Lissa's Reviews > Hallowed

Hallowed by Cynthia Hand
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's review
Oct 04, 2011

bookshelves: kick-ass-heroine, 2012
Read from January 16 to 20, 2012

Is this the Australian cover? It's GORGEOUS.
I don't have it. I have this one:
which is the UK version, and I got it on 27th December even though it's not supposed to be released until January.

Actually I was very excited to get my hands on this book because Hand impressed me so much with Unearthly that I would pay in advance to read this book. I trust her unconditionally, and from what I've heard from those lucky sods who managed to get ARCs it's just as amazing at Unearthly.


I loved Unearthly because it was trope-defying. The magical creature was the girl, she wasn't a damsel in distress, and the love interest was a boy that I hated at first but grew to love. The 'love triangle' was a different sort of love triangle to what YA PNR readers had become accustomed to.

Sequels are always hard to live up to, especially when the original work was so ground breaking. When the original work turns trope on its head you need to keep doing it in the sequel as well, otherwise it's just not as amazing as the first work.

While I thoroughly enjoyed Hallowed and shed a few tears from sheer emotional impact, I wouldn't actually claim that it is amazing because it's the sequel to an amazing book. The tropes continue to be defied in Hallowed while at the same time author Hand deftly weaves in typical PNR tropes to create her own mythology. It's so hard to break ground in the new book when you've already broken so much in the original. And Hand knows exactly what she's doing, because she makes references to other PNR books in her own, such as how stalking is creepy and Edward Cullen-like. That love triangles over two completely opposite boys for a bland girl don't make sense until you're living one.

I'm not a fan of present tense. I pretty much hate it. But in this book it works, and it works well. Clara's voice weaves through the narrative in the most seductive way, drawing you into her head and helping to see the world and her feelings through her eyes. I still felt Clara's voice and attitude were very well stylised and easily believable for a teenage girl. If it weren't for her boy drama, I'd quite like to spend a lot of time in Clara's head. Not to say that Clara's head is as unbearable as Bella's, for example. Not at all! You can tell Clara genuinely cares for both of the boys and it's got nothing to do with how either of them look (even though they are apparently 'hot').

The biggest issue I had with this book is the mode of storytelling. The reader is told what the climax is going to be from the opening page, but unlike in Unearthly, that's pretty much exactly what happens. I kept expecting something bigger and better to happen, to have an actual resolution, but this book is almost written more like a literary novel exploring the theme of loss and grief. It didn't feel very much like a complete plot at all. The big bad? Not so big and bad. More like castrated Spike from Buffy.
Yeah, Samjeeza? Not scared of him. Not even sure what he wanted, or what he contributed to the story. (view spoiler)

However, despite its lack of a climax or resolution, it's an incredibly beautiful ending. Yes, I cried.

The revelation about Jeffrey didn't surprise me in the least. I suspected it since Unearthly. The revelation about Clara's true nature did - only because I had trusted Hand not to turn Clara into a typical PNR Mary Sue, and I felt slightly cheated that Hand had to make Clara uber-special when she was absolutely fine in Unearthly. She's still totally flawed and totally smart, and she genuinely cares for those around her, and I love her to bits but please! Can we not have someone really uber special and important for no reason as the heroine for once?

That being said, Unearthly and Hallowed are still better than the majority of Mary Sue author insertion wish-fulfilment paranormal romance rubbish we've been swamped with over the last few years, and by far the best angel book of that genre I've ever read.

Still firmly Team Tucker. Screw destiny.
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Reading Progress

01/18/2012 page 114
01/18/2012 page 228
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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Kyle Your review literally summarizes all the thoughts I had going through my head while reading. I think had the ending not been exactly as it said it would be it would've been stronger for me.

message 2: by Lissa (new) - added it

Lissa Oh, thank you!

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