The Hallowed Ones by Laura Bickle // Dystopian Doesn't Really Mix With This

Monday, 30 November 2015
The Hallowed Ones (The Hallowed Ones #1), by Laura Bickle
Publication: September 25, 2012, by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Dystopian, Fantasy, Amish
Pages: 311
Format: Paperback
Source: Gifted
Rating: ½

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.

My Thoughts:

You know those books that you just want to finish because it has been on your shelves forever and you honestly do not know why you wanted it in the first place? The Hallowed Ones is one of those books and it gave me a bad impression from the start. I have always been interested in books about Amish people, but this author, Laura Bickle, took on that strand in a whole contrasting twist. This time around, it's a series with the plot based on dystopian, fantasy and mystery elements all mixed in together. Yes, there are vampires and weird mythological creatures that we only expect to read in a Twilight-like story. This novel certainly was a disappointment, but I expected just the same.

It's nice to hear about different Amish traditions and routines, depending on the author's perspective, because we all know that they must have put tons of research and thought in to make this the right, truthful perspective on what it is like to be struck with this many expectations on you, to do the right thing. 

"I couldn't wrap my mind around falling in love with someone from afar. I was accustomed to seeing Elijah every day, felt affection out of sheer force of familiarity, force of habit. For me, that was love. Tangible. Love was what was in front of me, not a distant fantasy." (122)
The writing of Bickle is beautiful, but the pacing just was not for me. When I read this, there was no such enjoyment coming out of it. I read the novel like it was painful (honestly, haha) and I just felt like it was written for the story and the pace was not paid attention to at all. I found myself completely bored out of my mind for points and I had a big issue with the concept: vampires and the main character, Katie's perspective on everything that was happening to her. Vampires were not an abnormality, they were part of Katie's life and she just adored everything that was happening to her like it was completely normal. How is this story able to be believable, somehow, if everything that the main character thinks is positive? We see a transition of Katie becoming someone who does not care about anything, to someone who is confused by more simple concepts, like love, when it is practically shoved in her face.

The Hallowed Ones is about your average fantasy-paranormal tale where a character is trying to find themselves. Nothing more, really. It's supposed to be a "horrific thriller" where I didn't experience any thrill whatsoever. There are witches, vampires, and hints of some kind of apocalypse where you cannot trust anyone. And of course, there are hints of romance, as you witnessed in the snippet I handed you above. Katie's annoying, Alex is annoying, and together, they could be classified as one annoying couple in a whole.

And apparently, there's a good sequel out there. And I have no plans to get it whatsoever. This book was not for me—I did not enjoy it, really. It's slow, more uninteresting than captivating, and I really enjoy books that are different than these. 

The Hallowed Ones could go either way for those interested. It might not be the best possible book in the world to read, but it may also be very well written. I didn't enjoy the pacing, plot and characters, but this was not the best book at all. In fact, I feel like it is a mix between good and bad, but more on the bad side. I would not waste your time on this one, especially if you trust my opinion, heh.

What do you think of books that are mixed with two completely eerie concepts? Do you like books about Amish people?

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