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The Hallowed Ones

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Katie is on the verge of her Rumspringa, the time in Amish life when teenagers can get a taste of the real world. But the real world comes to her in this dystopian tale with a philosophical bent. Rumors of massive unrest on the “Outside” abound. Something murderous is out there. Amish elders make a rule: No one goes outside, and no outsiders come in. But when Katie finds a gravely injured young man, she can’t leave him to die. She smuggles him into her family’s barn—at what cost to her community? The suspense of this vividly told, truly horrific thriller will keep the pages turning.

311 pages, Paperback

First published September 25, 2012

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About the author

Laura Bickle

29 books498 followers
Laura Bickle grew up in rural Ohio, reading entirely too many comic books out loud to her favorite Wonder Woman doll. After graduating with an MA in Sociology – Criminology from Ohio State University and an MLIS in Library Science from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, she patrolled the stacks at the public library and worked with data systems in criminal justice. She now dreams up stories about the monsters under the stairs, also writing contemporary fantasy novels under the name Alayna Williams.

Her work has been included in the ALA’s Amelia Bloomer Project 2013 reading list and the State Library of Ohio’s Choose to Read Ohio reading list for 2015-2016.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 799 reviews
Profile Image for Stacia (the 2010 club).
1,045 reviews3,947 followers
September 25, 2012
"Plain folk are taught that evil is spiritual. The absence of God."
Mrs. Parsall bit back a sob. "Well it seems as if God's left the building, and we're left to our own devices."

4.5 stars. When I first saw that there was a book featuring both Amish and Vampires, I'm pretty sure that I had a GTFO reaction, but in a good way.

I mean, it's a book about the Amish.
I was a fast hooker.
Well, at least, that's what my mother said about my crochet skills.

And Vampires. The Scary Kind. No explanation necessary.

How were these two worlds going to collide? Could a story like this be attempted without everything turning out to look ridiculous and campy?

Why, yes. Yes it can be done. Here is the proof.

First off, this was a perfect setting for terror. The isolation alone made for an experiment in fear. Having the Amish trapped on their own land without being sure what exactly was going on outside (yet knowing that there was something trying to get in to them) was chilling.

Katie is one of the only 'plain' folk who actually suspects that the creatures are vampires, having survived a near run-in with them herself.
I peered into the smoke-encrusted glass and saw a pair of red eyes, glowing with reflected light like a cat's in the smoky darkness.

She's torn between what she's always been taught and what she now knows to be real.
I was a hypocrite. When the roof came down, it was going to fall on me first.

Katie's hiding a secret in her barn - a young, wounded 'outsider' named Alex. He's everything that her 'promised future husband' is not - and he believes Katie when the others don't. Their friendship is formed through secrets and lies. Alex and his 'bonnet' lean on one another when they have no one else to turn to.
"Not every guy gets to go play firebug with a wizard and Bonnet the Vampire Slayer."

Be prepared for a read that is slow to action, but still interesting in its own way. There is definitely a spooky horror aspect to the story which comes closer to the end, but much of this book is about Katie questioning her place within the Amish community. I appreciate the author taking the time to explain more about this way of life. Maybe because I've read other books about the Amish culture, I've come to appreciate the hardworking dedication of the plain folk. If the story had been lacking in authentic detail, I would have felt cheated that the author just used this location as a device to explain (which I won't divulge) why the vampires had a harder time getting onto their land.

*edit* I have just been informed that there will be a second book!

So, for now, I'm giving out an enthusiastic cheer for this unique take on an undead story.

This book was provided from the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Navessa.
Author 10 books7,457 followers
March 4, 2016
When I first started reading this book I was struck by a moronic genius idea. Remembering all the sheer terror fun I had as a teenager staying up late and watching scary movies I decided to try to bring back that youthful stupidity excitement and prove to myself how dumb tough I still am. You see, I decided to only read this book at night.

Gah. I was totally right, I’m such a weakling bad ass. This was definitely NOT me after the very first night of attempting my stupid fucking plan.

The next morning after getting NO sleep sleeping like a baby I realized that since I already proved how many nightmares I can give myself tough I still am I might as well abandon out of fear dismiss such a silly and obviously childish, not to mention unnecessary, scheme.

I then proceeded to read this book in our very well lit library with the sun streaming through the windows because I’m chickenshit the lighting was just so good for reading.

It still scared the bejesus out of me

To those who think this book was scary I say, pshhhhh, not if you’re a total badass like me.

This review can also be found at The Book Eaters.
Profile Image for Jamie.
1,387 reviews1,104 followers
January 21, 2019
Creepy! I was not expecting to be wigged out with this book. That does not happen very often. Especially for a 'young adult' book! This has just enough edge and I think the more innocent, naive Amish aspect plays heavily into that. And I loved the freshness of that.

Kate is a young Amish woman who was ready to branch out and see the world with her friend Elijah. She is so very excited for her Rumspringa and dreams of going to the movies, fun clothes, etc. But the world is rapidly changing in ways no one expected. When a couple of young men don't return home one night, the community begins to learn of something very...wrong and bloody. Fearful of what is happening the Amish community closes their gates to the outside world in self preservation. After saving and hiding a young man, Alex, Katie has broken the Elders ruling. She is determined to learn the truth. But it comes with some high risks.

Kate learns that what is happening is that people are turning into 'vampires.' These are very different from vampires I am used to. And with how they operate and do rapid town turning, it reminds me of zombies. So in my mind they are a scary hybrid.

The story is fast paced and wonderful. It doesn't let go for an instant! The connecting toward Kate is strong and easy to step into her shoes and experience all the terrors she goes through. And to think, this is the beginning!

Read this at night, alone. I have always enjoyed a good scare and that is so hard to find in books. This isn't quiet there but again, it is a YA. but it has all the right feels. And being a young adult novel, more appropriate without going too dark. If you scare easy, read during the day, when someone else is home. Regardless, read this!
Profile Image for Karina Halle.
Author 131 books15.7k followers
August 27, 2013
Don't read this if you expect/need a lot of sex in your books.

Don't read this if you have trouble reading about people's faith (even if their faith is forgotten or challenged and isn't preachy, just informative and compelling).

DO NOT read this if you hate to be scared and you can't handle a little gore.

A little gore? If you're okay with spider vampire people with red eyes, crawling slowly down the walls preparing to rip your head off so only a bloody vertebrae remains, then you'll be okay.

I've had this book for some time but only got into a few days ago. Can I just say it's the worst book to read at night? Seriously, I've had nightmares and fitful sleep for the last two days.

This is YA and yet it's not. It's a very realistic, horrifying and beautifully written tale of free will and horror. Amish horror. Yep. Laura Bickle, you've entered Stephen King territory for me.

What's it about? Our plucky "Plain" heroine, Katie is Amish, content with her life...well, sorta. She's really looking forward to Rumspringa, when she can go into the "Outside" world with her best guy friend Elijah, and figure out if the Amish faith really is for her. You know, dip her toes in with us heathens and what not.

The thing about Katie though, even though her faith may separate us, she's every real. Extremely resilient and rebellious to what she is told - she doesn't just accept everything, faith included, but questions. But she doesn't do stupid rebellious shit like every YA heroine out there. She rebels as I would, thinking first and using heart and instinct.

Anyhoo, it starts with a helicopter crash in the cornfields, a horrifying scene in itself, and the fact that she sees a red-eyed...being...in the copter before it explodes in a fireball. Things very slowly, very ominously, come into place. Something terrible has happened in the outside world. There are no medical services or firetrucks responding (their "English" aka Outsider friend is visiting and she has a cell phone), the nearest town is deserted. Weird shit. The kind of "I think the end of the world is coming but how or why?" kind of shit that really, really disturbs me. This is why zombie movies freak me the fuck out.

Oh, but this isn't a zombie movie. Oh no, I think it's worse.

Remember our friend the vampire? Do you remember they used to be scary at one point? Well in this book, it's the monster from your nightmares. That's right...MONSTER. And holy crap,do you feel the unease and hopelessness that the world will end when the last living thing has had their intestines ripped out and their head chewed off.

There's also an injured Canadian boy (yay!) who feisty Katie rescues and hides in her barn. Their relationship builds slow and at the end will surprise you (sex in YA novels is awesome...sex with an Amish girl in YA novels...SUPER AWESOME).

