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Review: The Hallowed Ones by Laura Bickle

Sunday, October 14, 2012 § 1 Comment

Title: The Hallowed Ones
Author: Laura Bickle
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal, Horror, Dystopian
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Release date: September 25, 2012
ISBN-10: 0547859260
ISBN-13: 9780547859262
Format: Kindle
Source: Purchased
Katie is on the verge of her Rumspringa, the time in Amish life when teenagers are free to experience non-Amish culture before officially joining the church. But before Rumspringa arrives, Katie’s safe world starts to crumble. It begins with a fiery helicopter crash in the cornfields, followed by rumors of massive unrest and the disappearance of huge numbers of people all over the world. Something is out there…and it is making a killing.

Unsure why they haven’t yet been attacked, the Amish Elders make a decree: no one goes outside their community, and no one is allowed in. But when Katie finds a gravely injured young man lying just outside the boundary of their land, she can’t leave him to die. She refuses to submit to the Elders’ rule and secretly brings the stranger into her community—but what else is she bringing in with him?

My Review:
Katie has been waiting for her Rumspringa for a long time. She's a good Amish girl who values her beliefs but has a bit of a rebellious streak and still wants to experience life on her own, to know what it feels to be truly independent. The world beyond their own Amish community is referred to as the "Outside", and Katie is ready to go. But something happens that forces a lockdown; outsiders cannot come in and no one from their community can leave. People are dying and there's something evil out there.

Katie, Katie, Katie. I love her. She was smart, rational, brave, and had this quality about her that made you believe she'd do well given the chance of freedom. There are some romantic, relationship-y bits in the book, but nothing too major that it verges on being the central focus. It's just the right amount for this type of book. I love Alex, though, definitely more than Elijah, Katie's best friend and most-likely husband-to-be in her eyes. The relationships between Katie and the other characters were nicely done as well. Bickle gives the readers a nice glimpse into the Amish culture, giving it a nice touch of insight, authenticity, and straying away from being even an ounce preachy or over-the-top. She provided the perfect mix of culture and paranormal to make one scary-ass perfect story. Who knew it would work?

The vampires are not the usual romanticized heartthrobs that have seemed to take over YA literature as of late. Bickle brings it back to the terrifying monsters that Stephen King would be proud of. They're super creepy and just vile, I couldn't put the book down. I found myself literally gasping and having my eyes almost bulge out of their sockets at some parts, it's just so grossly engaging.

I suggested this book in a meme just this past Friday. I read it just when I started blogging, but I never wrote up a review for it. I thought this would be an appropriate time as it's around Halloween. I read the premise and had some serious doubts, but I like being proved wrong when it comes to books, because you never know, right? There are some books with amazing plots but the writing itself is just terrible. So why can't the opposite happen? That's why I decided to read this. No regrets. It was amazing, guys. While the whole premise of Amish + vampires sounds crazy ridiculous, it was well-written and utterly engaging. The build-up was fantastically done and paid off in the end. I never found myself bored or reading for the sake of getting it over with. I'm not usually one for horror novels; I read them only once in a while. It's not my first genre of choice, but I can definitely stomach horror novels more than horror movies. As I've mentioned on this blog before, I don't have half the imagination that horror directors do, so the scary scenarios aren't as scary in my head as they could be on-screen, just because I don't want them to be. Even though Bickle's descriptions gave me chills, it was still enjoyable enough for me to keep reading. Call me a wuss, but I get scared easily. If I do decide to read horror, I wait until this time of year. If you're looking for a solid paranormal/dystopian read for this Halloween season, definitely consider picking this up.

My rating:

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Buy this book:
IndieBound.org | Amazon.com | Indigo.ca

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