Monday, 10 December 2012

THE HALLOWED ONES

The Hallowed Ones by Laura Bickle

If your home was the last safe place on earth, would you let a stranger in?
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 rumours 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.

Okay, so something amazing happened this week. I read this book. I read this book and loved it. Seriously, it's been so long since I read a book this good, I can't even remember when it was. I've got a moderate interest in the Amish people and a very mild obsession with vampires, so this book was perfect for me. Which was troubling, because I'm going out of my way not to expect too much of books. But this...well, put it this way, it was so good I won't be lending my copy to anyone. They'll have to buy their own, and they should. You all should.

I was concerned that I wouldn't be able to connect with the main character, given that her world and beliefs are so completely different to my own, but I found Katie to be incredibly easy to relate to. Like Katie, I've never really done anything I shouldn't. I've always done the right thing, I've never made a huge mistake. And sometimes I worry that I'll regret that, that I miss out on so much because I think everything through and make the "right" decision. I felt like I completely understood Katie and where she was coming from  - despite our life experiences being worlds apart - and grew to really care about what happened to her.

Of course, no book is perfect. There were a few little things that niggled at me, like the fact that some words are italicised. I understand it was to emphasise the German words used, but it irritated me. Who doesn't know what ja means? And it was written in the first-person, and I couldn't help thinking that Katie wouldn't separate those words and feel the need to mark them as different in her mind, so why were they isolated in the text? Another slight issue was Alex, the Outsider. I just felt his character needed more, he needed as much as depth as Elijah, although obviously those depths needed to be different. There just didn't seem to be as much going on with Alex. My biggest problem with this book, though, was the ending. It was rushed. Too rushed. Honestly, I think it needed another chapter at least to unfold properly, but other than those small things, I don't think there's anything I'd change about this book.



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