Anyhoo, I'm rambling...got no sleep because of this damn book. Thank god I only have to wait until Tuesday to get the next one in the series. I must say the way the author portrays the honest is compelling -it both shows the hypocrisy of the rules of the religion (particularly when it comes to the governing Elders) but also shows the heart and soul of it too.

Seriously. If you're a fan of horror and suspense and lyrical writing and all things awesome and unique, do read this book. You won't be sorry.

Unless you value your sleep.

March 9, 2013
Interesting book with a storyline one doesn't encounter too often. The heroine is a spirited Amish girl about to go off on her Rumspringa trip with her childhood friend Elijah, a boy she might one day marry. Their little community is isolated, obviously, but they do have contact with the outside world including a woman who visits fairly regularly. Suddenly, strange things start happening, a plane crashes, and the outside world doesn't respond. When several members of the community who has been visiting town go missing, Katie and Elijah go investigating and find that the entire town is empty. The elders of the village then decide to completely cut the community off from the outside world, even refusing to save Alex, a young man who is injured and who has stumbled onto their land. Despite their warning, Katie takes it upon herself to help Alex survive.

Within their community, the elders are creating a little witch hunt and keeping the majority of the community in blessed ignorance, but Katie and Alex knows that there is a vampire invasion going on outside. It might be up to them to save the day, since everyone else is in denial or ignorance.

Amish. Vampire apocalypse. Never did I think these would go together. I have to admit I expected a zombie apocalypse, so it shocked me more than a little when I found out that the bad guys were vampires. The protagonist was likeable, strong without being bitchy, sheltered but not TSTL. She has the common sense to hide her tracks and avoid getting into trouble, and is brave enough to stand up against the elders and do what she knows is right. Her religious upbringing gives her faith, but she is never preachy, just truly curious about the nature of religion when it seems that it is the power of faith, not a specific faith, that repels these vampires. As an agnostic reader, I appreciate the non-preachiness of a book whose heroine's culture is so steeped in tradition and religion.

The book is difficult to read in parts, because it gets a little bogged down, I find Alex a little annoying and patronizing, but he is from the outside world and I think I would find myself a little high-handed myself when dealing with what I consider a backwards community. It's an original book, and while not the best written or compelling, makes for an interesting read.
Profile Image for Bradley.
Author 5 books3,906 followers
October 23, 2015
The novel showed promise through the beginning. An Amish Story meeting non-sparkly vamps meets a coming of age story. Promise.

I enjoyed the expectations things going very wrong, and waited with baited breath. The immersion in Amish society was a pleasant diversion and I really didn't have any problems with the many references to godliness. It was what it was.

And then I became a bit annoyed with the rather one-dimensional reactions of the Bishop. The whole Amish became a caricature of itself instead of remaining human. Or, I should say, the only one who remained human was the main character. And that is so very typical for YA titles that it might as well change its title from trope to tripe.

There was, and is, still a ton of room to grow as characters while NOT falling into a Silent Hill trap. And even Silent Hill had character progression for its villains.

The vampires were all one-dimensional bogeymen. The Amish elders were pretty much the same. Which was rather sad, because, like I said, the novel showed a lot of promise in the beginning. We'd have enjoyed a thoroughly immersive look into a society-next-door who thinks very different from most of the readers who'd pick up this book, plus we'd have an adventure/survival horror so in tune with the modern bildungsroman surrounding zombiepunk.

Without zombies, of course, but the trope is part of the current zeitgeist, and I can roll with it. Still, along the same lines, I'd have preferred to roll out the man eating plants from Day of the Triffids or perhaps a plague of Hulks a-la what was implied at the end of 2008's Incredible Hulk. Alas. That would have been pretty cool surrounding an Amish community. *sigh*

The development of the novel was ultimately average and predictable. It wasn't bad, per-se, but it might be rather forgettable. I'll read its sequel out of a sense of duty, but at least the first wasn't boring.

Of course, this would have been an AWESOME book if we were dealing with a crossover-like story that used the Amish as established from TV's Banshee. Then we'd have some truly kick-ass and bloody over-the-top adventure that might just push back the vampire menace. *shiver* That would have been freaking awesome. :)
Profile Image for Brandi.
329 reviews801 followers
May 8, 2013

Looks about right.

I absolutely loved this book! I haven't felt a really good connection to anyone in a while, and not because I haven't read some good books recently (The 5th Wave, and Not a Drop to Drink come to mind), but even with those two I didn't get that instant pull I want. You know what I mean.

The story is about an Amish girl named Katie who witnesses the zombie apocalypse. Wait don't go!! Hear me out first. Now, I know you might be thinking that yet another zombie book isn't going to be special, but it is! I'm not a big fan of zombie books at all actually, and I think it's safe to say I've read no more than 5, if that, so I put this one off for a long time, and what a disservice it was to put this book off! Don't make my mistake.

Laura Bickle can write, and tell, a helluva story folks. I've always been fascinated by the Amish; I wish I could be more self reliant like them, and reading this book made it feel like I was experiencing the real Amish way of life. I can't say that everything was accurate, but it felt true. I will be reading everything that comes out for this series, as well as checking out her other works. She just got herself a fangirl.

Our protagonist is Katie, like I was saying, and she is one strong young woman! There is no damsel in distress here, this chick is brave...and sometimes foolish, lol. There's a time for bravery and time to hide under the covers girl! It all started with a helicopter crash in their corn field, and she saw something unnatural in the wreckage. Shortly thereafter she finds a man wounded outside of their fence and the Elders refuse to help him since they're afraid of what's happening on the Outside. Katie makes some difficult choices and in the end, they change her whole future. I absolutely adore this girl.

I did not want to lie down and wait for death like Ginger and the others, with their veil of ignorance drawn around them and surrendering their will to live to others.
I wanted my life to matter.
And I wanted to choose how it mattered.

Katie is not the only character here that I can't get enough of. Every single person was fully realized and came to matter to me, whether I disliked them or not, they became part of my world. Elijah, Alex, Ginger, and their families. I teared up a few times while seeing the pain that Ginger was in, and found myself glaring at the Kindle when the Elders were pissing me off. I can't say enough about how great this book was for me.

This is a story about love, friendship, survival, and freedom. It's a story about accepting yourself, and your own power, and overcoming insurmountable obstacles to do what you feel is right. I highly recommended this to anyone who would enjoy such stories.
Profile Image for Ellen Gail.
833 reviews375 followers
July 10, 2017
"Faith is one thing. Survival is another."

Have you ever read an Amish vampire bio-terrorism spiritual crisis end of the world YA horror drama? Are you looking for one?

Look no further! The Hallowed Ones is here for you!

Y'all I'll be honest; the beginning of this left me lukewarm. I wanted a little less talk, a little more action. I fretted over which direction the story would go. I shouldn't have worried. Soon there was action aplenty, along with some pretty spectacular talk. My enjoyment of this increased exponentially as I read on.

I put my face close to his, snarled: "I don't care. I don't care what you think of me, what you approve of, what you forgive. You are not my God.....Not you. Not ever. Not even after the vampires chew us up and spit us out, and we're all dead, rotting meat waiting in line for the kingdom of heaven or the road to hell. Not ever."

A big reason that I loved The Hallowed Ones is our protagonist, Katie. Having not gone on Rumspringa yet, the Plain life is all she's ever known. Amish women are supposed to be obedient and yielding. However, blind acceptance is not in her nature. Katie's tried her best to be a proper Amish woman, taking care of all her chores, especially raising litters of puppies (golden retriever puppies! Awww!), and being a virtuous, productive member of her community. However, she finds herself unable to blindly follow the Elder's rules, especially when she feels that those rules are blatantly endangering the community. That combined with a love of Wonder Woman comics & Coca-Cola, and Katie is unsure if she's ready to commit to Amish life forever.

She's smart and practical and thinks before she acts; Katie is basically exactly what I want in a protagonist. Do you know how she decides which dress to wear to a social singing? She goes with the brown dress instead of the blue because it will make her harder to see at night. It's little stuff like that that made me love this book even more.

When the outside world begins to be overrun with bloody acts of violence and rioting, (aka vampires), it seems like Katie's Amish community might be one of a few safe havens left. The Elders order the community sealed off for their own safety. When Katie finds an outsider collapsed just outside the fence, her faith, community, family, and endurance are all put to the test.

