Review: Hallowed by Cynthia Hand


January 18, 2012 by Heidi

book cover of Hallowed by Cynthia Hand
Title: Hallowed[Amazon|GoodReads]
Author: Cynthia Hand [Website|Twitter]
Standing: Second in the Unearthly trilogy.
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal
Published: January 17th, 2012 by HarperCollins
Format: Kindle edition; 320 pages.  
Source: ARC copy from publisher via NetGalley.
Challenge: Sophomore Reading Challenge
Spoilers!:  This review contains some unavoidable spoilers for Unearthly, so go read that first!
After failing to see her vision through as she expected, Clara starts her senior year with concerns of her ongoing purpose and whether the recurring dream she’s been having is another glimpse into the future.  Growing closer to Christian through Angela’s formation of an “Angel Club”, Clara comes to the horrible conclusion that her dream portends the death of someone she loves…but who?  Clara must attempt to balance the reality of her life as an angel-blood, her fear of the Black Wing Samjeeza, and her increasingly complicated relationships with her boyfriend, Tucker, and her friend, Christian, all while figuring out what the future holds.

Well people–buy yourself a box of tissues, or work on constructing that emotional wall around your heart, because Hallowed is going to be everything you hoped for and more.  We get to see Clara and Tucker as a happy, settled couple, but also spend the bulk of the book getting to know Christian better and appreciating what he has to bring to the table and understanding how he and Clara would fit together in ways that are beyond Tucker’s reach.  

That said, let’s take a minute to see how Tucker’s doing with the hierarchy of how easy it is for one to deal with the reality that their significant other is a supernatural being:

1) Werewolf:  they’re essentially human most of the time.  Their ‘issue’ likely makes them temperamental, but it also likely makes them scruffy, and you can always build a steel cage in the library to lock them up for a night or two a month.  They almost certainly weren’t always a werewolf, so they really understand what it is to be human.
2) Angel: usually comes with some war that’s been going on for eternity and an awkward sense of morality.
3) Fairy: they probably don’t really get the whole human thing, just may be what you would constitute as sex crazed, and likely enjoy violence and/or trickery at an unhealthy level.  Not safe to eat with.
4) Godling: this one will screw with your whole belief system.
5) Demon:  are they innately evil?
6) Vampire: well this is awkward.  Either they kill people, or they’re a giant pussy.
7) Zombie/Ghost: Dude, they’re dead.  And not just vampire undead dead, but really like dead, falling apart or see-through, no longer needs sustenance (unless it’s brains) dead…

So essentially Tucker scores top marks, but he’s got it pretty easy as Clara resides somewhere between human and two on the chart.  He’s basically the greatest guy ever, but reality has it that Christian’s a good guy as well, and in the long run possibly the best option for understanding Clara and her world.  So what am I saying?  Yeah, I’m Team Christian for Clara (eventually) and Team Tucker for I want him to be incredibly happy and would date him myself if he weren’t total jail bait, but most of all I am TEAM WENDY!!  Meaning: Yo high school girls, don’t make extremely important life decisions based on boys.

Okay enough of the mushy stuff, because this series really has so much more to offer than just another teen romance.  Hallowed presents us with some very deep and complicated issues, such as loss and dealing with one’s faith.  Cynthia Hand manages to bring questions of free will versus predestination to the surface in a way that lets the reader determine their own stance.  I appreciate this so much.  Issues arise, but questions don’t all need to be answered for us–Hallowed stimulated my thought process about my own faith without slapping me with the author’s own solidified beliefs.

Another moral issue is brought up in Clara’s new-found (as of the end of Unearthly) abilities as an empath.  Can I just say that as a total Talia fangirl, I was so excited to finally see another empath!?  For those of you that haven’t read the Valdemar books repeatedly since you were 12, an empath is someone who can sense other’s emotions.  Clara has to learn to control this ability, and deal with the notion that such ‘gifts’ can present difficult issues of knowing how everyone feels about you, and also invading other’s privacy.

Hallowed was a fantastic second installment that left me grappling with my own personal issues of loss and faith, and kept me thinking for days.

Likelihood that I’ll be back for more:  Was there ever any doubt?  I’d like to extend a big thank you to Cynthia Hand for not making this an utter cliffhanger so that I don’t end up eating my hair in panicked anticipation.  I like my hair.  Some days.

