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Radiant Shadows

Hallowed: An Unearthly Novel

Hallowed  - Cynthia Hand It's not very often that I find myself sitting in stunned speechlessness after finishing a book. It's even less often that I find myself enjoying the middle book of a trilogy more than its predecessor. Hallowed has effortlessly managed to accomplish both of these things while cruelly leaving me to pick up the broken pieces of my shattered heart.Feeling like she has failed her purpose, Clara spends most of Hallowed seeing signs of her punishment. Frustrated with her mother's evasiveness over questions about being an angel-blood, determined to maintain her relationship with Tucker, and guilt-ridden over her growing connection with Christian, Clara's emotions were all over the place - much like her inner ramblings - and it was this realistic portrayal of her confusion that made me fall in love with her character all over again. Her emotional strength in tough situations, and her ability to put her loved ones ahead of her own safety really showed her maturity and growth, which combined with her sensitive narrative made it impossible not to adore her. She also took some digs at Twilight, which I found hilarious!This was dumb and admittedly creepy in an Edward Cullen kind of way, but it was the only thing I could think to do.Not the biggest fan of Clara's mother in Unearthly, I am happy to report that she opens up quite a bit in Hallowed and actually provides us with some much needed information! While many of her answers resulted in further questions, I found myself unable to be as irritated with her as I was in Unearthly. It was much easier to see the warmth and compassion that she carried for Clara in Hallowed, and I appreciated being given a glimpse into a slightly more personal side of her character in such a touching and heartfelt way.The pacing is definitely a little slower in Hallowed, but it provided us with more time to learn about some new characters, - including more angel-bloods! - to learn some angel-blood mythology, and to see the growing relationship between Clara and Christian.I saved this part for last because it's actually painful to think about again. Hand has managed to create the most beautiful - and the most heartbreaking - love triangle I have ever had the pleasure to read. Before I moved here, I never got the whole love-triangle thing. You know, in movies or romance novels or whatnot, where there’s one chick that all the guys are drooling over, even though you can’t see anything particularly special about her. But oh, no, they both must have her. And she’s like, oh dear, however will I choose? William is so sensitive, he understands me, he swept me off my feet, oh misery, blubber, blubber, but how can I go on living without Rafe and his devil-may-care ways and his dark and only-a-little-abusive love? Upchuck.The love Clara has for Tucker is of the most innocent kind - full of stolen glances, tender kisses and passion. Tucker strokes my hair. There's something so tender about the gesture. It might as well have been him whispering I love you.Their love is the reason Clara begins to fear for Tucker's safety, and it's ultimately the reason she has to choose whether to let him go. Her connection with Christian is one she recognizes she has no choice in; he is the future she thinks she might be destined for even if it goes against what her heart has chosen. I'll never forget the way he tastes. It's not anything I can describe, a little sweet and a whole lot of spice, and it feels, in that moment, absolutely right.His touch is as familiar as her own and he seems to understand her better than she understands herself. I so desperately wanted Clara to make one choice, but I couldn't blame her for needing to make a different choice. I also couldn't dislike either boy, as they both respected Clara enough to let her be the one to make the decision (after a slight tussle, of course).Without asking my permission, Hand took me on an emotional journey filled with love, heartache and tremendous growth. Days later, my heart is still mending and I'm not sure that I'll ever be able to think of Hallowed without feeling the dull ache of something lost. Beautiful and surprisingly touching, Hallowed should not be missed.Find this review on my blog, Radiant Shadows