Day Five of the Apocalypse! Mass panic, hoarding, looting, terror and death. Have you decided to run or are you going to hole up and hope for the best?
What frightening apocalyptic reads await us today? Here are the stops:
Today, we are taking a trip to the simplistic and quiet countryside where the Amish have settled. The Amish lead a life free from all the modern conveniences. It is a life based on devotion to their religion and hard work. What happens, though, when the evil of the modern world comes creeping into the quiet commune in the form of vampires? Laura Bickle's The Hallowed Ones is a gripping and haunting tale of a young woman who is caught between the two worlds. If she tries to ignore what is happening on The Outside, her entire world could be destroyed, but what if exposing the truth comes at a hefty price?
I am super excited to introduce you all to Laura Bickle. Many of you may have already read this terrifying tale. I was kicking myself for reading it last fall, but no matter, The Apocalypse! provided the perfect opportunity to spotlight this magnificent read. Before we get to the Amish and the vamps, let me introduce you all to Laura:
Laura Bickle's professional background is in criminal justice and library science. When she's not patrolling the stacks at the public library, she can be found reaming up stories about the monsters under the stairs. She has written several contemporary fantasy novels for adults, and THE HALLOWED ONES is her first young adult novel. Laura lives in Ohio with her husband and six mostly-reformed feral cats. For more about Laura, please visit her website, blog or find her on Facebook, Twitter or Goodreads.
Here is Laura to take us surviving a vampire attack in Amish Country:
Surviving the Vampire Apocalypse (in Amish Country)
By Laura Bickle
There are apocalypses of all kinds in popular fiction. Zombies, nuclear war, failing ecosystems – there are a lot of ways to envision the demise of the human race. In the world of THE HALLOWED ONES, the end comes with a plague of vampires.
As one of my characters remarks:
“It was nothing like you see in the movies, these creatures. There’s no seduction. No passionate luring of the victim to a dark side of velvet. This is just the stinking, rotting underbelly of evil without its makeup. This is exactly what the Undead were in the old folk stories, the world around. Every culture has a vampire—a creature that drinks the blood of the living. And it’s not a pretty process.”
So how’s my heroine, Katie, supposed to survive the vampire apocalypse? She’s a young Amish woman in a rural settlement, who has safely remained insulated from the threat until people start disappearing. She’s got some choices, and none of them are good. In the spirit of Katie’s fight for survival, here are her Top Ten Ways to Survive the Vampire Apocalypse (in Amish Country):
1. Listen to the animals. They know when something’s awry. When things start going pear-shaped in the world beyond Katie’s fence, the ravens make a mass exodus. They are so numerous that they blot out the sun as they flee something terrible. She knows that something is wrong, but can’t tell exactly what…yet.
2. Find some holy ground. Traditionally, vampires are deterred by holy ground. In the Amish community, church services are held on a rotating basis in members’ yards. This effectively makes the entire settlement holy ground. Which is a good thing – as long as nobody unwittingly lets evil in.
3. Make friends with a wizard. Katie’s settlement is different from other Amish settlements in that they imported some unusual Old World traditions centuries ago. And one of these is the Hexenmeister. He seems to be a dotty old fellow, painting hex signs on barns in the Pennsylvania Dutch fashion and writing letters to God while he talks to himself. But he has a hereditary knowledge of what he calls “the Darkness”…and he may be the only person who knows how to fight it. If anyone will listen to him, that is.
4. Keep out of the shadows. These vampires love the dark. Not just the night, but any kind of indoor shade or shadow. Keep in the sunshine to keep safe, and close the windows at night. Otherwise, one might hear them whispering, calling to those inside to come out and be devoured…
5. Defy authority, quietly. The Bishop in Katie’s community has made a decree: nobody comes in, and nobody goes out. But Katie is tempted to defy the edict when she finds Alex, an injured young man just beyond her fence. Does he have information that could help them defeat the Darkness…or is he evil himself?
6. Sharp pointy things are your friends. Nothing stops a vamp better than a sharp stake to the chest, earning Katie the nickname: “Bonnet the Vampire Slayer.”
7. Don’t be afraid of a little arson. Katie has always feared fire – it’s a devastating threat in a community without a fire department or telephones. But fire is a good deterrent against ancient evil, as well.
8. Be careful when you’re bringing out the dead. The Bishop and the Elders refuse to believe that evil can penetrate the Amish community. But when a family is savagely killed in their own home, Katie knows that the vampires have breached their defenses. And she’s got to figure out how to keep the newly-dead family from becoming vampires themselves.
9. Trust no one. Well, almost no one. An insular community can turn on itself in the wake of a crisis. The people Katie thought she could trust seem lost in denial and fear, and she turns to outsiders for help. Her strongest allies are not who she expected them to be.
10. Don’t lose faith. The strongest weapon against the vampires is Katie’s own faith. As she struggles and questions, she must learn to rely on her beliefs to empower her and drive back the Darkness.
Interesting tips! A huge thanks to Laura for stopping by and sharing her tips on how to survive a vampire infestation Amish style. Laura was an absolute pleasure to work with, and I am looking forward to having her post again during Something Wicked in October so watch for her return! Now for the giveaway, Laura is generously offering a copy of The Hallowed Ones to one lucky winner. To enter read the Contest Policies and fill out the Rafflecopter. Laura is making this giveaway International as long as the Book Depository ships to you. So please show her some love.a Rafflecopter giveaway
Here is my review:
The Hallowed Ones(The Hallowed Ones #1) by Laura Bickle
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.