"Hera and Aphrodite were gods that people actually worshiped for centuries."
"I could never imagine that."
"Imagine having a pantheon of gods?"
"Well, that. That and being able to call upon a god and...and to have them help you."

Faith plays a huge part in The Hallowed Ones. On the same note, I loved how Alex (aka unconscious stranger from the outside) was a sounding board for Katie. He never mocked her beliefs, in fact he was curious to know more about Amish life. But he also wanted to know how Katie felt and thought about other ideas and beliefs. He valued her opinions, just as she valued his. You know what, they're both great. I love them both.

I did not know that the human body could hold so much blood. I suppose that I must have had some concept of it. I helped on those weekends when pigs and cows were butchered in the spring and fall, watched as the blood drained from them into buckets. But that was outdoors, not in a confined space. And we only butchered one or two at a time. Not a whole family.

I also really appreciated how bloody this was! You can't have a vampire story without blood. It just doesn't work. The violence and gore and the way it shocked Katie's pacifistic community was crucial in making the threat feel real and dangerous.

Basically, I'm just pleased as punch with this book as a whole. The Hallowed Ones pushed all my right buttons and it was a total pleasure to read.
Profile Image for ♥Rachel♥.
1,822 reviews834 followers
October 20, 2012
4.5 Stars

I was wowed by this story. Who would have thought the mix of Amish people, end-of-the-world, and vampires would make a bloody brilliant story?!! I was riveted, scared and on the edge of my seat in parts!

Katie is an Amish girl preparing for her Rumspringa, and she can hardly wait. Rumspringa literally means “running around,” and it’s a time when the Amish youth travel to the Outside and have a glimpse of life outside the walls of their community. That way, when they get baptized and commit to the Amish way and god, they are sure it’s what they want. Life seems to have other plans for Katie, because the Outside world has changed and soon Rumspringa will be the least of her concerns.

The Hallowed Ones started out basically giving us a look into the life the Amish, or the Plain Folk as they call themselves. I found it fascinating learning about their ways. They lead such a simpler life than most of us do, probably a more content one. It had me asking a lot of what-if questions, and had me wondering how I’d fare in a community like this.

Katie, was a girl I could totally relate to. She had a mind of her own, and didn’t just accept what their leaders said at face value, although she often felt guilty about it afterward. I have similar reactions to authority, which doesn’t always turn out well, lol! When they find an Outsider at the edge of their fence, unconscious and injured, the Elders decide not only to leave him there, but to bar anyone from going in or out of the gates. Katie is outraged that her people would refuse aid, and disobeys the Elders order by bringing in and sheltering this stranger in an unused barn.

Inevitably, what’s been going on the outside trickles in. Let me warn you right now, that parts of this story should not be read in the dark. I had chills and nervous energy thrumming through my body while reading this. There are some scary scenes and some pretty gruesome ones, as well, and I was lapping it up! I love it when a book scares the you-know-what out of me! Of course, I pay for it later when I’m too scared to shut the final light off before going to bed!

As if this story couldn’t get any better, we have romance too! I’ll admit, this was light on romance but it was enough, even for a romance junkie like me to be satisfied. This sent a thrill though me:

His fingers meshed in mine. I nodded wordlessly and moved away, pulling against his grip. But he didn’t let go. He reeled me back in as if I were a fish. With a startled gasp, I stumbled and landed against his chest. A flicker of amusement glittered in his eyes. He kissed me on my forehead, whispered against my skin. “Be careful Bonnet.” *

The Hallowed pleasantly surprised me with an original story and captivating characters. The story ended and I immediately wanted more! I wasn’t pulling my hair out over the ending, but I felt like we were just at the halfway point. I guess we kind of are, because there’s a sequel coming in fall of 2013. I’ll be the first in line waiting to pick it up!

*Quote taken from and uncorrected proof and may change in the final copy.

Thank you to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and Netgalley for allowing me to read this.

You can find this review and more at The Readers Den.
Profile Image for Giselle.
990 reviews6,363 followers
December 2, 2013
Whoa! Who knew a story set in an Amish community could be so spine-chillingly gory! The Hallowed Ones is for every post-apocalyptic fan out there. It offers originality in its setting and a freakish paranormal aspect. It offered a lot more than I expected.

Katie is about to get her first taste of the outside world when all of a sudden that world gets dark and creepy. First there's a helicopter crash where Katie glimpses at something quite eerie. Then she finds the town desolate and empty when she goes to try to find two of their own who never came home. Something is definitely not right. The creep factor makes itself present very early on in this novel, showering each page with this tense uncertainty. Even though things start happening quickly, The Hallowed Ones is a very character oriented thriller that advances at a brisk, but unhurried pace. We get to learn a lot about this Amish community; how they live, the laws that guide their lives and decisions, and how they have been kept safe from the end of the world so far. While it obviously has to have religious undertones, it never goes beyond the necessary. Don't let this scare you off either, I'm the kind of reader who would rather stay away from anything religious in books and I was nothing but fascinated with the role that the Amish culture plays in this story.

The apocalypse arrives quickly and suddenly, as it would. Since it's told through Katie's point-of-view, we don't quite know what's going on right away. As we slowly learn the conditions of Outside, we're filled with anxiety and fear of what we'll come across next. Murderous, blood thirsty creatures is not what you ever expect to find on an errand run, that's for sure. The suspense is never ending, the threat is omnipresent, and the terror is very real. There is no sugar coating the massacres we come upon either, made considerably real due to the Amish culture who take care of their own dead - from the clean up to the burial. The creatures causing this are part science, part paranormal - at least that's what's theorized by our knowledge of them so far. It borrows greatly from classic tales, but the author sticks to the most primitive, vicious side of their lore. There is still much more to learn about them, including where they came from, in the following installments, at least that's what I'm assuming.

In my opinion, the creatures were not the only aspects of horror in The Hallowed Ones. I was quite horrified by how the elders reacted in parts. This is the end of the world, yet they refuse to consider the realities of what's happening, even though it means certain death to the whole community as well as the person they ban for trying to keep everyone safe and alive. It makes you question a lot of things in terms of belief and values, whether you agree with it or not.

Well researched, atmospheric, and surprisingly horrific, The Hallowed Ones is one suspenseful novel you will not want to put down!

A copy was provided by the publisher for review.

For more of my reviews, visit my blog at Xpresso Reads
Profile Image for Keertana.
1,126 reviews2,161 followers
December 9, 2012
The Hallowed Ones was one of those novels I remained skeptical about until I was a good half-way through the book. It had come recommended to me by all my most trust bloggers, so of course, I knew it had to be good, but I was still skeptical. You see, my mom went through a phase where she was enamored with the Amish culture and lifestyle and as such, we'd have novels with Amish women on the front cover and I'd often find her watching movies featuring men with long beards making butter. As her daughter, it was my responsibility to rebel against her strange new obsession - which I did quite obstinately, mind you - so when Amish people cropped up in YA Literature, I knew I'd be a tough cookie to convert. I respect the Amish and their culture immensely, but I've simply found it very boring. I didn't see it as something interesting, new, or fascinating in the least - although now I certainly do. The Hallowed Ones opened my eyes and gave me a new appreciation of the Amish lifestyle, all with a healthy dose of good 'ole vampiric fear.

Imagine this: You live in an isolated establishment, without any electricity or means of obtaining information when suddenly, out of nowhere, people are panicking. Everywhere. You don't know how, you don't even know why, but they just are. Now, a mysterious stranger enters your settlement, wounded, injured, and potentially dangerous. Outside, the world is in chaos. Inside, your world is ignorant. A stranger is unwelcome at this time; you know nothing about him after all. It is in this scary, terrifying realm that debut author, Laura Bickle, has placed us. Katie, our protagonist, has been eagerly anticipating Rumspringa, the time when Amish teens leave their homes to experience the normal lifestyle of other American teens, when a sudden epidemic - one that converts humans into vampire-like creatures - hits. With the crash landing of plane, bringing with it the arrival of a stranger who Katie saves, Katie's biggest problem is no longer what dress to wear to church, but how to prevent vampires from breaking into her Amish establishment.

