Paranormal Young Adult
Available January 17th
Received from NetGalley for review
THE STORY (from Goodreads)
For months Clara Gardner trained to face the fire from her visions, but she wasn’t prepared for the choice she had to make that day. And in the aftermath, she discovered that nothing about being part angel is as straightforward as she thought.
Now, torn between her love for Tucker and her complicated feelings about the roles she and Christian seem destined to play in a world that is both dangerous and beautiful, Clara struggles with a shocking revelation: Someone she loves will die in a matter of months. With her future uncertain, the only thing Clara knows for sure is that the fire was just the beginning.
Hallowed is the type of book we can't wait to start reading, yet our hands remain frozen at our sides and we find we're unable to force them to break the spine knowing that what awaits us will not be a lighthearted jaunt full of whimsy and achingly adorable romance. Instead, we know darkness and pain will most likely be waiting to greet us when we finally work up the courage to open the front cover, delving us deeper into the complex world of the angel-bloods and challenging both us and our beloved characters in ways that are uncomfortable but so very poignant and moving at the same time. Ms. Hand certainly has no interest in leading us along the path of least resistance, throwing down the gauntlet in this second installment and waiting to see if we’ll be strong enough to pick it up and walk alongside Clara, Tucker, and Christian as times get tougher.
A joy to read about, Clara reminds us in this tale of all the reasons why we fell in love with her in Unearthly, continuing to show us her ability to create her own light amidst the stifling darkness of the unknown world she is an intrinsic part of when no one else, not even her own mother, will help her find her way. Her love for Tucker consists of both sweetness and shadows, her seemingly unshakeable confidence that who she is going to be with is going to be her choice–and hers alone–paired in this tale with a nagging doubt that her purpose and her role as an angel-blood might prove to be the blade that slices her free will to ribbons. While she hates the idea that her life isn’t entirely of her own making, she never rages against it or lashes out at those around her at the injustice of it all, instead she quietly mourns the life she might have had were circumstances a bit different, and puts on her game face before she tackles what’s thrown her way with verve.
The love triangle is crafted in a painfully stunning way, the case for both Christian and Tucker hauntingly laid out for us as we feel Clara’s confusion and distress when she looks at them both. What sets this love triangle apart from some of its more frustrating counterparts is that Clara is not one to waffle, never sitting back and studying her feelings for both young men or weighing the pros and cons of each to help her reach a decision. Instead, she’s already chosen, and her choice is Tucker. She chooses to love him with everything she has despite Christian’s presence in her life, so her struggle then becomes not one of dual attraction, but one of choice versus duty, want versus greater purpose, and personal will versus divine will. She wants a life with Tucker, but her angel-blood draw to Christian is too powerful to simply ignore, and as a result we all find ourselves in a twisting, churning emotional maelstrom from which there’s no way to walk away unscathed.
Despite this being the second book in the series, we are not simply sucked into the story in the middle of events and made into pack mules forced to bear the weight of numerous unanswered questions carried over from book one even as new ones are sprung on us, but rather we are given many of the answers we seek by the end to help ease our mental burden even as the heavy presence of our emotional one settles down on our shoulders. Ms. Hand knows just how to appease us enough that we don’t end this installment with a sense of emptiness at having merely been prepped for the following book, but she keeps enough out of reach to have us salivating for book three now that we’ve had a little taste of enlightenment.