“HALLOWED: An Unearthly Novel,” by Cynthia Hand, HarperTeen, Jan. 17, 2012, $17.99 (ages 13 and up)
Clara Gardner is part angel, which means she literally glows when she gets excited. She’s also smarter, stronger and faster than most humans. She can fly and she can read people’s emotions. It all sounds so dreamlike, so ethereal, but being part angel comes with responsibilities, too.
Like all other part-angels, Clara has a purpose, something only she can fulfill. It’s why she was put on Earth. In “Unearthly,” readers learn alongside Clara what her purpose is. She has visions of a raging forest fire with a boy standing in the middle of it. That boy, she learns, is part of her purpose.
“Hallowed” opens a few months after the fire that haunted Clara’s mind. The decisions she made that fateful day have consequences that are still playing out. Clara’s still trying to balance being a normal teenager and part angel, and neither one is as easy as she thought it would be.
Clara’s fate is still tied to the boy from her vision, Christian, who is also part angel. But Clara loves Tucker with all her heart. She can’t bear to be away from him. Now, just as things have settled down a little, Clara has another vision, and in this one, someone she loves dies.
When I came across “Unearthly” I was initially surprised at how quickly I was drawn into Cynthia Hand’s story. And quite honestly, it was nice to read something that wasn’t about vampires or werewolves.
In my original review I said Cynthia “made the unbelievable believable. Her characters have meat to them, and that helped to quash any preconceived misconceptions. I became invested in the story and couldn’t wait to find out what happened next.”
I was excited to read “Hallowed” and found it to be a nice follow-up. However, I’m not sure if it’s because I’ve read so many supernatural/paranormal/mythical books in the past year or if it’s because I didn’t read the books in close succession, but “Hallowed” felt a bit hollow to me.
While there were many twists and turns to keep me interested, I felt like Cynthia’s character development stalled. Though the original “meat” was present, it would have been nice to see more growth along those lines. Despite that quibble, Cynthia’s pacing to be strong and her prose on par with her earlier work.
While “Hallowed” isn’t as dynamic as “Unearthly” there are elements that tug at the heart and make it a fine addition to your reading library.