Review: Hallowed by Cynthia Hand

February 25, 2013 3 - 3.5 Stars, Angels, Bad Twists, Cynthia Hand, Paranormal 2 ★★★

Hallowed by Cynthia Hand
Series: Unearthly # 2
Published by HarperTeen on January 17, 2012
Genres: Paranormal
Pages: 403
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
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.

***Note – This review contains spoilers of the first novel, Unearthly.***

Oh, Cynthia – you had me at Unearthly.  But you’ve started to lose me with Hallowed.  Not completely; not by a log shot.  But much of the magic that was in Unearthly just was not here for me.  Let’s start with the BIG REVEALS.  Now, I like a big reveal; who doesn’t?  But one heaped on top of another can start to feel cheap.  Or manipulative.  We had a lot of them in Unearthly, up to and including Christian’s shocking revelation that he, too, was an angel, so I thought things would settle down a bit in the sequel.  The first big “surprise”, involving Clara’s mother, seemed like a lot of melodrama over something that was not terribly surprising; I felt as though I was missing something.  (Maybe that something is my emotional chip, but that’s a discussion for another day.)  It seemed as though it was supposed to be very dramatic and upsetting, but all I was thinking was, “All of this angst over THAT?”  When the BIG SAD MOMENT finally came, I felt almost no emotion.

And then we get another huge shock from a character we’ve not yet seen (if you’ve read Hallowed, you know the one.)  My first reaction was, “Wow, great surprise!”  Then I felt irritated.  And finally, I acquiesced; it did, after all, add some drama to the story.  But I’m still not sure if it was really necessary.  Of course, we can’t forget Clara’s big twist.  While I did enjoy the new mythology that this twist brought, it was all becoming a bit hard to swallow.

But we’re not finished yet, because Christian still has to make his own big reveal.  Honestly, I just rolled my eyes at this point.

One final complaint – why didn’t we get more Angela??  She was one of my favorite characters in Unearthly, but she was absent from much of Hallowed.

And yet, this is still Cynthia Hand.  I do love the romances with two great male leads; Cynthia knows her way around a good love triangle, and it’s easy to see how Clara can be conflicted.  Truthfully, if  this book was written by another author, I would probably have given it another star.  But Cynthia set my expectations so high with Unearthly, and I don’t like to be disappointed.  I’m allowed to be a little arbitrary, right?  That said, there’s not a doubt that I’ll be reading Boundless, because I am hopeful for a return to the greatness of Unearthly, and in the last three pages, Cynthia pulled me right back in again.  Let’s still be friends.

Review posted at Goodreads and Amazon


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