Today for “Readers Write.,” I’m welcoming guest reviewer Carien, who’s sharing a review of The Hallowed Ones, first in a new YA series from Laura Bickle that was released last September. I’m familiar with Laura’s adult series, but this is a new book to me and it looks interesting. I’m fascinated with the Amish culture anyway, so when it’s used in a thriller YA with some sinister overtones? Bring it on!
Read on for Carien’s review and a chance to win this book or your choice of another book featured on the blog this week.
ABOUT THE HALLOWED ONES: 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 rumors 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. …Unsure why they haven’t yet been attacked, the Amish Elders make a decree: no one goes outside their community, and no one is allowed in. But when Katie finds a gravely injured young man lying just outside the boundary of their land, she can’t leave him to die. She refuses to submit to the Elders’ rule and secretly brings the stranger into her community—but what else is she bringing in with him?
Review by Carien (you can read her Goodreads profile here)
A Scene I’d Read Twice:
At one time Katie sneaks out of the village to go to the nearby town for some supplies. I loved this scene. It shows a lot about who Katie is and about her dreams and hopes. At the same time it’s a very creepy scene because of the things she sees when away from the safe haven that is the Amish village.
I Didn’t Quite Buy:
I did wonder about how easy it is for Katie to sneak off without anyone noticing. I myself grew up in a small village and there were eyes on me all the time. That one time I wasn’t where I was supposed to be, several people told my parents about it.
Most of the story takes place in the Amish settlement where Katie lives. It was interesting to read about the Amish way of life. The setting really helped set the mood and strengthened the sense of isolation that is present throughout the book.
Katie: Katie is a thinker, who doesn't take what others tell her for granted and who wants to explore things before making a decision. Living in a community where it's expected that you take the things your elders tell you for granted is difficult for Katie. That's why she's looking forward to her Rumspringa, to see the outside world and to be able to decide for herself if her place is really among the Amish or if she belongs somewhere else. Then bad things happen and it looks like Katie's future might be decided for her.
Elijah: Katie’s best friend for years who is interested in becoming more than a friend. Is his love for Katie strong enough to hold when the world starts to fall apart?
Alex: The wounded stranger Katie rescues. His stories about the outside world aren’t the only things that tempt Katie. Is he worth it that Katie defies the elders over him?
The Hexenmeister: A mysterious and intriguing figure, who paints so-called hexes to protect houses and families from all kind of things.
There is so much to this story I could just ramble on all day. It's as much a creepy, suspenseful horror-thriller as it is a story about strength and faith. Who can Katie trust? Who can she confide in? What will she have to do to survive the horrors that plague the outside and that threaten her community?
There's a constant threat hanging over the story which slowly begins to escalate until it's not just a threat anymore and Katie will have to fight for her survival.
This book gripped me from start to finish and even after that it didn’t let me go. I can advice this book to anyone who loves a suspenseful YA story with both Dystopian and Paranormal elements.
Thanks, Carien! I actually just went online and added this book to my wish list. Have any of you guys read it? Have you read other books involving the Amish?
For Readers Write Giveaways: commenters on each review and guest post get an entry into a weekly Readers Write pool. At the end of the week, good old random.org will pick one to win his or her choice of the books in the Readers Write pool (or the first book in a series if a later series book is reviewed). Or one of the titles from the Book Horde (tab at the top of the page).
Interested in doing a guest review for Preternatura and telling us about a book you love? Email me and let me know. Reviews should be in a speculative fiction genre, and will include a link back to your website or blog.