Fantasy Book Review: The Hallowed Ones

The Hallowed Ones by Laura Bickle

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?

This unique YA horror took me by surprise. The romantic setting of a small Amish community is offset by an apocalyptic horror from the Outside world. Katie is a relatable teenage girl, despite her Amish heritage. She wants to experience everything the Outside world has to offer during her Rumspringa, with a special love for Coca-Cola and Wonder Woman comics. Her community sees her behavior as a somewhat rebellious nature, but she’s simply a strong and independent young woman who doesn’t want to settle down right away. If you can’t tell by now, I loved this character. Though this Amish community, or at least Katie’s morals, are definitely not as conservative as most of the Amish that I’ve learned about.

Told from Katie’s point of view, the mystery and suspense were heart-pounding and chilling. Many reviews on Amazon are laden with spoilers about the dark events going on Outside of the community. I hate reading spoilers about plots, so I won’t delve into the details here. But Bickle handled the scary fantasy elements extremely well, with plenty of surprises along the way. The Hallowed Ones is an unpredictable story that is both romantic and thrilling.

The Hallowed Ones releases from Graphia on September 25, 2012.

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