The Hallowed Ones is, evidently, a novel that took me by surprise. Katie is a strong, fierce, and independent protagonist. Far from the obedient and submissive heroine I assumed she'd be, Katie proves to have a mind of her own and follow her own heart. What I loved most about this novel was the fact that it exposed corruption, even in the heart of a religious establishment. The Elders don't always do what's in the best interests of the community and seeing Katie stand up to that, all while simultaneously going against her parent's wishes and all those she holds dear, was truly awe-inspiring. It takes a special type of courage to be able to stand up for oneself and for ones beliefs, and Katie has certainly earned my respect as an incredible woman. Furthermore, her inner vulnerabilities despite her outer strength made me instantly connect with her. Although Kate is Amish, she yearns for some of the simple luxuries those Outside have and that, combined with her complexity and depth, made her a protagonist to root for.

In addition to Katie, Alex completely stole my heart. Completely. I loved the slow burn of his romance with Katie and while not wholly unexpected, it still came as a surprise how well-suited these two were for each other. Perhaps best of all is the fact that it never detracted from the creepy - and utterly twisty - plot and only added to my enjoyment of the tale. Theirs is a romance I am excited to see play out in the sequel and simply thinking about it brings a silly grin to my face. Elijah, contrary to what we may think when we first begin the novel, isn't the primary romantic interest after all. Instead, he plays a rather different role in this novel, one which was unexpected and remarkably tied the plot together, making this tale all the more scintillating as I was unable to predict nearly anything.

Yet, what makes The Hallowed Ones stand out, for me at least, is Katie's inner musings of God. Bickle brings to life the Amish settlement that is the backdrop of her debut and while she has utterly changed my view of their simplistic - but satisfying - lifestyle, I enjoyed thinking through the tougher questions she probed about religion. Now, this isn't a religious book in the least. In fact, despite taking place in a religious setting, it never becomes preachy and never even touches upon religious aspects or undertones. Yet, we know, innately, that each member of this establishment believes in God and this belief, which comes to be tested with the arrival of a mysterious stranger and a deadly disease, is subtly alluded to and made the novel all the more interesting for me, simply because it made me think about my own faith. It is all very subtle, but Katie's own questioning of why, or how really, God could come to let this be only further made me connect with her. I think everyone at some point in their lives has thought this and to see it present in this novel, albeit extremely subtly and never detracting from the terrifying plot line focused on vampires, was satisfying to say the least.

All in all, The Hallowed Ones is a novel I can't believe I hesitated to read. It's a debut that it simply spectacular and I am already eagerly counting down the days till the sequel. Bickle writes with a skill that would surprise some for a debut author and her in-depth characters, well-constructed plot, and overall originality makes this a story any vampire or paranormal fan can't miss!

You can read this review and more on my blog, Ivy Book Bindings.
Profile Image for Simona B.
886 reviews2,969 followers
December 26, 2015
“For me, that was love. Tangible. Love was what was in front of me, not a distant fantasy.”

That's why you literally threw yourself in the arms of a man you'd met barely a week before, I guess?

This book will not be easy to review. I'll probably touch a bunch of thorny issues, therefore I state beforehand that in anything I'll say is not in any way implied any kind of judgement on my part. On the other hand, I will probably express some of my personal (personal, people. If you don't know what this mysterious and lovable word means, please go check before freaking out) opinions. We live in a free world -well, more or less- so just as I think that you are free to believe in/to who and what you want, please adopt the same attitude towards me.

Katie, the main character, is Amish. The blurb of this book, when I first read it, thrilled me so much that I decided to read it despite the fact that I knew that I was likely to be annoyed by many elements which, mathematically, I couldn't not encounter in a book set in an Amish society. For those who are not informed about it, the Amish belief is based upon some basic 'truths', two of which I particularly reject: the necessity of blind obedience from every member of the community and the certainty that whatever you do in life, at the end is God to decide if you'll spend your eternity with your mouth stuffed with ambrosia and playing a lire or chased by the Malebranche, but if you behave well you are more likely to end up among the other well-connected ones.
Oh, wait. That's what I loathe about religion in general.

"I'm sorry. I'm just... I've had a bad morning."
His eyes widened. "You didn't go back to town, did you?"
"No. I went to church."
"Ah, well. That explains it."

(Do I have to stress the fact that we're joking and that you don't have to take it as an offense? Really, guys, take it easy please.)

Anyway, what I feared was that the story would be filled with moralism and religious propaganda, but *drumroll* turns out it's not. The protagonist is honestly depicted as a normal Amish girl who's spent her whole life in that community, and thus has a very limited experience of anything that could be defined as 'other', but also who, at the same time, has the desire to see and experiment more than what she can find in her limited world.

Actually, the development of this trait of her personality is not as well-handled as I wished. This theme, the struggle to free oneself from the boundaries of a mentality, of a society, and yes, of a religion, is very close to my personal experience and to my heart, so I am a perfectionist when it comes to it. Here, in my opinion, it is dealt with in a messy, hesitant way: at first, Katie pretends to be rebellious and independent when it's clear she's not, tries to make a display of it and doesn't manage to do in it convincingly. She, or better, the author, tries to fool us into believing she is strong and she has always thought with her own mind, but that's it. She just says it, never actually shows it. She goes against the rule of her community when she saves the life of a stranger the Elders had practically doomed to death, but that's called humanity, in case you'd never heard. You don't just let someone die because a little old man with a huge beard tells you so.

Also, I had some issues with Katie's logic. In the book, a plague of some sort is spreading all over the world and as a result people turn into vampires (and this is so well explained and handled that ahahahah. But I'll talk about it in a minute). Which is to say, now for Amish people the Outside is even more forbidden than it was before. At one point when she and another character are talking about education, Katie remarks that, given the horrible situation on the Outside, she's kind of glad Amish are not permitted to be educated in proper colleges. Wait what? Now that the the rest of the world is going through apocalypse you're happy you couldn't go there to build yourself up a little culture?


Now! The vampire thing. I swear I have still no idea whether this supposed plague or whatever is to be ascribed to a scientific reason or a divine one. Maybe the core of the book was that we had to wonder this very thing? My point does not change. That's not the way it has to be done. This illness is said to have spread from some lab in DC (maybe? I admit I don't remeber the city) but then holy things (yes, holy things. It's that general) seem to be able to keep it at bay. So I don't really know what to think. Instead of making me curious it just bored me and annoyed me to death.

Speaking about this, the first part of the book is so filled with horror/apocalyptic movies stereotypes that I was tempted to DNF it or just swiftly skim through the rest. Fluorescent lights everywhere, even in otherwise perfectly normal stores, mysterious and muffled noises galore and, last but not least, eerie flash of white things running around like rabbits (please, don't ask).

Then it got unexpectedly better. I can't even name what exactly made it better, but I'm pretty sure it was Alex. With his presence, also Katie slightly improved. I still don't see the reason to insert the insta-love in such an abrupt and unjustified way, but Alex's character is not bad at all. Also the plot kind of got more fast-paced and interesting. That's how I found myself hooked in the last third of the book and ended up giving three stars instead of two.

In spite of this, the characters' development remains among the worst I've ever seen. Elijah, Katie's betrothed, tells her he'll wait for her even if she is not ready to marry like tomorrow (for once she and I agreed) and twenty-four hours later he has a new girl already. The same girl his now dead brother was courting, by the way. Katie can only think how important it is for her to be respecrful of God's will and then she's all 'my body is ready' with Alex. Nonsense, nonsense. Coherence, the unknown.

Summing up, it was an enjoyable, original read, in the concept if not in the execution. I think a lot of things could have been developed far better than this and that this surely spoiled m enjoyment and the quality of the book both. I don't think I'll read the second and last instalment, because I read in a lot of review that the religious element is unbelievably more pressing in it than it was in here and I don't see the point of torturing myself and the write a review not so benevolent. So thank you, Katie, but our adventure together ends here.
Profile Image for Jill.
600 reviews1,375 followers
September 27, 2012

Three weeks before Katie is due for her Rumspringa, when Amish youth go Outside and taste the real world, news filters into their isolated community that strange things are happening Outside. When a young man is found injured near the border of their property, the elders decide to leave him to die, fearing he may be a carrier of a contagion that's affecting the outside population. But Katie's never been too fond of following the rules, so she hides him in a barn and cares for him.

Alexander Green is a young Canadian student who has witnessed the terror and disintegration of the world as we know it. Fleeing from the fast-moving vampires, Alex ends up outside the Plain Folk's community. As he recovers, he and Katie work together with the local Hexenmeister gathering snippets of information from outside to piece together what's happened and how they're going to survive the apocalypse.

