For months part-angel Clara Gardner trained to face the raging forest fire from her visions and rescue the alluring and mysterious Christian Prescott from the blaze. But nothing could prepare her for the fateful decisions she would be forced to make that day, or the startling revelation that her purpose—the task she was put on earth to accomplish—is not as straightforward as she thought.
Now, torn between her increasingly complicated feelings for Christian and her love for her boyfriend, Tucker, Clara struggles to make sense of what she was supposed to do the day of the fire. And, as she is drawn further into the world of 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, the only thing Clara knows for sure is that the fire was just the beginning.
Described by Richelle Mead as “utterly captivating,” Unearthly received outstanding reviews, garnered accolades from New York Times bestselling authors, and was named an Indie Next Pick. In this heart-wrenching sequel, Cynthia Hand expertly captures the all-consuming joy of first love—and the agony of loss.
Hardcover, 403 pages
Published January 17th 2012 by HarperCollins Publishers
Five Stars: The sequel does not disappoint. This book will take you on another emotional journey.
Hallowed, picks up shortly after the cataclysmic fire that swept through the final pages of Unearthly. Clara is coming to terms with the consequences of the choice she made to defy her purpose and follow her heart. Despite worrying over the repercussions, she has no regrets. Given the same circumstances, she will chose Tucker time and time again. He holds her heart and she his. The two resume their delightful romance, prepared to accept what comes their way. Sigh...if only it was that easy. As we walk along the path through the journey of life, we will find great love and joy, as well as heartbreak, disappointment and loss. No one is immune. How we handle these obstacles ultimately, will define us. Cynthia Hand in Unearthly, guided us through the butterflies and giddy happiness of falling head over heels in love. Through Clara and Tucker we see the thrill and excitement of connecting with the one who sings in perfect harmony with your own heart. Hallowed, takes you into the gut wrenching emotions of loss. Ms. Hand, captures the angst, sorrow and anger that accompany death. Clara stands at the crossroads of life. She is graduating high school, preparing to take that first step into adulthood. What she isn't expecting is the recurring dreams showing her flashes of a funeral. She is going to lose someone close to her, but who? Along with the worry of deciphering the dreams, comes the revelation that her purpose is not yet fulfilled. No matter how hard she fights to retain Tucker and their great love, her purpose driven path leads to Christian. Does Clara have the strength and resolve to accept her destiny, all while preparing for a painful goodbye?
What I Liked:
- I am an adamant admirer of Ms. Hand's writing. She manages to capture all the perfect emotions in her words. Her books reach right in and brush your heart. She shows her skill again in this novel as she pulls you through an emotive tug a war. Be prepared to shed a few tears as you walk through the steps to losing someone you love. Anyone who has endured a loss will relate to this book.
- I admit I was concerned after reading the early reviews about the development of a love triangle, as many of you know, I am not a fan of the three sided love stories. Ms. Hand manages to pull this one off brilliantly. She even jests at the ever present tug of war in popular literature. Clara is presented with the heart wrenching choice of blindly following her heart to Tucker, or accepting the reality that Christian is her perfect compliment. No matter how much she loves Tucker, their life together would be difficult. Christian, is always there sitting just outside her window, a calm supportive friend, who gets it. They are alike and no matter how hard Clara drags her feet, somehow her fate and purpose are intertwined with Christian. I would not want to be in Clara's shoes, knowing that perhaps the greatest and purest expression of her love for Tucker may involve walking away, in order to protect him from the danger of her angel heritage. The third and final book will be heart breaking no matter, who Clara chooses.
- Christian, one of my complaints about Unearthly, was that I didn't get to know Christian. While book one was all Tucker, book two is all about Christian. I am certain that many of you out there have firmly made up your mind that Tucker will always be the champion of your heart. I must warn you, Christian is going to wriggle into your head and try to lay claim to your heart. He shines in this book. I adored the simple gestures of comfort he provides for Clara. Knowing that sometimes not saying anything at all, was the right thing. He spends countless hours perched outside Clara's window, just to show her he is there. He never prods or pushes her, he accepts that she is with Tucker. He is caring, calming, supportive and above all Clara's friend. After reading Hallowed, I expect you will come away feeling just as conflicted as Clara. How on earth is she ever going to choose?
- My other complaint about Unearthly, was lack of information and history regarding Clara's mother, Meg. Obviously, I am not alone in my sentiment because Clara shares my frustration. This time, Meg does finally take us into her confidence and we learn her secrets. The relationship between Clara and her mother, is so tender and poignant. It reminded me to take a minute and pick up the phone and call my mother.
- This book is packed with angel lore. I was interested in all the depth and angles that Ms. Hand presents in this book. It was clearly evident that she did her research. I know the market is flooded with angel books. Trust me, this is the series you must read of you are fascinated by angels.
And The Not So Much:
- I know, it is hard to find fault with this beautiful book but I do have a couple of tiny critiques. First, Jeffrey, I loved his character in Unearthly, and I was hoping to get to known him better in this book. Instead, he evolved into a frustrated teenager. Jeffrey is obviously dealing with his own teenage angst. In typical adolescent fashion he shuts everyone out and becomes brooding and angry. I hated to see his painful transformation, even though I appreciate the genuine depiction of a teenage boy suffering, while he gropes through his own difficult decisions and painful emotions. I only hope he will somehow work through his issues in the next installment.
- One of the aspects that I absolutely adored in Unearthly, was Ms. Hand's vivid descriptions of the spectacular scenery. Being a former Idaho girl (and forever one in my heart), I soaked up the imagery of Wyoming. This book lacked a bit of that flavor, there are few detailed scenes but overall, the scenery doesn't shine in this one comparatively. I am glad though that Ms. Hand did include the trip to get square ice cream cones. I can personally attest to the scrumptiousness of these unique cones. (I even recall my dad stopping and getting us one for breakfast once on a trip to Jackson Hole, WY).
- The pacing in this book was a bit slow. Most of the story is spent following Clara as she grapples with her painful journey and decisions. The story lacks thrilling action but it makes up for that, with the array of emotions that you must sort through.
- I missed Tucker and Wendy. Wendy is for the most part absent in this book and Tucker ends up taking a back seat.
Hallowed, is a stunning sequel that will lodge deeply into your head and heart. It is a poignant and heartbreaking story that will speak to your soul. Ms. Hand has created a beautiful series that will no doubt continue to delight readers for years to come. You don't want to miss these books. Now, we all must count the days until the final release of Book Three, in 2013.
"Tucker--the man is definitely Tucker; I'd know that butt anywhere---leads him around the pasture."
"When I was a kid my mom used to tell me that if I had sex before I was married, my junk would turn black and fall off."
"My heart is beating so fast, skimming more than beating, like a hummingbird's wingd in my chest, my breath coming in shudders like I'm cold, like I'm scared, but I'm neither. I love him. I love him, I love him---the words have a pulse of their own."
"I feel like a bug waiting under God's enormous shoe, and all this dream is telling me, all it's leading me to, is to show up and stand there and wait to be crunched."
"Note to self: buy some nun chucks or something."
"You are part of me, " she replies. "And I am part of you. So yes, I will be with you."
"All I have to do to find my mother is to look at my hands."
"I've learned that sometimes, when you're afraid but you keep on moving forward, that's the biggest kind of courage there is."
"This moment right now. Let go of expectations. Just be. Then you are free to become something great."
Check out my review of Unearthly here.