The Hallowed Ones - Laura Bickle
Remember, when the vampire zombie apocalypse happens, make sure you wear your faith on your sleeve.
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 know, you wouldn’t think a book with the main character been Amish would be a nail biting horror story turn pager. Oh…but let me say, it is. What an awesome take on the very popular supernatural subject of vampires. I just want to say that while reading this book, I was pondering “damn, why didn’t I think of that?”
Katie is the one telling us the story of the world falling apart, but from a perspective of a community completed isolated from mainstream America. I’m not going to lie, I was intrigued by the Katie being Amish. Her voice telling the story was pure and almost childlike. Her hopes and dreams are set on Rumspringa. She wants to be free, if only for a short while, to experience the Outside world with her best friend, Elijah on what is supposed to be an exciting time. But when they witness a car with its occupants looking completely terrified, and Elijah’s brothers do not return, something starts to niggle with wrongness. As the story progress, the small Amish community becomes more withdrawn and strict and soon Katie bursts with rebellion and well…spoilers…I’m not going to tell you what happens at the very end. The vampires…scary as shit. These is not Twilight sparkley vampires. These are more like 30 Day of Night vampires.
Let us briefly speak about the vampires, since that is really what this story is about. The vampires…scary as shit. These is not Twilight sparkley vampires. These are more like 30 Day of Night vampires. They do have some kind of mind control power, but they are not beautiful, and they are not some tortured creature of the night. They are freaking bloody thirsty animals on the hunt for their prey. This tale is not one of those supernatural/paranormal young adult tales…this is a horror story. The vampires’ destruction of human life is without prejudice and are very messy about it. Like…dismemberment and disembowelment. Everywhere. One of the most tragic scenes was the death of an entire family. If Katie had seen a horror movie, I’m pretty sure she would have used that clichéd phrase “It was like something out of a horror film.” To the author’s credit, she walks us through Katie’s fear and horror and resolve to help cleanse the home. When there’s blood on the ceiling and body parts strung about the room…yeah…not sparkley vampires pining over teenage love.
Katie was easy to relate to on an emotional level. All of her innocence and naïve teenage view of the world is totally relatable. Between the ages of fifteen and eighteen, what person wouldn’t feel cheated when their grand plans get flushed down the toilet? For Katie in her Amish community, her rebellion starts off small and with an accomplice. But, as the story progresses and shit gets more and more real, she is not rebelling due to her hopes and dreams being squished, Katie is rebelling to do the right thing. Through the observance of others around her and the actions she carries out on her own, she evolves into a strong young woman who begins to see the world through another set of eyes. She saves Alexander Greens, defying the orders of the elders in the community to let him die. She follows the Hexmiester’s instructions to ritually cleanse and burn down the house of the murdered family. She faces her fears and calls others out on their bull shit. However, this progression is natural and does not feel forced. But despite vampires bringing forth the end of the world and her faith in her Amish community breaking down around her, the things that does break, is her faith in her belief in god. Now, I am not too religious myself. I mean, I have a serious potty mouth. But, sometimes, it’s reassuring to read about a character whose strength in their belief system is not shattered apocalyptically (either literally or figuratively), but it is instead strengthened. Katie wears her faith openly, she wears it on her sleeve and on her heart for others to see. It is what eventually saves her life, but also gets her into trouble. This is what happened with Katie. I don’t want to give too much away about the end because you know, spoilers, but do know that Katie is one brave girl
I did of course, have a couple little niggles that though was slightly annoying, I was able to overlook. When the author started tying in Alexander’s ankh tattoos into the story and some of the writing with the vampires that show up near the end. The writing feels too much like an information dump and the dialogue is a bit cheesy during these scenes. Besides that though, I was absorbed completely and could not stop reading.
There is a sequel to this book, The Outside, and I did read the excerpt chapter after I finished reading this and I’m afraid I’m up in the air. I want to know what happens to Katie and Alexander. But, I do wish this was a stand along book. A one off. Why? Because I’m tired of having to read yet another series.
If you are looking for something different, check out this book. It is truly a page turner and a tale that is not all caught up on what normal young adult books are. This is a unique book with a unique story that is beautiful and horrifying all at once.
Thanks for reading and I will try to get another review up soon!
Remember to be yourself. Unless you can be a pirate. Then always be the pirate!!