Hallowed: An Unearthly Novel - Cynthia Hand

Hallowed  - Cynthia Hand


A rather generous 3-star rating. 2-2.5 would be more to the truth...

For a book I really didn’t like all that much, Hallowed surely had me thinking an inexplicable lot over the past couple of weeks. I guess I’m trying to figure out why Clara annoys me so much and whether or not it’s fair to give a book a lower rating just because I can’t empathise with the supposed hero of a story. I usually don’t mind unlikeable protagonists all that much, I even have a thing for well-written anti-heroes. It’s entertaining to read about their mishaps and waiting for them to get what is their due. There is even a certain appeal in seeing them get away with all the nasty things they do and say so you can indulge in hating them with a passion and fervently wishing for them to finally get their comeuppance. And there are novels written from a first-person point-of-view that were done quite well and convincingly. Clara is not that kind of anti-hero, she isn’t designed to work that way. However, she continues to annoy me to no end, because she seems to see herself in a far more favourable light (must be her glory!) than I could ever delude myself to do. And in my opinion, her alleged demureness and feelings of guilt are just smarmy attempts to endear herself to the readers. She really seems to believe that she is being selfless and considerate about other people’s well-being when it’s really all about her feelings and desires and future and everyone else has to cater to her needs. Pathetic! She is terribly self-centred and selfish but casts herself in a heroic role.

Clara’s mother keeps a lot of valid information from her children, probably to protect them and with their best interest at heart but effectually endangering them instead out of a misplaced sense of shame. So, there is this dying woman that I cannot help but feel angry at. I was wondering the whole time whether she took the slightest interest in what was happening to her son. With all this obsession about her daughter’s destiny and all the discussions and planning centring around Clara fulfilling her destiny, did mom stop once to talk with Jeffrey? It’s quite clear that Clara is her favourite, but what is Jeffrey? A demon spawn best left ignored?

It’s also funny how Angela is painted as the shallow, elitist one (by her best/only friend Clara, no less), when it’s actually an apt description of Clara herself. I’m willing to forgive Angela for all the shortcomings Clara pins on her. I was continually suspecting Angela to somehow betray Clara and the other angel-bloods, but that might never happen and Angela’s whole function might be to serve as someone Clara can compete with and feel superior to. The whole “I’m more angel than you are” schtick did not sit well with me, especially not when there is such a sudden surge in ¾ ones.

I will read on only to find out more about Samjeeza’s story and to see what will become of Jeffrey, if they authors chooses to expand on these characters at all. I really don’t give a fiddler’s fart about Clara hooking up with either Christian or Tucker. Who cares? Well, a lot of readers seem quite invested in the question, but I really don’t give a fig. Neither would be my recommendation, but maybe get a life, a sense of responsibility, a personality and some compassion instead.