Though this is recommended for YA, it is a somewhat brutal and gory story. The romance between Katie and Alex is very light with very little descriptive detail. The real strength of this novel lies in its heroine Katie and the world that has been left as the vampires kill off the humans. It was wonderfully atmospheric and horrifyingly apocalyptic. I loved it.

Although there is a conclusion and no real cliffhanger, there are questions unanswered and way more story to be told. I do have a few quibbles with the way the romance was handled.

This was a fast, entertaining read that readers of YA, vampires and apocalyptic/dystopian plot lines will enjoy.

Steam: 1.5

ARC courtesy of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt via NetGalley

Profile Image for Regina.
625 reviews385 followers
December 23, 2012
To read a guest blog post by this author and more reviews like this check out: Laura Bickle's Guest Blog Post @ Badass

It is unusual to read to read a different take on two of the most popular genres — vampires and the apocalypse. But that is exactly what the Hallowed Ones is — a completely different telling of vampires and the end of the world. I am partial to survival stories, whether they are non fiction, written by Laura Ingalls or a modern apocalyptic tale. And having glutted myself on urban fantasy and vampire stories, any author that writes vampires in a different way and adds in the apocalypse starts off as a winner for me.

The vampires in the Hallowed Ones may lure their victims, but they aren’t sexy and they are not romantic. These vamps are true monsters and something to fear after sundown. But while vamps and the end of the world are the general themes of the novel, the main character Katie faces other challenges. Katie engages in normal rebellion, or what appears normal to me. However, her questioning of the elders in her community and her questioning of religious and social belief structures sets other scarier monsters after her — i.e. leaders of the community who are power hungry.

What happens when a community already closed off from the world is one of the last remaining communities in the world? What happens when a community already imbued with religious superiority sees itself as the sole survivors according to god’s will? I really enjoyed the religious focus of this story. As the story begins, religious belief is just a part of Katie’s life. Yet as the horror of what is happening begins to be known to Katie she begins to question her community’s religious belief. How could a witch’s coven in New Jersey hold off the vampires if they do not believe as her community did? How could Buddhist monks survive the vampires when they do not believe (according to Katie’s community) in the one true god and the correct path? Is it Katie’s destiny to submit to the will of the elders and a husband? Having said that, the religious element in the Hallowed Ones is not offensively done and is not overwhelming.

The Hallowed Ones is not a complex story and it is told simply. But it is engaging and hard to put down. The characters are interesting and Katie, the main character, is one that grows, changes but definitely has her flaws. Katie is by definition a “young adult”, she is considering marriage, committing herself to the church as an adult and has a love interest. But the romance and the teen concerns are not the main focus of this story. Which I appreciated. I like a tad bit of romance thrown in, but I enjoy my post-apocalypse stories more when the struggle the characters go through is something separate from the romance story line. If you enjoy post-apoc and urban fantasy stories, I think this is a story you would enjoy.
Profile Image for Sarah.
729 reviews73 followers
March 22, 2016
I decided to DNF. I was expecting the Amish portion of the story to be more accurate to their faith and beliefs. It's really bothering me and I don't want to continue.
Profile Image for Tracey.
1,074 reviews241 followers
February 24, 2015
I wonder how someone who hasn't been around the fictional block a few times would read the beginning of this novel. I wonder if someone who hasn't seen a few horror movies (okay, in my case, mostly commercials for horror movies) and read a few scary books (and who didn't take in the synopsis of this book) would see the first couple of chapters.

Me? I can apply Mary Richards's quote to my relationship with horror: "I'm an experienced woman. I've been around... Well, all right, I might not've been around, but I've been... nearby." I know enough that when red eyes gleam out of somewhere no one should be, it's a Bad Thing. I know that when crows congregate, it's a Bad Thing. I know that when communications are abruptly and inexplicably cut off, and traffic suddenly disappears, it's a Very Bad Thing…

I often say I don't like dystopian fiction. In fact, I've found I am fascinated by the idea of something like The Stand or "Falling Skies" or "The Walking Dead", where a small group of people is left when the rest of the world is wiped out, and have to make use of what's around them to live amongst the ruins. One reason I don't like the sub-genre, I believe, is that in most books that I've seen – like that unicorn novel, Ariel – there is just no explanation for it. Some 90-99% of the planet's human population (and occasionally other animals, as in King) is dead, planes have dropped from the sky, roads are clogged with cars whose drivers have just died behind the wheel – and there's no reason. The Stand had a good reason, and a purpose beyond simple survival for those who remain. Ariel? Gosh, dunno, did I mention my unicorn talks?

The Hallowed Ones does not provide a full explanation – it wouldn't, would it, being (evidently) the beginning of a series, and being told from the tight point of view of an Amish girl of about sixteen. But there is enough to be going on with.

I may have only been "nearby" the horror genre, but I've been near enough to recognize some classic tropes when I see them. Some are as above – the crows, the red eyes gleaming, etc. – and there are others in plenty here. This is where I wonder how someone who reads a great deal of horror would see this book. Brimming with cliché?

But I'm thinking (hoping) this might have been fully intentional. This is a novel with a unique point of view: that of a young Amish woman on the verge of adulthood, curious about the world mainly to reinforce her decision to remain out of it, and she doesn't know the tropes. She does know quite a bit about the Outside – this community does not quite live in a vacuum, but interacts with the English regularly, and lapses in the unbaptized children are often overlooked. Especially as Rumspringa approaches, illicit experimentation has been quietly aided and abetted by nearby store owners – Katie's favorite comic book is Wonder Woman, for example, and her love of Coca Cola almost gets her killed once things fall apart out there (out here, I mean). There are some references dropped throughout the book that raised my eyebrows a bit, but for the most part I could swallow them. Her internal comment about passive aggressive behavior, though, was one I couldn't quite get down.

For me, the first half of the book was the strongest. What is going on Out There? Where is everyone? Can they get the missing members of the community back? Was rescuing the stranger a terrible mistake – did she just fulfill the Elders' worst suspicions and bring in something which will eviscerate the community? I can't say I enjoyed the tension – that suspense right there is one of the biggest reasons I Don't Do Horror – but I did appreciate the skill with which it was ratcheted up, and the rest of the book – once some of the answers come out – felt a little flatter. The suspense did not evaporate, but a good deal of it was swapped out for outright gore: this was a good deal bloodier than I expected.

"It was nothing like you see in the movies, these creatures. There's no seduction. No passionate luring of the victim to a dark side of velvet. This is not just the stinking, rotting underbelly of evil without its makeup. This is exactly what the Undead were in all the old folk stories, the world around. Every culture has a vampire – a creature that drinks the blood of the living. And it's not a pretty process."

Katie finds herself in the sort of situation I've only seen before in setups for in fantasies: she is part of a warm and loving family which is part of a warm and loving community, and she has done something the general populace would consider a good thing, and act of mercy and kindness – but which would very probably set her so much at odds with the elders of her community that she would be cast out: she has saved a young man who would without doubt have died if left alone. It would not matter that she was right, that Alec is not a danger but should in fact be an asset; it wouldn't matter that this community did essentially the same thing in sheltering Mrs. Parsall; it wouldn't matter that if they drive Katie from the community she will be very soon very dead. The rules are the rules, and there is no argument. It's, again, the sort of thing I would expect to see in a fantasy novel, or something set long ago and far away. But The Hallowed Ones is twenty-first century USA.

The Elders are stolid and stubborn and will not hear what an unbaptized girl or an English woman have to say; they make decisions that anyone who knows anything (like Katie or the reader) knows are nonsensical and dangerous, and will brook no argument. This might, perhaps, be completely realistic, I don't know; it felt overly stereotyped. The rest of the Amish community is not stereotyped; Katie's family and several featured players are nicely rounded characters (who make those Elders look just a bit more two-dimensional), and the community as a whole is given a genuine warmth and life through Katie's eyes. I like Katie. She has a refreshingly unjaded view of the world, and a real love for her home – but she just wants to have her Rumspringa, dammit. For me the only shortcomings to her was that her perceived flaws are more told than shown. She reflects often on how disobedient and willful she is, but – while she does think for herself and take action off her own bat – she reads as a fairly normal smart and strong girl. It is as an Amish girl that she is headstrong, but we never get to know any other Amish girls very well, so it's hard to judge - again, it's all as the reader is informed, and through the filter of Katie's perspective: she may not be so different from the other girls of her community, except that she believes she is more prone to disobedience and free thought.

