Bonnie's Reviews > Hallowed

Hallowed by Cynthia Hand
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's review
Jan 14, 2014

really liked it
bookshelves: 2012-books, young-adult, angels-would-fall, ya-paranormal
Read in January, 2013

Middle books in a series are hard. Especially in romantic YA series. The first book sets up the romance and it’s all exciting-new-beginnings and will-they, won’t-they. The last novel is when the heroine finally has to make a freaking decision. And the middle book is all about the indecision – usually the heroine breaks up (or is broken up with) the boy she chose/got with in book 1. It is beyond frustrating.

I do not care about Tucker v. Christen. This is stupid. You are stupid, Clara. Tucker and Clara got barely any cute scenes together. They were pretty much angsty the entire time. All the chemistry from last summer had dissipated, because Clara spent all year worried about Tucker dying then worried about Tucker finding out how much she’s still tied to Christen then Tucker being angry that Clara’s been keeping secrets from him and her entanglement with Christen. They’ve had a very strained relationship and I’m actually glad they broke up because I couldn’t take the angst any more.

It would’ve been better if Clara wasn’t so stupid and self-involved. She’s all, “Why would God care who I fall in love with?” but then spends the entire book angsting about how it’s her purpose to fall in love with Christen. WHY DOES NO ONE IN THIS SERIES EVEN TRY TO FIND AN ALTERNATIVE EXPLANATION. Clara’s mom totally think she’s meant to be with Christen. Clara’s mom got with her husband (view spoiler) eventually when she was supposed to. Clara's mom acts like it was REALLY BAD that she "fought her destiny" and that she shouldn't have done it, because it was FATE. Maybe she wasn’t fighting her destiny and causing grief! Maybe she was supposed to struggle for that long! Because if she hadn’t, wouldn’t Clara and Jeffrey been born too soon? If Clara is indeed supposed to be with Christen, would it make sense for her to be like 50 when they first met (which would have happened if Clara's mom had gotten married to her fated man and settled down to have children earlier)? Would that have worked in the timeline?

So even IF Clara and Christen are FATED to be romantically together, why does it have to be right now instead of later on in their lives? And why does no one consider that their relationship is meant to be in a platonic best-friends-forever sense. You can have intensely deep relationships with your friends. I guess there’s that “I saw us kissing!” crap. But maybe that’s for the future.

And why didn’t Jeffrey tell anyone about his Purpose. His mom would’ve understood and supported him. Also then Clara wouldn’t have felt the need to save Tucker in Book 1. GOD THIS FAMILY IS SO BAD AT SHARING IMPORTANT SHIT. Even when she was dying Clara’s mother refused to be helpful. So much pain could be avoided if everyone just TALKED TO EACH OTHER.

Clara is 99% incurious and never bothers to pump people for information (like, hello, her father, who is almost incapable of lying and inclined to be helpful). Clara had an angel who she could have ASKED about her Purpose - the thing that drove like 80% of the book - and she never did. Why not? I mean, her mom knows a lot, but she is also wrong a lot and it’s not like there’s a handbook to being an angelblood. It seems to me that it is 90% guess work. But maybe a frickin’ ANGEL would know more about it and maybe tell you what it’s all about. This lack of seeking information is tied together with Clara's tendency to jump to conclusions - always the wrong one. I mean, she’s a little primed for it by her loving but frustrating mother. Like maybe the reason that Tucker wasn’t at the funeral in her vision was that THERE WAS A GODDAMN BLACKWING PRESENT. And even when she knew it, Clara was still all "the only possible reason the Tucker could not be at the funeral is if we broke up." No sweetie. NO.

Clara also never bothers to really support Jeffrey when he is obviously going through a hard time. No, she’s too involved with herself. This is also shown by how she keeps calling Grace her best friend even though (a) they never talk (b) they never hang out. Angela is clearly her actual bestie. Grace is just kind of there – and frankly, she’s mostly around because she’s Tucker’s sister.

The flaws in this story tend to be extra frustrating because Hand is an overall great writer. The scenes with the Blackwing are terrifying. There’s some real fear and horror elements going on there. The whole Clara’s-mother-is-dying plot is beyond heartbreaking. Hiccupy-breathing and tears-in-the-eyes heartbreaking. The grief and pain and devastation is all there and beautifully dealt with. And I love a bunch of the side characters – Jeffrey might actually be my favorite, but I also love Tucker and Angela and even Christen. And Clara can be good but she is just SO GOD DAMN FRUSTRATING by her willingness to just go along with everything instead of thinking outside the box and trying to get answers.

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