Review – The Hallowed Ones by Laura Bickle (Check it Out Before Book #2 Comes Out!)

August 30, 2013 Reviews 0 ★★★★½

Series: The Hallowed Ones #1
Author: Laura Bickle
Release Date: Sept, 2012

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Pages: 311, Paperback
Goodreads Rating: 4.03 stars
My Rating: 4.5/5 stars
My Content Rating: PG-16? (Some pretty grisly violence, sexual situations, but not much is really shown)

 

Summary from Goodreads: 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.

 

The Hallowed Ones was AMAZING and I loved it!!  I picked this book up because I signed up to do a tour of book #2 in the series (The Outside, which releases on Sept. 3rd).  I actually don’t think I made it onto the tour, but I was intrigued by the concept of an Amish horror book, so I decided that I needed to read book #1 anyway.  I am SO glad I did!  Now, I can’t wait for September 3rd so I can rush out and get my hands on the next book!

The book follows Katie, an Amish girl who has been eagerly awaiting her chance to see the outside world during her Rumspringa.  But, before she’s able to head out, disaster strikes the Outside.  While no one knows exactly what’s happened, they know that it’s big and that it’s devastating.  The elders respond by making a rule that no one can enter or leave the community.  But, Katie finds herself breaking the rules when a young man shows up at their fence and its obvious that he will die without her help.  She also ventures Outside and finds that the situation is even more dire than they all first imagined.  There are creatures out there – something is hunting, and Katie and her people are anything but safe.

The negatives:
  • Somewhat negative view of the Amish.  This is the one and only thing that kept me from giving this book 5 stars.  While the book started out with a relatively positive portrayal of the Amish people, as the book went on I felt that they were more and more vilified.  The elders were shown as being closed-minded and controlling – what really bothered me, though, was that they weren’t acting this way because of their core beliefs, but because they seemed to be power hungry.  Also, one of the characters (who I don’t want to name because I don’t want to spoil anything) seemed to suddenly turn into a really bad person once they embraced the Amish faith – I’m not sure if it was Bickle’s intention to have this transformation specifically coincide with embracing the faith or not, but it was a bit jarring to me.  Still, I enjoyed the story so much overall that I gave this issue a bit more of a pass than I would have otherwise.  I think that some of these negative perceptions were needed to get Katie to where she needed to be as a character, so I could forgive them a bit.
What I LOVED:

  • It’s an Amish horror/paranormal book!  I’ve always been really interested in Amish life and Amish communities and I love a good paranormal novel.  This is the weirdest, best combination ever!  The first half of the book kept me completely entranced with the portrayal of Amish life and the mystery of what was happening in the town.  Then, as we really got into the creepy, horror part of the story, I was glued to my book.  I. Could. Not. Put. It. Down.  I’m not even generally a horror fan (though I love paranormal), but this had me hooked.  I was terrified for Katie and for the her friends and family.  So, Amish story = really good.  Horror/paranormal = really good.  Amish paranormal/horror story (when done right) = AMAZING!
  • Katie.  I absolutely loved Katie!  She was such a strong character – I loved that she had a strong faith in God and in the moral foundation of her religion (such as the fact that it is her moral responsibility to help others in need) even while she struggled with whether or not she could embrace the Amish life fully.  I loved that Katie fought for what was right based on her own moral compass.  She didn’t back down from her beliefs when the authorities in her life told her that she was wrong, and she didn’t let anyone force her into making decisions she wasn’t ready to make.  Add to that the fact that Katie is incredibly brave and strong (nobody needs to save Katie – she takes care of herself!) and you have an amazing heroine.  Love her!
  • Did I mention that it’s an Amish horror/paranormal book?  Um, yeah, I think I did.  Really – it was awesome.

The Hallowed Ones was a unique and scary roller coaster ride that I wanted to stay on forever.  I absolutely cannot wait to read the next book to find out what happens to Katie next.  I suggest you go out and get this book now so that you can be ready for The Outside when it comes out on September 3rd!  4.5/5 stars.

 

 

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