Saturday 20 October 2012

Review: The Hallowed Ones by Laura Bickle

The Hallowed Ones

  The Hallowed Ones
  Author: Laura Bickle
  Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  Publication date: September 25th 2012
  Source: Netgalley
  My rating: 4.5 Stars

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.

I was wowed by this story.  Who would have thought the mix of Amish people, end-of-the-world, and vampires would make a bloody brilliant story?!!  I was riveted, scared and on the edge of my seat in parts!

Katie is an Amish girl preparing for her Rumspringa, and she can hardly wait.  Rumspringa literally means “running around,” and it’s  a time when the Amish youth travel to the Outside and have a glimpse of life outside the walls of their community.  That way,  when they get baptized and commit to the Amish way and god, they are sure it’s what they want.  Life seems to have other plans for Katie, because the Outside world has changed and soon Rumspringa will be the least of her concerns. 

The Hallowed Ones started out basically giving us a look into the life the Amish, or the Plain Folk as they call themselves.  I found it fascinating  learning about their ways.  They lead such a simpler life than most of us do, probably a more content one.  It had me asking a lot of what-if questions, and had me wondering how I’d fare in a community like this. 

Katie, was a girl I could totally relate to.  She had a mind of her own and didn’t just accept what their leaders said at face value, although she often felt guilty about it afterward.  I have similar reactions to authority, which doesn’t always turn out well, lol!  When they find an Outsider at the edge of their fence, unconscious and injured, the Elders decide not only to leave him there, but to bar anyone from going in or out of the gates.  Katie is outraged that her people would refuse aid, and disobeys the Elders order by bringing in and sheltering this stranger in an unused barn. 

Inevitably, what’s been going on outside trickles in.  Let me warn you right now, that parts of this story should not be read in the dark.  I had chills and nervous energy thrumming through my body while reading this.  There are some scary scenes and some pretty gruesome ones, as well, and I was lapping it up!  I love it when a book scares the you-know-what out of me!  Of course, I pay for it later when I’m too scared to shut the final light off before going to bed!

As if this story couldn’t get any better, we have romance too!  I’ll admit, this was light on romance but it was enough, even for a romance junkie like me to be satisfied.  This sent a thrill though me:

His fingers meshed in mine.  I nodded wordlessly and moved away, pulling against his grip.  But he didn’t let go.  He reeled me back in as if I were a fish.  With a startled gasp, I stumbled and landed against his chest.  A flicker of amusement glittered in his eyes.  He kissed me on my forehead, whispered against my skin.  “Be careful Bonnet.”*

The Hallowed Ones pleasantly surprised me with an original story and captivating characters.  The story ended and I immediately wanted more!  I wasn’t pulling my hair out over the ending, but I felt like we were just at the halfway point.   I guess we kind of are, because there’s a sequel coming in fall of 2013.  I’ll be the first in line waiting to pick it up! 

*Quote taken from and uncorrected proof and may change in the final copy.


Leanna Elle said...

Love the sound of this one. I hope I can get to my Netgalley copy before it expires!

WinterHaven said...

Awesome review! I absolutely loved this one too!! LOL I still can't go in my basement XD

Eunice said...

Lovely review, Rachel! So many positive things I've heard of this one. I can't wait to read this. I'm not much into vampire novels but I can feel that I would totally enjoy it. Plus scary and gruesome? That spells a must read for me. Glad to see you enjoyed it. :)

Maja (The Nocturnal Library) said...

I am so very ashamed to admit that I know next to nothing about the Amish. No, scratch that, NOTHING at all is closer to the truth. But this book, with its very creepy moments, a satisfying romance and that educational side seems like a right place to start learning something new. I can hardly continue living in ignorance, it's just not me. :)
Wonderful review, Rachel!

Sam (Realm of Fiction) said...

Yay! I'm so glad you really enjoyed this book too! Wasn't Katie just brillant? I thought she was a very relatable character also and can't wait to see what happens in the next book. :) Fantastic review as always.

Jen (Books and Other Happy Ever Afters) said...

I've been really hesitant about checking this book out, mostly because it's a tad religious, no? But the combination of different genres sound too good to resist! Since you loved it so much, I think I'll have to check it out for sure :) I love that the character was totally relatable, that's my favorite thing about a book, usually. Light romance! I'm not sure that'll be enough for me, but it should suffice in the end. Brilliant review, Rachel! So glad you enjoyed this one a whole lot. :)

Heidi@Rainy Day Ramblings said...

I am kicking myself for not getting this. I admit I wrote it off thinking reading about the Amish, but A feisty Amish girl taking on some vamps and chilling, creepy scenes well dang it! I missed out!

Anonymous said...

It sounds like the setting is well-founded given the structure and the lifestyle they lead. Though I didn't expect this would be a horror kind of book! Fun surprises. If only I wasn't a big coward hahaha. And for some reason, I've been reading books with light romance more and more recently and I found those books extremely pleasant. Just goes to show there is a right amount of everything :D

Great review, Rachel :D

Keertana said...

Aaahhh I need to get my hands on this ASAP! I keep hearing such amazing things about it and it seems like a novel I'd adore. I'm not a huge fan of Amish culture, but I respect it and am so curious to see how it's portrayed and handled in this story, especially with the zombies thrown in! I also have to admit, that tiny line of romance made me swoon! ;) Wonderful review, Rachel! I clearly need to read this one soon!

Mel@Thedailyprophecy said...

This book sounds SO good. Zombies combined with Amish? So unique! The Amish aren't really.. something for me, but I'm looking forward to find out more about their way of living. Add in some zombies and scary parts - and you got me happy! :D Great review!

tthepageturner said...

There's been so many awesome reviews on this book! I have it on my tbr and need to get to it soon. Great review! ^^

PS. Love that quote!

Unknown said...

In the past week, I've started hearing amazing things about this book. It sounds completely original and I can't wait to read. Great review, Rachel. I'm glad you enjoyed it!

Livvy said...

This sounds brilliant! I read Sam's review a while back and I adored the sound of it and I do even more now. I really need to get my hands on a copy of this. I got rejected on NetGalley, I think for living in the UK... That sucks, but I'm so glad you enjoyed this one Rachel.

The quote sounds awesome. A really brilliant quote to pick. You have such a canny ability to pick ones that make me want to read a book.

Lovely review!

Suzanne (Parabooklover) said...

I totally agree about the mixture of Amish people and vampires which left me a little bit sceptical about this book until I seen the great reviews trickling in and now I'm really looking forward to this one. Another great quote from you too :) Fantastic review Rachel.

Rachel said...

Yes she was, Sam! I loved her strong will. I can't wait for book two either. And thanks. :)

Rachel said...

@Winterhaven-It did leave my spine tingling after reading! Some truly scary parts!

@Eunice-These aren't your average sparkly, model quality vamps. These are the scary, run for your life type if that helps at all.

@Maja-I think you would love this story. Plus, you can look at it as an educational experience. One that scares the crap out of you! ;)

Anonymous said...

YES, A THOUSAND TIMES YES! So, so glad you were a fan of this book, Rachel. :) Wasn't Katie terrific? And while the romance took a back- seat in this one, it pleased me, too (and I'm not much of a romance fan!). Brilliant review! This was also educational for me and many readers, which I really liked. :)

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