I probably will read the rest of this series as it comes along. It wasn't what I expected, which was good; it wasn't what I hoped for, which wasn't so good. It wasn't entirely my cup of tea (again, I'm a wimp), and I'm not sure if it would satisfy a true horror buff – but it was pretty good.
Profile Image for Ami.
5,769 reviews501 followers
May 25, 2013
4.5 stars

My experience with Laura Bickle was with two of her adult stories (I didn't read those under the names of Alayna Williams though). I loved those and was a bit bummed when she didn't continue. Then I stumbled into this title (thank you GR!) and I thought the blurb was fresh and intriguing. Amish. Vampires. Horror? Yep, I was sold.

I loved it!! This was the kind of urban fantasy story that I enjoyed -- something refreshing; where the heroine wasn't portrayed as too strong she became unrelatable to readers -- like she didn't need anyone else. Katie was a young Amish girl who was on the verge of her Rumspringa when suddenly the Outside world was falling apart. People was turned into vampires -- viscious, blood-hunting vampires. And the evil was finding their way into the Plain community.

The Amish life was pretty heavy here -- and it was something I would like to give my thumbs up for. I didn't know whether it was accurate; I had no experience (or knowledge) about Amish life, but this was made the story different. I also didn't know how people would get annoyed with the religious issue here -- there was the Plain folk vs. English mentality among the Amish elders; also how they should leave their fate to God, and how the Bishop refused to acknowledge the possibility of evil coming inside the community... but for me, it didn't matter. It gave a very good conflict when Katie was questioning about the blind belief and her instinct to survive. I found her questioning the rules (and earlier in the story, her determination to get the taste of Coca Cola and comic books) made her a believable young girl.

Since the story was written inside the community, there was the isolated sense to it and it was deliciously haunting ... especially when the vampires found their way in. The murders were pretty gory -- the first time Katie encountered the victims of the vampires, when she ventured Outside, was really, REALLY CREEPY!! I could sense Katie's desperation and fear and I admired her bravery; that when push comes to shove, she would not give up without a fight, even if she ended up breaking the rules.

The only complaint I had would probably had to do with her relationship with Alex, the English young man that she saved after finding him unconscious outside the community .... Having said this, it didn't bogged down the book enough for me to dislike it. I still thought it was really smooth writing all the way.

Now I can't wait until the sequel in September.


Katie was going to the Outside! *shudders*
Profile Image for Sheri.
390 reviews51 followers
August 12, 2013
Growing up in an Amish community, Katie is looking forward to Rumspringa for a real taste of the Outside world. Her and childhood friend Elijah have everything planned out that they want to do before going back to the Plain community to give up their childhood ways and get married. But a series of strange events send Katie's life into an uncontrolled spiral. Strange things are happening, people are disappearing, and Katie must decide if she should trust herself and do what is right or listen to the Elders and ignore everything, hoping it will go away.

As you can see from my five-star rating, I really, really liked this book. Katie is not fearless, but despite her fear she does what she believes is right. Throughout the story she is constantly searching for something to justify or confirm her community's faith. She realizes that she is not perfect, which makes her feel guilty, but she can't help but question how God's will fits into the horrific events taking over her life. She is young and innocent and has an appealing quality to her that made me want her to keep fighting against the Elders even though she would eventually get caught. I loved her sweet, innocent relationship with Elijah and was rooting for them from the beginning, but then later was hoping something more would come of Alex. I look forward to finding out more about him in the next book.

Not having ever read a book set in the Amish world, I was not really sure what to expect. But I thought the author did such a wonderful job of building up the world the story was set in. Katie's day to day life and the activity within the community was so eloquently described, I felt I could literally step into the pages of the book, and the writing was alluring and descriptive.

I guess I should mention at some point that this is a horror story, and at times a bit gory. However, the horror aspect did not overshadow the rest of the storytelling. I felt there was a good balance in the story and am looking forward to the next one to find out what happens.
Profile Image for Dark Faerie Tales.
2,274 reviews545 followers
October 19, 2012
Review courtesy of Dark Faerie Tales

Quick & Dirty: A dark and intense read about the Amish, vampires and the end of the known world.

Opening Sentence: After the end of the Outside world, the Plain folk survived.

The Review:

Amish, vampires and the end of the known world? This was one premise that had me intrigued when I read the synopsis. Katie is a young Amish woman. She has about a month to go until she goes on Rumspringa. Katie has saved up money and even knows the first few adventures that she will go on once she gets to experience the outside world. She is even more excited because she will be experiencing the outside with the young man that she believes she will one day marry.

Katie’s happy plans take an unexpected turn when a helicopter crashes onto the Amish farmland. Katie is one of the first people on the scene and what she believes she saw in the helicopter has chilling effects. The attack happens so fast that the Amish stuck in the outside world don’t have the time to make it back home. Katie is able to explore the nearby town and the destruction before the Amish leaders decide the close off the gates to anyone. No one is allowed to leave or come into the lands.

Katie is way too curious for her own good. She takes it upon herself to investigate the happenings and when a young man is found barely alive and tangled in the fencing of the land. The Amish leaders vote to leave him for dead but Katie can’t sit back and let him die. She decides to help him and hides him in her barn. It is a pivotal decision that will weigh heavily on Katie’s future.

The world created in The Hallowed Ones is mysterious, dark and creative. The vampires are not cute, cuddly and sexy. The vampire virus acts quick and certainly. These vampires are smart, deadly and devious. Katie is safest on Amish land or is she? The Hallowed Ones comes off like a psychological thriller with Katie’s world in the dark about the attacks, delivering key information to move the story along but still packing scary moments to keep you hooked.

In my reading of The Hallowed Ones, I felt as if I was in the midst of the stark world, not having instantaneous news updates to know about what is going on in the world around me. I don’t know much about the Amish but Katie really makes the lifestyle fit, she doesn’t make excuses for what she is as she tries to explain her way of life. Although she does repeat parts of her Amish lifestyle a few times which can be a little annoying.

Overall, The Hallowed Ones is a fascinating take on the Amish and vampires. The ending absolutely gave me goose bumps. Katie is one strong willed cookie and the future looks very bleak. I cannot wait to read what is next in this world with the sequel The Outside.

Notable Scene:

I slipped down the stairs, through the dark kitchen. I grabbed my shoes, opened the back door . . .

And plunged into darkness.

The day had rendered this place gold, but the night was cool and silvery. I ran past the pumpkin patch, through the tall grass. Overhead, I could see the Milky Way, the trail of the dead, as I swam through the tall fields and heard crickets singing.

I scanned the silvery darkness for the vampires, but I was not afraid. Not like before. I had been terrified of the violence. But now I had already seen what there was to see. I knew that they could not harm me as they harmed the others. I had the Hexenmeister’s power, however long it lasted.

Even so, I sensed that my time was measured. I wanted to wring every last experience out of it like juice from an orange, to feel, to touch, and to taste the juice as it ran down my chin. I did not want to lie down and wait for death like Ginger and the others, with their veil of ignorance drawn around them and surrendering their will to live to others.

I wanted my life to matter.

And I wanted to choose how it mattered.

FTC Advisory: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt provided me with a copy of The Hallowed Ones. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.
Profile Image for Misty Baker.
403 reviews131 followers
August 17, 2012
It’s not all that often that I pick up a book based solely on a single word. I read the synopsis, I lapse into a rather heated argument with my inner self about it’s possible worth and then I make a decision. This was not the case with Laura Bickle’s “The Hallowed Ones.”

The word that hooked me? AMISH.

“Katie is on the verge of her Rumspringa, the time in Amish life when teenagers can get a taste of the real world. But the real world comes to her in this dystopian tale with a philosophical bent. Rumors of massive unrest on the “Outside” abound. Something murderous is out there. Amish elders make a rule: No one goes outside, and no outsiders come in. But when Katie finds a gravely injured young man, she can’t leave him to die. She smuggles him into her family’s barn—at what cost to her community?”

