Review: Hallowed by Cynthia Hand

Title: Hallowed
Series: Unearthly
Author: Cynthia Hand
Publisher: Electric Monkey
Publication Date: 2 Jan 2012
Source: Review Copy
Rating: 5/5
Synopsis from Goodreads

For months part-angel Clara Gardner trained to face the raging forest fire from her visions and rescue the alluring and mysterious Christian Prescott from the blaze. But nothing could prepare her for the fateful decisions she would be forced to make that day, or the startling revelation that her purpose—the task she was put on earth to accomplish—is not as straightforward as she thought. Now, torn between her increasingly complicated feelings for Christian and her love for her boyfriend, Tucker, Clara struggles to make sense of what she was supposed to do the day of the fire. And, as she is drawn further into the world of part angels and the growing conflict between White Wings and Black Wings, Clara learns of the terrifying new reality that she must face: Someone close to her 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.

REVIEW

I was truly captivated by Unearthly (review here) I was on a countdown from the minute I finished reading Unearthly for the next installment. Believe me the wait was worth it, I may even goes as far as to say that this book was even better than the first.
The story picks up shortly after the mountain fire and the revelations that brought forth. Clara’s first person narrative and inner monologues provided light, refreshing entertainment among the main parts of the plot. The way in which the story unfolded was quite simply a compelling page turner. As a reader you just can’t help but become personally invested in the outcome. Each character has their own unique draw, there are no clearly defined sides even with the forces of good and evil, I felt as if there must be reasons behind all of the actions. This is one story where snippets of the history of the characters are woven into the main plot adding depth to the story. While not everything is revealed in one hit, the snippets are are divulged enhance and progress the plot. 
I am not a great fan of love triangles but this one just worked. I found myself unable to choose this time between Tucker and Christian. Christian’s character development during this book was outstanding. I could feel the attraction to both of them. My sympathies were with Clara at having to make such tough decisions.     
The mystery surrounding the angels ‘purpose’ slowly and tantalizingly began to be revealed. There are some surprising twists and turns that were totally unexpected taking the plot to another dimension. The themes of death and bereavement alongside the afterlife were beautifully dealt with no matter what your belief system. The ideal that love survives death although sad brings it’s own kind of peace. The philosophy of being able to live without regret added to the dynamics of the story on multi-levels. Ingenious use of the Old Testament re-enforce these themes without being what I would classify as ‘religious’ . The imagery was stunning and very easy to picture within the imagination. 
I have to tell you that I spent most of the latter half of this book with tears silently rolling down my cheeks. Such powerful and captivating writing to provoke such emotion. On a personal note the way in which death was portrayed was easy to relate to and took me back to when my mother passed away. If you have personally witnessed someone die then you can understand the imagery of the body being an empty shell or simply a vessel for your soul/life essence what ever you want to call it. 
A surprising side effect of this book was that at the end of it I felt emotionally wrung out. Such a beautiful book in so many unexpected ways. Cynthia Hand is fast becoming one of my favourite authors. I, for one, am eagerly anticipating the next book. 

Author: Book Angel Emma

Book List Obsessed - Alliteration Addict - Secondary School Librarian - Mother of Girls - Zumba Freak

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