The Hallowed Ones Laura Bickle Book Review

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The Hallowed Ones Laura Bickle Book ReviewThe Hallowed Ones by Laura Bickle
Series: The Hallowed Ones #1
Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt on September 25th 2012
Genres: Young Adult, Horror & Ghost Stories, Action & Adventure, Survival Stories, Lifestyles, Farm & Ranch Life, Social Issues, Values & Virtues, Religious, Christian, People & Places, Monsters
Pages: 320
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
ISBN: 9780544088733
Goodreads
five-stars

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.

You would think that a book featuring the Amish and vampires would be totally campy? You might even write it off, like I did at first. But then, you’d definitely be missing out on The Hallowed Ones by Laura Bickle,an excellent story featuring the vampires of yore, the scary suck all your blood kind. The Hallowed Ones took me completely by surprise. I thought it might be entertaining and kind of silly, but instead I was utterly captivated by main character Katie’s story as she questions her faith in a world facing the vampire apocalypse.

The Hallowed Ones opens with Katie looking forward to Rumspringa. Rumspringa is the time in an Amish teenager’s life where they get to try life on the Outside before being baptized in the Amish faith. It allows them to get the Outside out of their system and so that they know full well what they are giving up after baptism. Unfortunately for Katie, she won’t get her rumspringa. Instead, she will find a world torn apart by vicious vampires. Yet, the Plain folk remain untouched. To stay safe, the Bishop commands that nobody come in and nobody leave. However, when a stranger finds his way onto the Plain folk land, Katie takes him in out of compassion. Will she unwittingly unleash an evil on her fellow people?

I cannot praise Katie as a character highly enough. As she is Amish, I thought she would be kind of a stick in the mud and preachy. While Katie starts the book rigid in her faith, we see that she’s actually not a stick in the mud. Instead, Katie has a killer sense of humor, often making me laugh. She is courageous, and does put a lot on the line to do what she believes to be the right thing. Even when that right thing is counter to what the Bishop orders. Further, Katie is intelligent and can think for herself. She does a lot of questioning in The Hallowed Ones both of the rigid orders and her faith.

What I loved about Laura Bickle’s The Hallowed Ones and what seemed to set it apart from other young adult books, for me, was the use of faith as a theme. The discussion and examination of religion and belief never gets preachy. I never felt like I was being asked to convert to Christianity or anything. Rather, Katie’s faith is tested. She finds herself constantly questioning her religious doctrine and what’s going on in the Outside. She questions the Bishop’s insistence that the Plain folk are chosen because they were spared. I thought that Katie’s faith was pretty strong because it stands up to testing. It just felt true and real. Faith also plays a huge part when it comes to the vampires. The glimpse of the different types of faith is very well done by Laura Bickle.

Another fantastic element incorporated within The Hallowed Ones is folklore. The vampires in this book are the sort where you have to stuff their mouths with garlic and chop their heads off, but you also need to stake them. I found the inclusion of the Hexenmeister, one of the characters, to be utterly fascinating. You see, the Hexenmeister goes around painting signs and hexes on the buildings of the Plain folk. Almost everyone in the community lets him be, assuming he’s a little bit crazy. He plays a pretty sizable role, though. Plus, Alex, another character, is obsessed with folklore. His stories about old religions are perfectly weaved in the plot and were one of my favorite parts.

You might be entirely skeptical of The Hallowed Ones based on it’s premise, but please don’t write it off. You would definitely be missing out on a fabulous read. It’s my hope that The Hallowed Ones does not end up flying under the radar, but that it truly gets the attention and buzz it deserves. Trust me, if you’ve think you’ve read it all when it comes to vampires, you haven’t.

OTHER REVIEWS OF THE HALLOWED ONES BY LAURA BICKLE:

The Allure Of Books – “Whoa mama, y’all. Laura Bickle ain’t messin’ around.

Carina’s Books – “Because it was epic. And awful. And perfect.

Stitch – Read – Cook – “kept me on the edge of my seat

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About April (Books&Wine)

April is 28 years old and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. In her free time she can be found reading, working out, or eating junk food. She often wears her sunglasses at night.

Comments

  1. I have actually never heard of this book before, but your review definitely has my interest peaked. Maybe I will get the chance to read this one soon. Great review, April!

  2. I would have written this one off on sight…but you’ve hooked me! I’m a fan of both Amish and vampire tales but the premise does seem a little corny. You’ve particularly grabbed me with your discussion of the folklore as well as the “faith” elements (of vampires and the Amish). Adding this one to my WishList 🙂 Thanks for such a thorough and detailed review! 🙂

  3. I laughed when I heard of this book and figured it was a YA version of the Amish/vampire novel for adults (Plain Fear: Forsaken by Leanna Ellis) and I had no intention of buying it for my library’s teens-until I started seeing positive reviews like yours. I don’t know if the teens in my conservative (and Amish filled) community will go for it but I plan to purchase it for those who won’t be afraid to look beyond the premise. Thanks for your review!

  4. That sounds great! Thanks so much for the review, April! I’ll TBR it! 😀

  5. Okay, you’ve convinced me. I’m adding The Hallowed Ones to my TBR list on Goodreads, right now. This one definitely seems interesting, and also quite unique. Thanks for the review!

  6. I’m sorry – did you say Amish Vampires?? GET OUT!!! Where the heck do I sign up? Sure, my first thought is Campy. My second? I NEED to read this! ASAP!

    -Jac @ For Love and Books

  7. Vampires and an Amish girl? Sure, I’ll give it a try. Thanks for spreading the word about this one! Added to my TBR.

  8. The premise did seem a bit out there but I’m glad the book turned out to be good. It sounds very different and I’m glad the examination of faith didn’t turn preachy at all.
    Thanks for the heads up on this book.

  9. I’d heard of this book but was so tired of the vampire thing that I wasn’t really paying it any attention, but I might have to give it a chance now.

  10. OOH this looks so good!!!!

  11. I literally stopped reading your review halfway through to go to Goodreads and make myself a shelf for books published in 2012 that I really need to read before 2013 and put this on it. Then I came back to finish. I’m now officially so excited for this. I love good folklore, and a good non-preachy treatment of faith. I am so there, thanks!

  12. I watched your progress in this on Twitter and OMG I need to read it for sure! Glad you got to read something you loved so much!

  13. I saw you raving about this on Twitter and totally bought a copy. I’m LOVING the sound of Amish and vampires, and I am dying to get a steaming helping of this folklore you talk about. It’s such a totally unique-sounding combo.

  14. When I first heard of this book, I thought it would be either really good or really bad. I’m glad it falls into the former camp!

  15. Basically everyone everywhere needs to read this book. I’m so glad you loved it too! Yay for Amish people and vampires.

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