Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Hallowed Ones

The Hallowed Ones
Laura Bickle
 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?”

Outsiders are forbidden ever since word spread about the unrest of the outside world. But, while out in the fields one day Katie finds a gravely injured young man, after convincing the Elders to submit to Gelassenheit Katie has a choice to make, leave him for the Gelassenheit or save him. Katie smuggles him into her family’s barn, all the while wondering what happened outside, why the Elders and Bishop were so cruel to him, and racked with guilt. The suspense of this vividly told, truly horrific thriller will keep the pages turning. This is a book you will be curled up in bed with late at night, unable to put down. 

This book, was, wow.

Amish MC+ serious horror elements, and on top of that, a fascinating look at religion.
Wow, is this ever a book for me.

I have to admit that I did not expect to love this book as much I did, but it was so good.

Don’t believe me?
Well, read it.

Reading through the eyes of Katie was in some ways, like being a child again. 
"I was so easily stymied by the threats she faced; crime, hatred, war. In my peaceful life, I had never known any of these things. I knew they existed as abstract concepts, in things like comic books. But I had a hard time believing they were real." 

That passage is just one example of why it reminded me of being a child. Thinking that war is an abstract concept, and not fully believing it is real. The story starts off slow, and throughout it I found I had a difficult time relating to Katie because she is so child-like in many ways. As the story continued, I was able to relate to her more and more, as she found out how hard growing up can be. Reading this reminded me of being a child again, seeing the world through such innocent eyes, and being shocked—horrified when finding out what kind of evil humans are capable of committing.

This book had a fast pace and it kept me on my toes, constantly. I was constantly trying to figure out what would happen, but this story kept me on my toes, as you can never be sure what is going to happen, it was an unpredictable plot--which is awesome. Of course, it took a little shift in focus to get accustomed to this world, and the formal way they speak with each other. It is truly very different then ours. 

I was surprised by how much this book blew me away, the world was very authentic. Before reading this, I knew a very little about Amish culture, and after reading it I know much more. And, the writer, Laura Bickle did an amazing job not having information compacted into this, and having it laced throughout the book so that while you enjoy it, you actually learn a bit about Amish culture.   

Exclaiming ‘Oh My God’ is an everyday expression used by millions of children, from surprise, to anger, everyday, repeatedly. But for Katie, exclaiming Oh My God is actually a serious swearword, which goes to show you how different this world is. Katie is a really strong, complex character. You think you have her figured out, and then she surprises you. At first I had a hard time identifying with her. But I could relate to her; she’s a little rebellious, and she thinks for herself, which is looked at as a fault within her community.

This is by far the most extraordinary, surprising Vampire book I’ve read in a long, long time.
I liked as well how the dystopian elements were in it, but not in the usual way. The fall of the Outside society, didn't really affect Katie's that much. 

 But, a forewarning, Twilight fans, these are not your sparkling, good spirited, forever tormented/ brooding vampires we are now so accustomed to in our society. These are raw, ugly, vicious, brutal, crawled from hell, type of vampires. 

The characters in this novel stood out strongly as well.  I loved the Hexenmeister, and Ms. Parsall, I loved Alex’s sense of humor, his causal use of the nickname “Bonnet”, and his attempted heroics at the end.

At first I thought that maybe Laura Bickle came from Amish culture because of how authentic the society felt, I had a general idea of what Amish culture was like, and now even more so.

There were times, I will admit, when I found that there was a little too much telling, for my taste. Too much dictating what is going on, which I felt separated me from the character and story a little, but really this was an awesome book. I recommend it for anyone who loves a good story, or a book that is much more than just a book. 

Katie’s strength, her way of life, her beliefs, and her humanity are all tested in this book, constantly as each new challenge looms up before her. 

I loved the mix of magic, and religion, and science. I loved how original this was, how Laura Bickle brings all religions into perspective which creates an eye opening clarity for the reader. I loved the descriptions, the entire world. I loved Katie, who was such an engaging character who really proves her strength. 

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