Only three books in 2011 made me certain I had to read more from their authors in 2012—Unearthly, Ruby Red, and The Girl of Fire and Thorns. There were plenty of others that I’d be plenty interested in picking up the “next in the series” installments, but Hallowed, the sequel to Unearthly, was a definite. So definite, I preordered it.

The goodreads.com Summary:

For months Clara Gardner trained to face the fire from her visions, but she wasn’t prepared for the choice she had to make that day. And in the aftermath, she discovered that nothing about being part angel is as straightforward as she thought.

Now, torn between her love for Tucker and her complicated feelings about the roles she and Christian seem destined to play in a world that is both dangerous and beautiful, Clara struggles with a shocking revelation: Someone she loves will die in a matter of months. With her future uncertain, the only thing Clara knows for sure is that the fire was just the beginning.

In this compelling sequel to “Unearthly,” Cynthia Hand captures the joy of first love, the anguish of loss, and the confusion of becoming who you are.

My Two Cents

As part-angel/part-human Clara uncovers more about her own personal history, so do we continue to learn more about this world of celestial beings parading about in jeans and t-shirts. (It gives new meaning to “angels among us”!) There’s solid romance, two heart-rending, tear-inducing losses, and the arrival of a new, amazing character—Clara’s dad. Add to that the element of epic destinies unfolding, and I was hooked…as in Read-This-in-24-Hours hooked.

There was so much emotional traction and suspense action that I could overlook a few oddities in logic. How could I overlook them? Because I hoped I just missed some valid explanation. And in the end, I didn’t care. Because I was loving the story too much and turning the pages too fast to look back and figure it out. I just wish my book group had read it so they could answer those niggling questions…

Mama Bear Warnings

Taking angel lore and running with it is definitely risky business for conservative Christians, but I found nothing in this novel that was anti-biblical. I actually really loved the heroine’s desire to fulfill her purpose, given to her by God (referred to as the Lord Almighty), and recognition that in not doing so, she experienced pain and sorrow. I think that applies to us all. If God lays a purpose on our hearts, we’re to do whatever we can do to fulfill that, right? This is not just angel territory…this is All Believer territory. So I read the tale as having application for us all, including the whole good vs. evil fight. Some may not be so comfortable going there with their fiction, and I get that. Your call.

There is also some minor swearing and a point where the heroine is pretty much trying to seduce the hero. They take off their shirts, but she keeps her bra on, and they end up just sleeping together (no sex). I liked that the hero put on the brakes because he recognizes she’s special. If only all guys saw all girls as too special to rush into such intimacies! I’m of the camp that says physical passion is real and we’d best be real about it in our fiction, portraying the choices that exist, as well as the repercussions. But the things in this paragraph makes me categorize Hallowed as a PG-13 read.

Read this book? What’d you think?