For months part-angel Clara Gardner trained to face the raging forest fire from her visions and rescue the alluring and mysterious Christian Prescott from the blaze. But nothing could prepare her for the fateful decisions she would be forced to make that day, or the startling revelation that her purpose—the task she was put on earth to accomplish—is not as straightforward as she thought.
Now, torn between her increasingly complicated feelings for Christian and her love for her boyfriend, Tucker, Clara struggles to make sense of what she was supposed to do the day of the fire. And, as she is drawn further into the world of part angels and the growing conflict between White Wings and Black Wings, Clara learns of the terrifying new reality that she must face: Someone close to her 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. – Goodreads
That’s how I felt when I turned the last page of Hallowed. I was struck by how personal the book came across; it had a certain depth I don’t often encounter in most of my YA reads — especially not those with paranormal elements. And yet Cynthia Hand touched on love, friendship, loss, and difficult decisions in a very tangible way.
Love – A few pages into the book and I found myself smiling like an idiot. If you’re at all familiar with Tucker Avery that’s understandable, right? He is my favorite forever and I was so elated to see his return on page. Their relationship remains genuine and sweet and I appreciated the natural progression of it. They do hit some road bumps in this book, and there are some shifts that occur that made me sad, but it’s all a part of growing up. Though they both matured, together and individually, they still have ways to go. Lucky for us, Hand has an excellent foundation setup for them and I’m looking forward to seeing their evolution.
Friendship – Guys, Christian is the loveliest! I’ve had a soft spot for him since the first book, but this one just made me adore him all that more. He knows what Clara is going through and, whether he has feelings for her or not, it doesn’t change the fact that he’s someone she can fully rely on. Hand did an amazing job in showing their deepening friendship, how Christian brings out some of the best in Clara when she needs it, and making it all feel real. Yes, some love triangle aspects are part of the book, but Hand keeps it all from being contrived by making the reader truly feel and understand the emotion and conflict that Clara experiences.
Loss – This book made me cry! The book carries a heavy feeling of sorrow throughout and there were multiple times when my heart ached so much. I felt overwhelmed and drained and yet Hand also managed to show the strength that one displays in these situations. I wish I could mention certain things, but they would be spoiling the story, so I’ll just say that Clara’s loss, while definitely sad, included so much love. It was heartbreaking, but also beautiful.
Despite the obvious supernatural element — which is also handled very well — the real highlight of Hand’s writing is how she tackles human emotion. The highs, the lows, and everything in between rings true and allows us, the readers, to form a personal connection with her characters. I can’t wait to reunite with them in book three.
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