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About the book
Hallowed is the second book in the Unearthly series by Cynthia Hand. It was published on 2nd January by Electric Monkey. The book is 448 pages long. (This review will contain minor spoilers for the first book in the series).
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.
What I thought
For me, the first book in this series, Unearthly, was a five star book. I loved everything about it so I couldn't wait to get my hands on this one. My lovely best friend bought it for me as a birthday present this month and I picked it up the very same day.
As it had been a while since reading Unearthly, I couldn't exactly remember what had happened and where the story was left. That all soon came back to me though as Hallowed starts off quickly, making you remember what has already happened. Carrying on from the aftermath of the big fire, Clara is left unsure of what is going on in her life. The decision she made during the fire altered many things for Clara and now, she has no idea what the consequences of those actions are. It was clear to see how torn Clara was because of what she did and she really had no idea whether or not this was truly the right thing to do. Clara's feelings about this issue are described perfectly and Cynthia Hand's writing made me believe that she was so cut up about what had happened.
Due to past events, I think that Clara's personality (which I loved) takes a bit of a hit in this book. The feistiness that I loved about her has simmered down but I guess that is to be expected if you think about all that she has been through up until this point. I do wish that she had stayed true to how she was in Unearthly though. Although that fire inside of her disappeared somewhat, Clara is still an extremely strong character and that is only shown more this time around. One of the major plotlines shows that Clara can deal with absolutely anything and keep it together as much as possible and I was glad to see this. I love a strong, tough main female character and Clara definitely is that.
Clara made a clear choice between Tucker and Christian in the first book but it was obvious from the start that there was always going to be problems. This time, Clara tended to lean on Christian more than her boyfriend Tucker which I didn't like at all. I adore Tucker and think that he's a wonderful character. Tucker is put in a pretty difficult place by knowing that Clara is part angel - something that he shouldn't know at all. He deals so well with the situation and tries his best to be there for Clara no matter what happens and considering that he doesn't understand what is going on half of the time, this is a pretty big thing to do. I felt like Clara was just throwing a lot of that back in Tucker's face especially as he had obviously already shown that he was trustworthy.
I wasn't sure where the story would be heading after the first book and Hallowed was not what I was expecting at all when it came to this. Running alongside the aftermath of the fire is something that I would never have seen coming in a million years. Unearthly explained a lot about the angel lore in this world but not everything and there are some really big, important things explained this time around. It was very interesting how this was mixed in with a part of the story that was so sad and unexpected and I enjoyed figuring out how everything fit together. Obviously, as this is such a big part of the plot, I won't say more than that because it will ruin a big chunk of the surprises.
The pacing of Hallowed is quite strange. Sometimes, it felt like nothing at all was happening and that it was more about explanations rather than actions. Then, sometimes it felt like everything was happening far too quickly and I wanted these parts drawn out a bit more. Cynthia Hand mixes pacing a lot throughout this book but I do think that it helped to put me in a frame of mind where my emotions were all over the place, much like Clara's were throughout the book. While I do think it was a good thing in places, I would have liked for this book to have been a bit more like the last, where the parts that were supposed to be slow were and the faster parts were more exciting and tense.
Hallowed is a really good second book in a series although it didn't quite live up to my expectations. It does, however, set the scene extremely well for something big to happen in the third book and I can't wait to find out what will happen next.