Recommended for:  Honestly if I had a book club at church, I’d recommend this series for the issues in faith it brings up.  Other than that, any YA Paranormal fan should pick up this series–the mythos is unique and wonderful!

Real life repercussions of reading this book:  I REFUSED TO CRY!  Sing it Quarterflash:


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  1. Love the list/chart! Tucker IS the greatest guy ever! I'm still Team Tucker!Great review!

  2. Heidi says:

    Thanks! If I don't want Tucker to end up with Clara 100%, it's probably because I like him more than Clara and don't want him to get hurt! I still totally support the team. =)

  3. Lauren says:

    SPOILERS: Sorry about this long rambling reply to your post. But I’ve been thinking about these books (because of a post I did Friday and also an interview with CH that I read today) so I’m stalking reviews. And I LOVE yours, and feel like we’re on the same page about things. This WOULD be a great discussion for a church book club. Or for anyone who likes to think about free will vs. destiny (an easier word to pallet than predestination, which I find makes people clam up). I’m trying to get my friends to read them so that we can talk about them, because I have a feeling that we will all have very different opinions.

    I think that the Free will/Destiny discussion is personified well in the two guys in Clara’s life.

    So I’m going to talk about them for a minute. Because I’ve been feel like a minority here, but I completely agree with what you said about them. I think Tucker is AWESOME. He is really a great guy. BUT he wants to stay in Wyoming and ride his horses. And he cannot connect with Clara in the same way that Christian does. And it’s hard for him that Clara is part angel and has all these abilities/isn’t a regular girl. At this point, with the Purpose Clara has to fulfill, I think he’d just be baggage weighing her down (is that harsh?). He deserves a great girl who is NORMAL. Something BIG would have to change about this series for me to change my mind – maybe it will in the end. I know I’m probably crazy but I always think long term about the couples I read about in books, and so I start thinking about how Clara will age very differently from Tucker and how she has big things to do that Tucker can’t be part of, and I just can’t get behind them together. Honestly, (at this point) I think it would hurt them more to remain a couple than break up.

    I’ve been team Christian since I discovered he was part-angel, though I didn’t love him in Unearthly. But I really fell for him in Hallowed. He is steadfast and patient and gets Clara. I’m afraid the next book won’t keep going in the direction that it’s going, though…

    A lot of these YA paranormal books are about characters breaking the mold and NOT doing what they’re supposed to do. So I think it’s interesting that this is a book where I WANT Clara to be with whom it seems like she’s supposed to be with. Does that make any sense? In this book I think I’m leaning towards the predestination side of things. But regardless of who she picks, I hope that we get to see Clara embrace all of who she is and do what she’s supposed to do. And be happy.

    Thanks for letting me ramble to you!

    • Heidi says:

      OMG I love this rambling! Largely because everything you had to say is 100% aligned with my own thoughts (and yes, we’re certainly in the minority with the shipping Christian thing). I mean, I LOVE Tucker, I think he’s one of the greatest guys out there in YA, but I don’t think he and Clara are right together. I think that it’s okay for high schoolers to have a first love that really truly means something, but isn’t the love that lasts forever, and I think that’s what Clara and Tucker had. I have a bad feeling that Clara and Tucker will end up together in the end, because going with the mold of YA love triangles, that’s what happens, but like you I’d love to see her do what IS her destiny. I think she’d be better with Christian, who is a really great guy that’s going to get her as a person better than Tucker ever could.

      • Lauren says:

        Your reply just made me really happy! I’m always glad when I’m not the only person thinking one way about a book. Though it remains to be seen what CH will have to say in the finale, she’s exceeded my expectations so far, so I will be hopeful. I just want to believe in whatever choices Clara makes.

        I LOVE what you said about first loves. So few people actually find “the one” in high school (if there is such a thing…). And sometimes the first person you love is a really great person, but you’re pulled in different directions, and you break up because they’re no longer the right fit for you. I like that both Christian and Tucker are GREAT people. No angsty bad boys here!

        • Heidi says:

          Yes! Exactly. Like I said in my review, I wouldn’t mind seeing her just come into her own and NOT be romantically involved with either of them, but since that’s unlikely to happen, we’ll have to bite our nails and see what CH does for us. I do have high hopes!

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