Tucker. Mostly because she and Christian spend so much time together doing angel stuff. As much as I love Tucker in Unearthly, my affection is changing. I am now Team Christian. I don't even like the guy all that much. He's a bit too "white bread" for my taste, but he feels right for Clara. Hallowed doesn't break any new ground in the love triangle storyline, but it still manages to be compelling.
If you liked Unearthly, you will probably really like Hallowed. I'm not sure why I didn't enjoy it very much. The second book advances the story and gets us deeper into the characters and their relationships. I did like Hallowed, but I wasn't able to lose myself in the story. It remained a book that I was forcing myself to get through because I wanted to know what was going to happen rather than because I was enthralled.