Book Review Wednesday: The Hallowed Ones (4 stars)

Posted: April 9, 2014 in Book Reviews
Tags: , , , , , ,

I’ll set the scene for you: In the middle of a major zombie and vampire novel stint I came across ‘The hallowed ones.’ Another vampire novel, the ratings were decent, but I had a lot on my ‘to read’ pile, so it had to really sell me. Then I read the blurb:

Katie is on the verge of her Rumspringa, the time in Amish life when teenagers can get a taste of the real world. But the real world comes to her in this dystopian tale with a philosophical bent. Rumors of massive unrest on the “Outside” abound. Something murderous is out there. Amish elders make a rule: No one goes outside, and no outsiders come in. But when Katie finds a gravely injured young man, she can’t leave him to die. She smuggles him into her family’s barn—at what cost to her community? The suspense of this vividly told, truly horrific thriller will keep the pages turning.

Amish AND vampires! I’m there!

This isn’t a book without flaws. Some of Katie’s actions seemed immature, but then again she is a teenager, so I might be expecting too much from her. The plot was slow in places, and I wasn’t sure about Katie’s relationship with mysterious stranger Alex. I liked that they didn’t get on right away, but even when they did get on they didn’t really click in my head.

Good points:

Flawed characters. Katie makes mistakes, and seems a little pig headed at times, but her heart is in the right place. Elijah the jerk started off as a really nice guy before fear and jealously changed him. Even Katie’s parents, who are seriously loving, make some mistakes as the book goes on.

The Amish culture. I don’t know how accurate it is since I’m not an expert, but the way the book immersed you in the Amish culture was impressive. You learned a lot, but the author was careful to show you instead of infodump.

The vampires. Scary, scary things. No sparkling here. They were closer to the vampires from ‘the passage’ than the usual angsty looking guys with sharp teeth, but they had times of appearing human enough to make their lack of humanity terrifying. They can think and plan, and all their plans include killing people. There’s a moment when you see what they’re really capable of. You’ll know it when you see it. It sent a shiver down my spine.

Religion. Now this is what made this book so different to other books about vampires. I’ve found modern books go out of their way to deny the link between religion and vampires, but this one embraces it. It leads to an interesting look at the power of belief, and a conclusion that I fully support that it doesn’t matter what you believe, just that you believe it.  I think this was my favorite part of the book, but if you aren’t open to at least think about other religions, or consider religion in general if you’re a non believer (which I am), then you might not enjoy this part.

My opinion: not the best YA I’ve read recently, but a good one. Worth a read if you like YA horror.

And in case you want to look at some other people’s opinions on the book, here’s the goodreads page: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13018514-the-hallowed-ones

 

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