Paperback, 311 pages
Published September 25th 2012 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Four and a half stars: A terrifying tale of one girl's attempt to stop the vampires in Amish country!
Katie soaks in the warm Autumn sunshine. She is eagerly planning her trip to the Outside with her life long friend, Elijah, during their Rumspringa. Katie can't wait to finally experience all the modern world has to offer. Her dreams are dashed when strange occurrences rock the outside world. There are reports of rioting and murder. Katie is determined to try and get to the bottom of the problem. What she finds is something so terrifying that no one will believe her. Vampires are destroying the world. Can Katie persuade the Elders to take steps to stop the vampires even if it means risking everything?
What I Liked:
- Wow! This book rocks! I admit I was a bit hesitant to pick this one up because I didn't think the Amish and vampires were a good mix, but I must say, Laura Bickle presents a terrifying tale that you don't want to miss! I loved how she blended the quiet, religious Amish community with old world type vampires. This book is scary, realistic and a thrill ride from beginning to end. I could not put it down!
- I am a Western girl, so I am unfamiliar with the Amish community for the most part. What little I do know has been gleaned from books, tv or movies. I thoroughly enjoyed being immersed into the Amish culture and loved learning new things about this relatively closed community. I was surprised to learn that the Amish are quite a bit more open minded than I believed. I thought that Ms. Bickle did an excellent job of depicting the Amish world, and I loved getting lost in the safe, quiet community, until the vampires showed up. The world building in this one is top notch!
- Katie is one of my new favorite heroines. I so admired her spunk and spirit. She is at the age where she is on the verge of becoming an adult, and as an Amish girl that means she must either make a commitment to the Amish church or leave the community. I can only imagine how difficult it would be to leave behind your former life, family and friends never to return. I loved that Katie refuses to accept everything at face value and that she dares to question the authority of the Elders. I truly admired and identified with her rebellious spirit. I loved that she was able to think for herself, instead of going along with the majority. She is courageous, intelligent and willing to do what is necessary to protect her world.
- Let's talk about the vampires.... I have stated numerous times that I am done with vampires. I am so tired of them these days that it is difficult for me to pick up any type of vampire book. I didn't have any trouble with this one because Ms. Bickle takes us back to the roots of vampirism. Her vampires are shrouded in Old World lore. They are ferocious, terrifying, and they follow the standard rules of vampirism we are all familiar with, such as they can't touch anything holy, they burn in sunlight, they can hypnotize,they are vicious murderers, repelled by garlic and to kill them you must stake and behead them. However, I did like the new twist in that the cause of vampirism seems to be some kind of infection. If you are tired of all the glamorous vampire books, don't worry this one portrays vampires as horrific monsters. They are creepy and sure to give you a good scare.
- At the heart of this story is an age old conflict of choosing to adhere strictly to religion and faith or take a scientific approach and try and view things from a more educated angle. Are the vampires brought on by the evil of man or is there a scientific explanation, or perhaps is it a bit of both? Katie decides to believe in the impossible and chooses to seek information from the Outside even though it is forbidden by the Elders who insist that they must keep to praying and following their strict religious life style. Even when the truth is staring them in the face, they refuse to accept it. This definitely gives you something to ponder. Would you be courageous enough to go against everything you know and believe the impossible?
- I loved the writing. Ms. Bickle gave me everything I love in a good book: solid world building, gorgeous writing, terrific characters, entertaining plot and a thrilling storyline. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and I cannot wait to tear into book two The Outside.
And The Not So Much:
- I struggled just a tiny bit with the romance. At first, it appears that a love triangle might rear its ugly head, but thankfully that doesn't happen. Katie quickly makes her choice. I was a bit surprised by her decision, but I felt it was the right one. I just didn't like how she was so quick to turn against one of the boys. I was sad that things got ugly.
- The Hexenmeister was such a fascinating character and I longed to get to know him better. I so wanted to spend an afternoon in his humble home learning more about his craft and his hex signs. I am hoping that I can somehow learn more about him in the next book as he is one of those characters that captured my interest. I would definitely like to know more about the hex signs.
- I was a bit confused as to why the hex sign on Katie's barn was suddenly blistered after the fighter jets flew over the settlement. Were the planes distributing some type of chemical? What caused the paint on Katie's hex sign to bubble?
- The ending was a bit of a cliffhanger. However, it was a good stopping point, but it certainly left me itching to get into the next book.
- There is a bit of gore and violence in this one. There is a murder scene that is a bit gristly, so if you aren't a fan of blood and guts you are warned. I didn't think it was overly gross or over the top. Just enough for a good scare!
The Hallowed Ones was an absolutely fantastic read. I devoured this book. I loved the world building, the characters and the scary plot. If you are looking for something thrilling and creepy do not hesitate, grab this book now before the sequel, The Outside, releases in September.
"There was a difference, I had decided, between knowing and believing. And I wanted both."
"Wait until you have children. You'll feel old immediately."
"Well, it seems as if God's left the building, and we're left to our own devices."
I borrowed a copy of this book. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for this review.
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