Monday, April 21, 2014

The Hallowed Ones

Title/Author: The Hallowed Ones by Laura Bickle

Genre: YA, Horror.

Publisher:  Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Source: Purchased.

Synopsis: 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 the 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 unjured 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.

Midnyte Musings:  I first heard about The Hallowed Ones when Karen from For What It's Worth read and reviewed it on her blog.  I quickly put it on my TBR pile and finally got around to reading it.  I was delighted with everything about it.  Scares, dilemmas, ethics, romance and difficult choices.

"There was a difference...between knowing and believing" Kate said at one point in the book.  I think this is something people struggle with.  Some people have so much faith to the point where they are sure about God, religion and the afterlife.  Some people are more skeptical.  These are issues that Katie, the main character struggles with.  She believes in God, but has questions, She knows she should trust what The Elders (the spiritual leaders in her community) preach, but not everything sits right with her.  I loved this about her.  She is not a sheep that takes everything at face value.  She is independent and a thinker.  She is also a doer.  Another thing I loved about her.  She is brave.  She makes choices about what she thinks is right and she does some required dirty work. What else I love about Katie is that she loves her parents who are very important to her. She wants their approval and love, yet she is true to herself.  I also love how Katie sees herself as selfish because of her very human emotions.

I knew that I was weak, that I sometimes failed to submit to the God's will. But I didn't feel truly sinister. ~Katie.

There is a bit of a love triangle in this story, but I didn't even see it as such until I started to write this sentence.  The relationship between Katie, her childhood sweetheart Elijah, and the new man in her life, Alex, reads as very natural.  Katie has been looking forward to Rumspringa, the time when Amish teens get to experience the outside world for a very long time.  She and Elijah were going to go together.  However, the advent of the vampires changed everything and now because the outside world is too dangerous (the vamps can't come on Amish land - because it is deemed holy) Elijah has opted to be baptized earlier than planned and take his place in the adult community. This causes a rift between Elijah and Katie that is understandable and I couldn't help but sympathize with Katie while understanding Elijah's decision as well. With the arrival of Alex, Katie deals with more decisions.  She also is introduced to another's point of view and maybe begins to understand that there is more than one path to the same Creator.  Basically, to sum all this up, this story includes great theological discussions.

What also tickled me is how Katie would point out things that Outsiders, (okay me) take for granted in society.  For instance, that woman in magazines are obsessed with clothing and horoscopes and sex.  She wonders why there is no mention of other parts of a woman's life such as family, work and their community. Okay, so those magazines are there to sell products, but it shows how she just thinks certain things are more important.

Oh yeah, let's not forget the Horror.  You may be thinking Amish and vampires?  Well it works.  And it works very well.  The reader gets to experience Katie's first encounter with the creatures and the eeriness and fear come across successfully.  It is scary and exciting.  There are other encounters that are frightening as well and a very gory job that Katie has to help with that will not make a sqeamish reader happy.  

The only issues I had with the book was that sometimes I did feel that Katie is too literal. She knows of the outside world so why question everything? Also sometimes the guilt she feels is punctuated too many times, but I guess if you are brought up under such strictness this is understandable and maybe something I cannot relate to.  Also, I feel that the ending was summed up instead of played out and shown to the readers.  However, I started the sequel immediately, so obviously these were just minor issues in the story for me.

Starstruck Over:  The many layers and believable characters of this well written book. 


Julie@My5monkeys said...

OMG so glad that you are reading this one...yes loved it too. Karen also mentioned it to me too :)

Karen said...

I'm so glad you liked it! I thought you would but I still get nervous recommending books.

Kate @Midnight Book Girl said...

One of my sister-in-laws loves to read Amish books- mystery, romance. Amish horror seems more up my alley though! ;)

Aurian said...

You just have to use the word horror. Every time I see it, I don't want to read the book. And it has been lying on my shelves since it was published. I don't do horror, but I kow it is a very good story.

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