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{December 23, 2011}   {ARC Review} Hallowed by Cynthia Hand (Unearthly #2)

From Goodreads: 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.

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This is an amazing sequel to Unearthly and, although it’s over a year away, I am already dying to read the third book in the series.  In my opinion, 2013 can’t come fast enough, because I need to know what happens next, much like I needed to know what happened next the minute I completed Unearthly.  Hand is a fabulous writer, transporting the reader into her world of half-angels, Black Wings, and divine purposes, leaving the reader astounded upon the conclusion of each novel.

Of course, I am still a huge fan of Tucker.  He is a dreamy character; I want him to step out of the pages and join me in the real world.  Everything about him is amazing, and his persona continued to draw me in throughout this sequel, even though Christian was ever-present and vying for Clara’s attention.  I really enjoyed how Hand presented all of her characters throughout this novel, but especially these two male suitors.  Although my heart is steadfastly with Tucker, Christian is a very close second.  Yet, I think the main reason why Tucker wins over Christian is that, destiny or not, free will is a key concept for me, and Hand presents it beautifully in this fantastic sequel.

But, reader beware, Hallowed is sad as it deals with Clara’s knowledge that someone close to her will die.  I was highly surprised to find out exactly who that person was, and the events leading up to, and surrounding, the death were extremely difficult for me, especially as Hand has created such real characters; it’s impossible not to feel for each and every one of them.  Hand is a master storyteller, writing this portion of the story with much precision and detail, yet it will break the reader’s heart, much as it did mine.

Sadness aside, this novel gives the reader more answers concerning angels, the Dark Wings, and purposes, yet it creates even more questions as well.  Once again, the reader is left with some big questions that will leave him/her desperate for more.  Four stars.      

HarperCollins has been extremely gracious in allowing me to read an ARC of this novel, via Netgalley, prior to its release on January 17, 2012.

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