Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Book Review: The Hallowed Ones

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.

This was another book recommended by Literary Agent Bree Ogden. I wasn't sure about it at first, and put it off thinking I would connect with Katie, a girl from an Amish community. But I found it interesting to read about this world I really knew nothing about, and how differently she handled things based on her religious beliefs. The story starts just as Katie is preparing for her Rumspringa—a time when the Amish are allowed to visit the "outside world" before they become baptized into their faith and cannot do anything to disobey their community's laws. She's looking forward to this experience with her friend/sometimes-boyfriend Elijah, until they realize there's something very wrong going on in the outside world.

At times I really wanted to strangle Katie for her naivety, but she ended up redeeming herself later on. She's got the biggest heart of anyone in her community, and feels compelled to do what's right, whether or not the Elders in charge approve. It was so interesting to hear about the Amish way—every detail of their community was told so well it's as if the author had actually lived there. There was just the right mix of horror embedded into the story, and these "vampires" are just my type ("holy crap, run for your lives" rather than "sparkling and sexy"). I was completely blown away by just how much I enjoyed the story, considering I was prepared to be bored by the religious aspects before I even picked it up. But Laura Bickle does a wonderful job of holding your interest, making it another hard one to put it down.
This book earns 5 zombies! I was actually glad I put it off so long as the sequel was released a mere week after I finished. Stay tuned for my review on her second book (spoiler alert: it was just as awesome).

Laura Bickle has worked in the unholy trinity of politics, criminology, and technology for several years. She and her chief muse live in the Midwest, owned by four mostly-reformed feral cats.

Her work has been published in Midnight Times, Down in the Cellar, MicroHorror, Theaker's Quarterly Fiction, Ballista, Byzarium, New Myths, a Blog-O-Novella office soap opera for True Office Confessions, and Aoife's Kiss. Her most recent project is the Embers series of urban fantasy novels for Juno-Pocket Books.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You've sold me! The detail about the Amish community would definitely interest me.

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