It's a relief that "Hallowed" is a successful follow-up to "Unearthly." Even though I liked "Hallowed" a little less than its predecessor, the series is still going strong the way I see it.
Whatever was praiseworthy in the 1st book remains so in the 2nd - the teen romances are still healthy (I won't even bash the inevitable love triangle - it is written well enough; it's not perfect, but not unbearably annoying either), the heroines are strong and the heroes are kind and respectful, the angel lore, while more Hell- and Heaven-heavy this time, still doesn't cross the line into too religious. There is also an added bonus of a meditation on free will vs. destiny which I find quite interesting, especially within a genre as soulmate-ridden as paranormal romance.
But there are things that didn't fully work for me.
"Hallowed" is a sad, sad book. In addition to Clara's anxiety over her failure to fulfill her purpose at the end of "Unearthly," she starts having more visions, this time predicting the death of someone close to her. Plus, the new, strange connection with Christian muddles things with Tucker. Complications are all around Clara.
If "Unearthly" was a sweet paranormal romance, its sequel is about death and grief. The glumness and occasional drudgery of it was pretty intense for me. Some lightness in the beginning would have made for a better reading experience, building up to a more emotional impact in the end and a bigger climax, which, frankly, was virtually non-existent in "Hallowed."
I am concerned about the concept of "purpose" as well. Will it all come together eventually? So far the meaning of it is very elusive,
Nevertheless, I am looking forward to the final book in this trilogy. Fingers crossed, it packs some interesting surprises and revelations.
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.