Released: January 24, 2012
Genre: YA Paranormal Romance
Challenge: Speculative Romance, YA/MG Fantasy
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.
In this compelling sequel to UNEARTHLY, Cynthia Hand captures the joy of first love, the anguish of loss, and the confusion of becoming who you are.
Cynthia said in an interview that she originally wanted to call this book "Sorrowful" - and I totally get why. Hallowed has way more grief and sorrow than Unearthly - but at the same time, Hallowed has just as much tender romance and emotion.
I loved Clara, Tucker, and Christian in the first book, and the second book only adds to that. Their relationships grow and tangle, but never does any lose my respect in situations that are very hard to handle. Yes, there is a great scene between Tucker and Christian fighting over Clara, but somehow I was able to be rooting for both of them in that scene! I chuckled when Clara thinks an aside about the ridiculousness of novels and movies having love triangles, and the way she analyzes how she's going through that very thing just made me feel for her more, because she comes across as intelligent and frustrated, with a real choice to make.
The way Cynthia portrays everything, the people and angels as well as the situations themselves, sets up choices that Clara has to make, and those choices are not easy. It's not clear which way is the right way, it's not clear which boy she should choose or how she should react to the revelations she has to face. I love how Clara is so torn, how realistically she struggles with these choices, how she tries to fight destiny while making her own fate.
And that's another thing I love about the book - it very subtly explores the balance between free will and destiny (in a decidedly non-religious fashion). I suspect that the third book will delve more fully into this, and I'm looking forward to seeing how Clara reconciles her purpose with her love. She already starts doing that at the end of this book, but I'm sure that's only the tip of the iceberg!
I was completely gripped by the story, by the writing, by the characters. Unearthly took my breath away, and Hallowed blew me away completely!