Jessica's Reviews > The Blessed

The Blessed by Tonya Hurley
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's review
Aug 27, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: arcs
Read in May, 2012

In an age of young adult fiction that is focused on vampires, angels, demons, werewolves, witches, and dystopian heroines—there is little room for unique or unexplored storylines. However, Tonya Hurley has managed to surprise me and develop a story that utilizes something rarely explored in contemporary fiction: the Saints.

Hurley puts a modern day twist on the traditional stories of Christian martyrs Saint Lucia, Saint Cecilia, and Saint Agnes. Not only does this provide a wealth of possibilities for the narrative, but it gives the reader something interesting to learn about from history through the fictional world.

The characterization of each girl, Lucy, CeCe, and Agnes, are each unique to the stories of the Saints they represent, and even their voices are distinct. Now, the narrative is told in third person limited, but it frequently switches between the girls and a few other characters. Each character has their own developed vocabulary and tone. I applaud Hurley’s ability to do this, and to switch between point of views with minimal confusion or complication.

I have to say that the crowning glory of Hurley’s narrative is her attention to detail. Not only is each scene immaculately constructed, but the descriptions provided are exquisite and well written. For example, on page 267: “She tried to get to her knees but collapsed back down to the floor each time she attempted to right herself, like a child first learning to walk.” Or “the room was a split screen of pain and suffering” on page 250. The word choice is impeccable.

Another important aspect of this novel is the ability for the narrative to involve a large amount of religious detail without being “preachy” or “bible-thumping.” In fact, Hurley’s story manages to be extremely informative and inspiring without promoting a religious agenda. The heart of the story is belief in personal strength and the development of an immoveable friendship.

There is a slight romantic angle, but it doesn’t steer the entire story or give the main characters their only motivation. Hurley has given me the story I’ve wanted for years—one with strong females accepting their lot and living to their full potential.

I really enjoyed The Blessed, and will be sitting on the edge of my seat waiting for the second installment. For readers looking for a new story and for new characters to love and cheer for, then Agnes, CeCe, and Lucy are your next favorites.

4.5 Stars.

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Reading Progress

05/27/2012 page 60
15.0% "Very interesting"
05/28/2012 page 124
31.0% "I really like the writing style...but I'm still not totally sure what is going on."
05/29/2012 page 388
97.0% "Ahhhh! So close."
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Jessica Review will be posted once I get word from the publisher.

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