I have never read anything that goes into depth about Amish life. I am a Christian I am not opposed to religious literature (whatever religion it may be) but Amish is just not something that has ever struck my fancy. My knowledge (until this book) was capped at “they make beautiful furniture.” Naive, yes…I know, but I’m from Texas and Amish isn’t a big factor down here. But being the curious cat that I am, I decided I needed to learn. So I grabbed “The Hallowed Ones” and set out expecting a seemingly calm ride through the plain country with only a few hiccups of “the outside world” thrown in for drama.

Dang was I wrong.

Did I learn about the Amish?


Bickle did an absolutely amazing job of introducing mainstream audiences to a very non-mainstream way of life without sounding preachy. She explained the do’s and don’ts of an entire corner of religious society through causal external dialogue held by all of the characters involved in the story. In short, it was like having a chat with a friend. A very educational chat with friends.

So where did the “creepy” come in?

Well, let me tell you, (because it shocked the socks off of me.) I am a HUGE fan of apocalyptic literature. Roughly 5 out of every 8 books I read has something to do (one way or another) with the end of the world. “The Hallowed Ones” turned out to be exactly that. A look at how faith and trust can be effected by extreme circumstances.

Katie (or Bonnet as she is referred by some in this book) is Amish and about to go on her Rumsprina (think of it as Summer vacation for the Amish, they get to leave the house and experience something brand new.) But before she has the opportunity to jet set out and experience the thrill of Wonder Woman comic books and Coca-cola without the added stigma of guilt all hell breaks loose. (Excuse the pun.) A chopper crashes on her communities land, people disappear and before she knows it she has some strange “outsider” living in her barn.

The story, though filled with eerie images of creepy crawlies that literally crawl on the ceiling (like spiders – no I won’t spoil it and tell you what they are) and moments of pure horror (when the “things” find their way onto holy land) its not really about that. It’s about Katie and how she has to choose a path. She can be blind and follow a path that has been cleared for her since birth, or she can stand up to “evil” and do what she believes is right. It’s not about religious persecution, it’s about religious freedom. Or at least it is for Katie. Freedom to choose for herself.

She struggles with herself. She struggles with her community, her family, even God.

All of these elements combined created one heck of a story. One I hope dearly Bickle chooses to expand on in the future.

With well developed characters, and a fantastic, well paced plot, I highly recommend this novel to those who love to feel a little anxious when it’s time to turn out the lights. This is a book that will have you jumping at random sounds and praying to prove that you can.

Happy Reading my fellow Kindle-ites and remember: If the animals are scared shitless…you should be too!
Profile Image for Allison.
712 reviews407 followers
September 19, 2012
You guys. I had DOUBTS about The Hallowed Ones by Laura Bickle. Amish people and vampires? *snort* Sounds like a half-baked plot for a cheesy porno. But…I wasn’t even that far into the story before hopping onto gchat to talk to April (who was also reading it). We were both like “Whoa! This doesn’t suck after all!” I know that sounds like faint praise, but it isn’t. Because guys? This book was good.

So, when The Hallowed Ones begins, we meet Katie. She is looking forward to her upcoming Rumspringa, a chance to experience the “English” life before deciding whether or not to commit to being Amish and marrying childhood pal Elijah. Before this has a chance to occur, some pretty bad stuff goes down in the real world. It doesn’t take long to also make a huge impact on Katie’s Amish community. When she disobeys her Elders to do what she thinks is right by saving an outsider? Hello hot mess. (And hello eventual sexytimes.)

Katie is such an awesome character, I could fangirl about her all day. Instead of the Amish thing being thrown into the novel just to give her something to rebel against, or as a tool to allow her to come off as brainwashed, it just gave her something to question as she tries to decide who she really wants to be. She wants to be respectful of the beliefs she was raised to respect, but she also has a personal code of honor she can’t quite make herself turn against.

If you’re worried about the book pushing religious propaganda or being too preachy – don’t be. There is no “CONVERT THEE TO AMISH, OR PERISH IN A HOLY FIRE!” talk. There is spiritual reflection and details about the Amish life – but it all fits in nicely with the story, and it never becomes too much. Pinkie swear.

As for the vampires? Whoa mama, y’all. Laura Bickle ain’t messin’ around. We are talking pee-your-pants-in-fear-straight-up-Stephen-King-style vampires. No sparkling or sexaholic prototypes need apply. So, if you’re hesitating to pick up The Hallowed Ones because you are sick and tired of the regular vampire novel? Don’t be.

Basically, The Hallowed Ones impressed the hell out of me (ha, pun intended). Flawlessly weaving Amish culture and the horror of old-school vampire lore together, Laura Bickle has written a book I won’t be forgetting anytime soon.

To Sum It Up:

-If you’re worried that the whole Amish + vampires premise sounds too hokey, don’t be! It is very well crafted, and you will be impressed.

-The characterization is also a home run. Katie is such a fantastic MC!

-This book has vampires that are actually frightening. Imagine that, y’all. Just in time for Halloween.
Profile Image for Lottie Eve.
253 reviews101 followers
January 3, 2013
I read The Hallowed Ones for one reason: I was promised Amish vampires. I did indeed get Amish vampires but I also got a well written story, a great female protagonist, a great male protagonist, a good look into how the Amish live, classic vampires, gore, and a whole lot of suspense.

I don’t have much knowledge about the Plain Folk and their way of life but the good amount of information this novel contains seems very accurate. I at first thought that book would be a bit overly preachy but I found that the religious tone in this book is anything but that. It was very interesting to learn more about the Plain Folk’s religion. I think that the creepy atmosphere mostly comes from how the book mixes a supposedly very peaceful and conservative way of life with something as dangerous and ugly as vampires.

I loved the vampires. The vampires in The Hallowed Ones are the classic vampires. They have fangs, a thirst for blood, a weakness to garlic, and glowing red eyes. You will find no Edwards in this book. Although the first half of the book is pretty peaceful with almost no gore the second half has a lot of it: torn up dead bodies, staking through the heart, and decapitation. The horror, gore, and classic vampires were able to scare me and that was really refreshing.

Katie was my favorite part of the book.I was completely emotionally invested in her. She is not at all weak and submissive but rather courageous, fearless, strong, kind, and kick butt. She has her flaws and struggles with the problems many teenagers go through but she perseveres. Katie is able to question other people and do what she thinks is right even if it means standing up to the Elders and going against what her family wishes. She is simply an inspiring character. Alex was also able to win my heart. His slow developing romance with Katie was unexpected but they were very well suited for each other. I liked how the romance only plays a small part of the story letting the vampires take the stage.

The story was very well written and gripping. The Hallowed Ones was suspenseful and I was constantly on the edge of my seat. This book was clearly written by an experienced writer. The ending wrapped up the story nicely but also leaves a promise of future books which I am very, very excited for.
Profile Image for Emma.
2,391 reviews819 followers
August 7, 2018
3.5 stars rounded up. This was quite good. The Amish community made this pretty interesting, but I am a fantasy lover and felt there wasn't enough of the whole Vampire storyline, which was well done. I've seen a crime novel recently set in Amish country and I may well read it now my interest is sparked. For this to have been truly successful by my standards, the vampires needed to be more central to the story. I understand this is the first book in a 2 book story so presumably there will be more action in its sequel, but it came too late for this reader's fantasy satisfaction.
Profile Image for La Coccinelle.
2,242 reviews3,561 followers
August 29, 2016
This one had so much potential. Why? It's a post-apocalyptic novel involving the Amish and vampires! How could that not be great?

Unfortunately, it fell really flat for me. While I appreciated the attempt at world-building, I thought it took up far too much of the book. The book either needed to be longer (to include more action), or some of the everyday Amish stuff needed to be cut back. After reading this, I feel disappointed. It seemed that there was so much build-up and not enough payoff. The final showdown was little more than a few pages, and we were left with an ending that did little more than usher in a sequel.

I also wasn't taken with the characters. Katie, the narrator, came across as way too non-Amish at times (granted, I'm not sure how real Amish would speak... but she seemed awfully worldly for someone who had grown up in such a community). Alex, the young man she finds injured in a field, was obviously the love interest from the moment he stepped onto the page... and yet, I sensed no real chemistry between the two of them. Perhaps that was because he was kind of a mixed-up character, not quite sure if he wanted to be flirty and teasing or serious and philosophical. I honestly never got a feel for him, even though there were plenty of opportunities to develop his character. (His ex-girlfriend was presumably torn apart by the vampires... and we really don't know how he feels about it!) I thought that Katie had more chemistry with Elijah, her childhood friend, before he went through a sudden (and rather unbelievable) change in character, for no apparent reason. The Elders and the Bishop were also problematic for me; they seemed to exist only to provide some much-needed conflict. They were overly proud and dictatorial, and I question whether some of their actions would even be contemplated by true Amish folks.

