Release Date: 1st January, 2012
Publisher: HarperCollins Australia
Clara Gardner knew that as a part angel she would one day have to fulfill her purpose, rescuing Christian from a forest fire . . . what she never considered was what might happen if she were to fail.
Now, torn between her increasingly complicated feelings for Christian and her love for her boyfriend Tucker, Clara must deal with the repercussions of what happened the day of the fire as the two boys vie for her heart. And, as she is drawn further into the world of angels and 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 after a shocking revelation, the only thing Clara knows for sure is that the fire was just the beginning . . .
A big thanks to HarperCollins Australia for sending me a review copy of this book!
Unearthly, the first installment of the series, was one of my favourite reads of 2010 and I thought Cynthia Hand handled all aspects of the paranormal story and even the romance with such grace. For the most part, she entertained me on a high level which is rather hard to do lately considering angels - in my opinion - are overused in young adult fiction. I still love angels but we have to admit to ourselves that they aren't unique anymore in young adult fiction. But since I fell deeply in love with the first book, I had very high expectations for its sequel and the author didn't disappoint me . . . well not too much.
In HALLOWED we continue to follow Clara's journey to find out more about her purpose and what it takes to be an angel-blood. For those who've finished the first book, readers will know the town is still recovering from the fire incident and Clara is still trying to overcome her feelings for two boys that she has a strong connection with - one she was supposed to save in the fire and one she didn't want to leave to his death. But things start to get really complicated for our young Clara because not only do her dreams or rather "visions" seem strange (and so very haunting and real), but her family are keeping dangerous secrets from her and with bad people wanting to hurt her family, she's is also struggling with her feelings for two boys, even if one is not her boyfriend.
Even though I loved the overall storyline of HALLOWED and the direction it was heading towards (don't get me wrong it's still a great book), but I struggled with certain parts of this sequel and not to mention the characters themselves whom I loved originally in Unearthly. Story-wise, readers will have many unanswered questions solved and learn some new and exciting things in regards to Clara's family that will change everything. And for that, I applaud Hand for writing these surprising twists. Now as for the characters, while already beging a fan of Clara herself, I knew she would remain a strong main narrator in the book and she did to a certain extent. But when it came to the love triangle shared between her and the two main love interests, Christian and Tucker, her emotions and thoughts fell a little flat for me - mainly because of her constant infatuation with Christian, even with her boyfriend, Tucker, by her side. While I understand her "crazy" and internal pull towards Christian and all that, but I disliked the way she propped herself on the pedestal and remained undecided about what she truly wants in a relationship. It got on my nerves more than on one occasion.
Okay let's talk about the two boys. I mean that's what we're really here for, right? Firstly let's discuss Tucker (you knew I would talk about him first didn't you?). Tucker . . . Tucker . . . Tucker . . . where do I start with you? For those who know my fictional boy teams well, you will know I was forever on Team Tucker in Unearthly and no one - not even another fictional boy - could change my mind about Tucker and my love for him.
Now after eagerly finishing this book I still remain faithful on Tucker's side and I love him to bits. I admit you get to see a little different side to Tucker in regards to jealousy and possessiveness, and sometimes he was a little shallow, but he's still my favourite cowboy with a pot of golden hearts to share with the world. His devotion to Clara and his acceptance of her angel-gifts were truly aspiring and readers will love him even more in this book. But to ruin the Tucker highlights you have dear Christian . . . freaking "golden-boy" Christian. *shakes head* Christian is the type of boy I want gone from this Earth and I will do whatever it takes to get rid of him . . . but sadly I had a soft spot for him in HALLOWED and I grew to like him. But I still hate him and his sensitive (pardon my language) ass. Christian was the problem of this book and I've read many review that said they love Christian but I don't know what to think after the cliffhanger Hand pulled off. I'm still in denial just so you know.
As for the other supporting cast, Clara's friends and family, they were fantastic characters to have around in this particular sequel. I don't know about you guys but I'm not a fan of Clara's friend, Angela, because I think she's a terrible friend and unworthy to be called a friend, but in any case I continued to love Clara's mother (she's a great mother) and Clara's brother, Jeffrey (he's a great brother in his brotherly-moody ways). Despite their deep and dark secrets that they carry along with them, Clara's family was the strongest point in the book and their relationships with Clara are tested beyond your own expectations and I loved that.
Overall, I still enjoyed this book despite my "small" disappointments in the characters and in the ending itself. Nonetheless fans of the first book Unearthly will love HALLOWED for what it's worth and what it has to offer in preparation for the third and final installment which isn't due out until 2013. I can't wait to see what the future holds for Clara. But be warned my dear readers - this book will have you screaming in tiny fits and you'll be left in some dark depression. Lot's depression in fact.
Here in the picture below is the US cover of HALLOWED which I prefer compared to the UK and AUS covers. I can't wait to get my own preordered copy of this book to match my own shiny purple hardback copy of Unearthly.