Friday, January 27, 2012

Review: Hallowed by Cynthia Hand (Unearthly #2)

Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Fantasy
Release Date: 01/01/2012
Publisher: Harper Collins
Received from Publisher.
RRP: $24.99

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...

This novel was pretty good as far as sequels go. It was very entertaining, but was sad and more slow paced than it's predecessor 'Unearthly'. I have to say I was a little disappointed by 'Hallowed', but I feel that has more to do with the many great books I have read this month. My expectations were unusually high.

The interesting thing I find with a lot of sequels is that they are very similar to 'New Moon'. In the first novel of a series the other guy is always there, but the character doesn't fully realise their potential as boyfriend until the next novel. In 'Unearthly' the main character Clara did initially go for Christian, but changed her mind and ended up with Tucker. She decided to go against "destiny" to be with him. So technically the first book is a bit 'New Moon'-ish. The love triangle continues though...

The first book had a lot of different ideologies expressed surrounding destiny. Is it okay to go against destiny? Is destiny set in stone? Can you change your own destiny? In this book the main character changed her tune a bit. She was actually considering that destiny is something that has to be accepted. I thought this was interesting. Normally I would think that the character is doing the wrong thing by considering this, but was convincingly positioned to agree with Clara on this one. I have mentally torn up my imaginary 'Team Tucker' shirt.

There is also a sense of sympathy for characters like Wendy and Tucker because they are human and don't fully understand the weight on Clara's shoulders. Unlike Wendy, Tucker does know that Clara is an angel, but he's not completely informed. For someone who's not an angel-blood (or at least not in an angel blood's head like us readers), even being informed about the different aspects of this supernatural situation does not allow the character to fully understand or empathise with the angel-bloods.

I found myself getting a little annoyed at Clara in this book. I know she was under a lot of stress, but I thought she possibly could have handled things better. There were times when she was acting like a bit of a brat, but she didn't admit it to herself the way that the likes of Rose Hathaway from 'Vampire Acadamy' would have. This is where the other good books I've read this month begin to affect my judgement.

One thing I know a lot of avid readers will get a kick out of is the continuation of references to novels/books. The main character will often say something like "You know when something sad happens in a movie and...". This is where the book gets really entertaining. It feels like the author is really saying "I know this is really cliched, but it's true" and it's hilarious that she's talking a bout the way writer's write in a novel. I noted in my review of the first book that the character did this by mentioning Cinderella. It seems like the author is kicking typical paranormal romance in the gut.

Even though the visions about Clara's purpose inform us of what will happen in the future there are still surprises. It's not just the 'How' that the reader doesn't yet know, but the visions only portray the future to an extent. It's the same when people hint things to Clara in conversations. I thought "Oh, Okay. I see what's going to happen here" and then I was still surprised. I was sort of correct. What I thought was going to happen still kind of did, but it was completely different circumstances to how I originally thought.

Overall, I gave the book 4 stars. It was good, but I just didn't love it as much as 'Unearthly'. 'Hallowed' was definitely interesting and worth my time, but it was a bit sad which normally doesn't sit well with me. I also thought that the characters could have conversed a bit more. Even though the author did mock other Paranormal Romances a bit I thought that this novel was at a bit of a U-Turn back in that direction. Definitely worth a read for those who've read the first novel 'Unearthly', but I thought it the characters relied a little too much on their fate to make their decisions for them.
The first book in this series:
Unearthly by Cynthia Hand

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