The vampire aspect was interesting and suitably gory (and I mean really gory; those with weak stomachs should give this one a pass). It was probably the most well thought-out part of the whole book. The reveal at the end, when some things are explained, made sense. However, that scene was just too short and easily resolved, which made me feel cheated, and like I had just read 300+ pages for nothing. Aside from getting a few answers, readers are just shunted off to the next book, hoping that something more exciting will happen there.

Profile Image for Ivie dan Glokta.
311 reviews197 followers
July 7, 2015
This was something different, definitely not your normal paranormal.

It was a darker version of the end of the world, where demons don't look cute, devils don't walk around with gorgeous hair pining for snarky, well manicured girls.

Katie is an Amish girl a few weeks shy away from her Rumspringa, a time for young men and women to leave the Amish community and have a taste of the real world. The experience of the two lifestyles is vital for it will provide enough insight in the character of a person and help them decide if the Amish way of life is something that the person in question will be happy with for the rest of their life. Amish are not baptised at birth, preferring to leave the choice to the individual once they are considered experienced and knowledgeable enough to make that choice.

Living in the Amish community, Katie is focused on her everyday mundane tasks, not being unhappy with her life but still excitedly awaiting her Rumspringa.

It never came....

Cut off from telephones and regular media the Amish community only had small hunches that something was wrong on the outside. Small, unusual signs that many simply passed off as weirdness that the outsiders sometimes do. Until a helicopter crashed in one of their fields, that is. The helicopter was a medical transport brought down by a patient it was transporting. It was witnessed by Katie alone. That was the first of the signs that something was wrong. Once nobody came to retrieve the helicopter or ask about it's passengers people started to worry.

The Hallowed Ones is really a different spin on a vampire/end of the world/apocalypse novel. Let's just say that Edward would have his glittery ass handed to him if he stumbled around these parts by accident.
for the love of Edward!
Nuff said...
Profile Image for Michelle Stockard Miller.
332 reviews154 followers
June 5, 2015
Simply put, this book is amazing! As a true lover of horror and the like, I think I love the end of the world, dystopian zombie/vampire tales the most. It has been done many times...probably not much better than Matheson's I AM LEGEND, but let me tell you...THE HALLOWED ONES ranks pretty high, in my opinion. What made it so good was introducing the phenomenon from the Amish community's point of view. Bickle has done a terrific job introducing the reader to the Amish world and then illustrating how they might react if something terrible did happen in the English (what they call us) world. And then she goes one better by creating some of the most creepy and frightening creatures I've read in awhile. As I was reading, I kept trying to visualize what they would look like. Every horrifying image I've ever seen in movies or read in books came to mind, but I still couldn't quite settle on the terrifying image my mind was seeing. Not only do we get all of this from the book, but we get a well-written book to boot. No cliche or run of the mill stereotyping. Also, the characters, namely Katie, are wonderful. When Katie goes against the Elders to help a young English man who is injured or ventures into town--alone--to get medicine and supplies, it's not hard to believe. Early on we learn that Katie is head strong and of her own mind. A girl on the verge of Rumspringa (a time when Amish teens get to go off and experience life in the English world), she is ready to explore and set out on her own. She just didn't intend for it to occur in quite the way it did.

I am so pleased with this book. It's not often that I come across a book in this genre (meaning horror/dystopian, although it is classified as YA) that is so well constructed and exciting and engaging as well. I highly recommend it.
Want to read
March 23, 2016
I stopped reading at page 139 because I couldn't take it anymore. When this book wasn't being boring, and focusing on the minutia of the main characters day (I mean every tiny detail) it was pointing out all the faults of Amish people. I get it already! They are deeply religious and have a lot of rules. Blah! Blah! Blah!

Profile Image for Julie (Manga Maniac Cafe).
1,607 reviews474 followers
September 27, 2012

Updated with full review:

This book had me extremely freaked out at several points during the story, and I could not put it down. Well, I did have to put it down once, because everyone else had wandered off to bed, it was dark, and I was FREAKED OUT. I just could not sit in the living room by myself and continue to read, damn my easily frightened heart. So I carefully marked my place, set the book down, and waddled off to bed, already counting down the hours until I would be home from work and able to read again. It was probably for the best; it was a work night anyway, and the weekend beckoned just a few hours away.

I loved Embers, also by Laura Bickle, for both the heroine and for her cuddle-worthy elemental, Sparky. I read a lot of books, and if I can remember most of the plot and even character names months after I have finished, it was a great reading experience. When I saw that she had a YA title coming out, I was beside myself with excitement. Would I enjoy it? The Hallowed Ones intrigued me for another reason, too. Katie is Amish, and she is about to set off on her Rumspringa, the time that young Amish are permitted to live with the English away from their communities, in order to determine whether or not they wanted to return and be baptized, and fully accepted as adults in their society. Being baptized also meant putting aside non-Amish things, and having additional pressures to conform to accepted behavior. I wondered if I would find Katie an interesting person. She is supposed to be humble and agreeable, and not make waves. Guess what? She is a fascinating heroine, strong, brave, and more than willing to make waves when she thought that an injustice was being committed. This got her into a lot of hot water with the Elders, but Katie just could not step aside when she thought that someone needed her help. Unfortunately for her people, everybody needed help after a devastating catastrophe befalls the Outside.

I can’t remember having read another book with an Amish protagonist, so I don’t know how authentic Katie is, but I liked her a lot. She never backed down when she was needed, regardless of how unpleasant, and in several instances, how downright horrifying, the task was. I don’t want to give too much of the plot away, because I want you to be as freaked out as I was. Let me just say that there are evil, awful monsters Outside, and they are ravenous. They are scary. They are strong. And worse of all, they are smart. With the Elders denying that a darkness has descended and threatens to survival of the human race, things are looking particularly grim. An Amish community, with its wooden houses and lack of technology, isn’t the first place I would choose to make my last stand with the world ending around me. There are no radios, TV, or internet for the news, and cell phones? Forget it! You aren’t going to be able to send urgent, terrified text messages to your friends and family because they don’t have those there! Several times I was struck by how difficult communication would be even without the end of days. Heck, if I wanted to talk to my neighbors on the other end of the community, I would have to walk there. Or hitch up my horse and drive there. Thank goodness I know how to drive a buggy.

I thought the beginning of the story was a little slow, but now that I have finished the book, I don’t think that anymore. We needed that calm before the storm, to establish both Katie and Elijah’s personalities, their role in their society, and what their hopes were for the future. Katie firmly believed that she and Elijah would go on Rumspringa together, and after kicking up their heels, they would both be baptized, and then eventually they would be married and start a family of their own. Everything was laid out in a simple path, and all she had to do was follow it. But then the unthinkable happens, and there is no Outside anymore. When the Elders, in an abundance of caution, closed off their community, Katie begins to question everything that she once accepted without a qualm. She disobeys the Elders, and soon she has first hand knowledge of the evil they are up against. Things don’t look good, and Katie thinks that it is just a matter of time before everyone in her knows and loves suffers an unspeakable end.

While I liked Katie, I think that the Hexenmeister is my favorite character. There is just something about a crazy old guy who turns out to be a magical bad-ass that appeals to me. While he lived on the fringes of his society because he was quite odd during times of peace and contentment, during the end of the world he was just the guy to have on your side. He, too, was strong and unwavering, even when confronted with the corruption that seethed within their community.

The Hallowed Ones is an exciting, and at times, terrifying read, with a strong heroine ready to do whatever is necessary to save the lives of her family. Without technology on her side, Katie has to rely on something many of us have forgotten how to use; her own cunning and common sense. I enjoyed this book very much, and can hardly wait for follow-up.

Grade: B+

Previous review:

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!! You can't be over!! I want to read more!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This is a roller coaster read, despite the slow beginning. Lots of tense, scary moments, great characters, and even a little bit of romance sprinkled in as Katie tries to keep her community safe from the outside evil that threatens it. I hope there will be more adventures with Katie and her friends.

Full review soon at www.mangamaniaccafe.com
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