Strange things are happening in the outside world. It all happens one day when Katie and her friend Elijah are spending time together thinking about their upcoming Rumspringa when a helicopter crashes into the field right in front of them. They rush to the scene to determine if there are any survivors but before Katie can pull someone she believes may still be alive, she sees something with glowing red eyes, and is pulled back away from the wreckage as the helicopter explodes.
This is the way that The Hallowed Ones by Laura Bickle begins and yes, it pulls you right in. It starts out in a calm manner but then explodes into a steady stream of action. It just builds, and builds, and builds leaving you with an ending that I honestly did not really expect. Actually come to think of it, I didn’t really even know what to expect because this story was so unlike anything I have read before. I mean, the Amish and the supernatural? What? I know it sounds a little crazy but it works. It SO works!
I love the main character of Katie. When it is determined that the Amish community is the only place that is safe from these supernatural occurrences, it is also determined that it will be on complete lockdown. No one in. No one out. Yet when Katie finds a badly wounded stranger just outside the fence, she refuses to follow the rules and instead sneaks him inside, risking everything. The strangers name is Alex, and together they share their theories on what is really happening developing a relatively strong bond. Katie isn’t afraid to question what she is being told even when this makes her question what she had always believed. She is spunky and smart but has a real sweet innocence that helps her follow her heart. There is a real growth in her character, and it is really captivating to read about.
I also loved the way that the vampires were portrayed in the story. Laura Bickle did not take the easy way out when it came to the way that the vampires attacked. There is tension, and gore, and blood. There are heads being removes, bodies being impaled, and other less than pleasant images. It works in such a wonderful way in the story though, especially in the contrast to the plainness and the innocence of the Amish community. It is really well balanced, and has this fantastic combination of both faith and folklore. I LOVED the Hexenmeister who believes in the folklore of the past, and attempts to protect the Amish people by methods of hexes, garlic cloves, and stakes. Of course the Amish people think that he is a little crazy. His involvement in the story, along with Katie and Alex’s was truly fascinating to read about.
I read The Hallowed Ones in one day because it has such a build in it. I just could not ignore the tension and the characters and I had to know what happened next. I know that on the surface it may seem to be a little out there with the potential of being a little campy but I promise you it is anything but that. It is well worth reading, and I very much encourage you to pick it up, and give it a chance!
Disclosure: April gave me her ARC to read.
Other reviews of The Hallowed Ones by Laura Bickle:
Ivy Book Bindings: “All in all, The Hallowed Ones is a novel I can’t believe I hesitated to read.”
Reading In Winter: “The instant I finished the story wanting more, I knew I had a winner on my hands.”