The Hallowed Ones (The Hallowed Ones #1) by Laura Bickle
Rating: 3.5 stars
What better book to read than The Hallowed Ones for Halloween? It was actually by chance that I picked up The Hallowed Ones around the end of October (it took forever for it to arrive in the library) and it was an awesome Halloween read. I initially didn't think that this book was going to have any scary component in it, just another typical YA book, but to my pleasant surprise, it was rather unique on its own.
Through reading The Hallowed Ones, I learnt a lot about the Amish people and culture. Before picking this up, I knew nothing about the Amish, now (wouldn't say I'm an expert) but at least I know where they live and their life style. It was interesting to compare the Amish to the "outsiders" (everyone else) and see where their values differ yet work together. In this book, Laura Bickle also posed questions about religious believes. Are all forms of preaching and religion different or are they equally holy? It was interesting to read that when "evil" infiltrated the society, where people could find a safe place. Are some people more worthy of protection or is everyone deserving of a safe place? These were just some of the questions this book made the reader think about. Under these heavy humanity issues, there's also an undercurrent theme of the want of power. Sometimes, although it might not be the best option, a group of people is isolated because it gives the leader ultimate power. Laura Bickle also reinforces the old moral lesson that sometimes, knowledge can be learnt from people a lot younger and less experience than yourself.
Aside from those intriguing problems, I thoroughly enjoyed the storyline of The Hallowed Ones. It was not very predictable and had interesting twist and turns that kept me reading. When I first met the "red-eyed monsters", I was a little bit freaked out! As I've said, I was not expecting a scary book (and truth be told, this book really wasn't as scary as some people made it out to be). But reading the "exciting" parts alone at eleven o'clock at night did give me a bit of a chill. I totally understood why Laura chose vampires as the monster she least wanted to be stuck with in a dark house, *shudder* To find out what the hell I'm on about, go on and read the book! :D
Lastly, the character of Katie was another reason I enjoyed the book. She was a typical girl on the verge of becoming an adult. However, she experienced a range of events that shaped her to become who she was at the end of the book. Some of her founding morals had undergone fundermental changes by these series of events. To cope with unexpected truths/realisation and dealing with accusations from people who were close to you didn't sound easy. Katie not only did this successfully, but she also stood her ground and made the right choices.
There were a few things that I thought could have been done better in this book, one of them was the connection between the reader and the characters. I didn't particularly connect with any of the characters, but rather had a very far-away feeling when I was reading the book. Unlike many of the other books I've enjoyed, it did not feel like that I was in the story myself, and some of the emotions fell flat. Also, the descriptions of the surroundings, as well as actions could have been a little more advanced (perhaps more details and descriptive words). But otherwise, it was a good job.
Final verdict: an enjoyable read, recommended if you have the spare time. A rather impressive YA debut, but probably not a book I would feel pushed to buy. However, I'm very looking forward to the sequel The Outside! Can't wait to hear more of Katie's story! :)
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.