Monday, May 14, 2012

Review: Hallowed by Cynthia Hand

Hallowed by Cynthia Hand
My rating: 4 of 5 genies
Published: January 17th, 2012 by HarperTeen
Pages: 403
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library loan
Purchase At: The or

Goodreads Summary
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.

My Thoughts

This book is a solid 4 genies out of 5. Initially I gave it a 5/5, but upon further reflection it lowered slightly, I had to be honest about this review and there were things which bothered me.

This is weird, and I find myself dividing Hallowed into little segments because the book was hot and cold in varying degree. The beginning was great – I loved it – the middle slow, and the ending ultimately heartbreaking. I remember being at the middle of being done and thinking, ‘things are moving pretty slowly, because they were. There was so much drama regarding Clara’s purpose and who she would choose, I wanted to slap her a couple times when she got typically self-absorbed, oblivious to any problem not hers. But somehow, it turned out well in the end.

Hand returns to the Unearthly Series with a Vengeance. She is back in the game and better than ever. It isn’t really even a question: Hallowed trumps Unearthly on the scale of existence.


Sorry about that, pal.

Writing: 4 

Plot: 4.5 genies

Characters: 3.5 genies

Setting: 4 genies

H.M. (honourable mention):
This award is going to Jeffrey because regardless of how I felt about him in the beginning, Hand won me over. His character was jaded, brooding and sometimes just plain unattractive, but now I see that great pain hides behind the majority of his negativity. Jeffrey’s reasons for being sick of ‘purposes’ are totally valid, and if I were him, I’d be done with them too. That is, if Clara Gardner was my sister.

P.O.C. (points of concern): I hated the love triangle. Understand this, I loved it too, but really I did hate the fact that there didn’t seem to be a definitive light at the end of the tunnel, or an inclination as to which boy Clara would end up with. Tucker Avery stole my heart the first book; I remember thinking that Christian was too perfect to be real, or believable as a person, but that changed drastically. Readers are let into Christian’s past, his struggles as well as desires and it is as if he morphs into so much more than the pretty boy meant to be Clara’s purpose, he becomes more than that. By the way, I am using ‘morph’ a lot lately, aren’t I? I must be reminiscing…

again rangers Pictures, Images and Photos

Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers!!

And speaking of good times, what happened to Tucker’s?? I disliked how feeble Tucker almost seemed in comparison to Christian; he is still gorgeous, but human and frailer than the kind of person Clara needed him to be. He almost seems like a phase now, you know the kind when kids talk back/drink/become demons hell bent on rebellion that they take up whatever happens to be contrary to go against the mold? Personally, I like to apply this logic:



This applies only to the kids, of course to the children and anyone not me because you know I’m still going to speak my mind regardless!

But yeah, Tucker’s beautiful and a fabulous piece of work, but there were times in the book where he felt more like a passing phase. I really wish that had been done differently. He was so strong in Unearthly and at times he looked even stronger than Clara then; somehow this is lost, or maybe it was intentionally done by Hand to highlight Christian in a better light, make him more appealing and such? Still, where has the boy I fell in love with gone?

Christian assumes the role of ‘Mr. Everything You Will Ever Need’ for Clara rather effortlessly. Really, the girl should just go along with her purpose – go with Christian – because there is not a darn thing wrong with him. He completes her in a way that feels necessary. Even when she’s fighting the connection trying to make her own choices, he is still there.[Yay, Stanford! (hide spoiler)]

I think someone should step in and just make the choice for her. Not in a crappy Calla/Ren/Shay way, but tastefully in the way that I suspect only Cynthia Hand is capable. Remember the last time Clara exercised free will, folks? Things did not end well:

forest fire Pictures, Images and Photos

burn, baby burn!

My Tucker woes aside, the whole plot was knit well and I really have to hand it to Hand, the majority of this novel flowed marvellously. The character’s relationships were intense, greatly complicated, and I kept biting my fingers, muttering to myself as I read:



“JEFFREY, stop being a prick.”

*Drool* “Tucker…”

*Double Drool* “Hello, Christian...”

By the way, I believe there was a drool or two in there for Michael too. And okay, so maybe my ‘muttering’ was more like yelling, Bite Me. Goodreads has it right for once with the rating system; Four out of Five means that I really liked it and I did. It is a favorite, and somehow – when I went in with expectations so very low – I left the book feeling satisfied.

There a loops and little disasters thrown in for good measure, this author never disappoints. That little doozy about someone dying? You are going to cry, because I just about bawled my eyes out; it is inevitable, you will cry at some point in this book. And you will love it, because we are all little masochists on the inside. Some more frequently than most, but hey!

Which brings me to the matter at hand, who exactly wins out in this twisted little love triangle? Neither, I think it hurts a little too much to pick between them and I can’t. I am neither “Team Christian” or “Team Tucker” because I am both.


Yes, I am a “double-dipper,” I “play both teams.” Suck it, they're both amazing. And I feel ready to accept the outcome - whatever it may be - come book three, because I love Tucker and Christian equally, maybe Christian a little more, but seriously though, read this. Don’t go in with any expectations other than yours; I find it a particularly brilliant pleasure when those demands are not only met, but blown straight through the roof. Hand is good at that, and this book is amazing!

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