I received this book for free from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Hallowed Ones by Laura Bickle
Series: The Hallowed Ones #1
Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt on September 25th 2012
Genres: Post-Apocalyptic, YA
Source: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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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.
Whoa! Who knew a story set in an Amish community could be so spine-chillingly gory! The Hallowed Ones is for every post-apocalyptic fan out there. It offers originality in its setting and a freakish paranormal aspect. It offered a lot more than I expected.
Katie is about to get her first taste of the outside world when all of a sudden that world gets dark and creepy. First there’s a helicopter crash where Katie glimpses at something quite eerie. Then she finds the town desolate and empty when she goes to try to find two of their own who never came home. Something is definitely not right. The creep factor makes itself present very early on in this novel, showering each page with this tense uncertainty. Even though things start happening quickly, The Hallowed Ones is a very character oriented thriller that advances at a brisk, but unhurried pace. We get to learn a lot about this Amish community; how they live, the laws that guide their lives and decisions, and how they have been kept safe from the end of the world so far. While it obviously has to have religious undertones, it never goes beyond the necessary. Don’t let this scare you off either, I’m the kind of reader who would rather stay away from anything religious in books and I was nothing but fascinated with the role that the Amish culture plays in this story.
The apocalypse arrives quickly and suddenly, as it would. Since it’s told through Katie’s point-of-view, we don’t quite know what’s going on right away. As we slowly learn the conditions of Outside, we’re filled with anxiety and fear of what we’ll come across next. Murderous, blood thirsty creatures is not what you ever expect to find on an errand run, that’s for sure. The suspense is never ending, the threat is omnipresent, and the terror is very real. There is no sugar coating the massacres we come upon either, made considerably real due to the Amish culture who take care of their own dead – from the clean up to the burial. The creatures causing this are part science, part paranormal – at least that’s what’s theorized by our knowledge of them so far. It borrows greatly from classic tales, but the author sticks to the most primitive, vicious side of their lore. There is still much more to learn about them, including where they came from, in the following installments, at least that’s what I’m assuming.
In my opinion, the creatures were not the only aspects of horror in The Hallowed Ones. I was quite horrified by how the elders reacted in parts. This is the end of the world, yet they refuse to consider the realities of what’s happening, even though it means certain death to the whole community as well as the person they ban for trying to keep everyone safe and alive. It makes you question a lot of things in terms of belief and values, whether you agree with it or not.
Well researched, atmospheric, and surprisingly horrific, The Hallowed Ones is one suspenseful novel you will not want to put down!
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