Title: The Hallowed Ones
Author: Laura Bickle
Publishing Information: September 25, 2012 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal, Vampires, Dystopia
Series information: First in a series
Format: Paperback, 320 pages
Source: Borrowed from Amy (Tripping Over Books)
Recommended For: Fans of a very different kind of vampire tale.
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 (Via Goodreads).
When Amy first told me about this book I was skeptical. Amish…and vampires? I am over the vampire thing and…well, the Amish community doesn’t really do it for me. She ensured that I would love it and that it wasn’t THAT kind of vampire story so I gave it a go, and you guys, she was right. The Hallowed Ones was in a word, surprising. The plot was incredibly engaging and the atmosphere was just perfect. I didn’t really fall into the “horror” of the novel, but I have a very high threshold. I did enjoy seeing the vampires as monsters and not humanized characters, it was really different from the norm and kept me on my toes.
The characters in The Hallowed Ones were all fantastic. I really enjoyed Katie and her rebellious yet not too rebellious ways. I found her to be believable and engaging, she didn’t rebel against the restrictions of her society for anything less than what she believed was right. In other words, she wasn’t the typical teenager who rebelled against limitations because WHY NOT, but she rebelled because she knew that letting someone die for their differences wasn’t right, and following your heart is sometimes just as important as following your head. Katie’s parents were a tad infuriating to me but I especially enjoyed Ginger, the “outsider” who was forced to remain in the Amish community after the “attacks” started. Elijah annoyed me, he was a tool and I didn’t like how he treated Katie, he clearly knew little about her despite spending his entire life by her side. Then there is Alex…wooo boy did I love him. Alex is another “outsider” and boy does he turn Katie’s world upside down. Also, he has mythical tattoos that are yummy in my mind’s eye and also protect him from the bad things. Also, I can’t talk about characters without mentioning the Hexenmeister. That’s right, this book has it’s very own Hexenmeister. How awesome is that?! I loved this guy, I pictured him like an angry hermit who screams at kids to GIT OFF HIS LAWN but then also teaches them life lessons and how to shoot a shotgun. Kind of like Rafiki…but human and maybe kind of magical.
You guys I have to be honest, the blind faith thing? I can’t abide it. It really grinds my gears and makes me want to shake my fist and scream like an Amazonian woman. It is safe to say that I am not in the majority here but going into this book I was prepared to feel the rage over the limitations and blind following of the society presented. You know what though? I wasn’t rage filled (for the most part) and I really enjoyed the way Laura Bickle represented the Amish society. I grew up in a very small town in Pennsylvania, and I have some experience with this sort of lifestyle so it was really fun to read about it and see the connections. The “Elders” pushed my buttons a little bit, but they were supposed to and I found my inner rebel (LOL she isn’t buried too deeply) screaming at them a time or two. The thing that really got to me about this novel though was the idea that hallowed ground is what kept certain people safe. All hallowed ground. That means that the Catholics in their church? SAFE. The Wiccans holed up in their sacred space? SAFE. The Amish in their community? ALSO SAFE. It really made me feel good to see this universal message of “What you believe, you become,” and support of faith and not just ONE FAITH.
The Hallowed Ones was a captivating read, I didn’t expect any of the big reveals, which is always a win for me. Laura Bickle has a knack for character and atmosphere development and I absolutely cannot wait to pick up the sequel;, The Outside, as soon as possible. For those of you looking for something that stands out in the young adult, paranormal genre, pick up The Hallowed Ones immediately. It had everything I needed, all of the best things, shock, mystery, and a delicious splash of romance.