Thursday, December 26, 2013

Audiobook Review: The Hallowed Ones


The Hallowed Ones (The Hallowed Ones, #1)Author: Laura Bickle
Narrator: Nora Hunter
Series: The Hallowed Ones, #1
Released: October 1st 2013
Publisher: Audible Inc.
Lenght: 9 hrs and 20 mins
Buy: Audible

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.
There’s truly little that can surprise me these days, but the quality of Laura Bickle’s prose, her superb characterization and her social sensitivity stunned me. The Hallowed Ones is a book I’d recommend for a number of reasons, including its big educational value.

I confess to knowing embarrassingly little about the Amish ways prior to reading this book. In addition to being exciting and emotional, The Hallowed Ones was a true eye-opener in so many ways. Thanks to Laura Bickle’s extreme social sensitivity and tact, I was able to learn a lot about the Amish way of life, and to clearly see the good sides as well as the bad. It would be infinitely easy to dismiss the Plain Folk, especially in light of our sudden technological development, but there is undoubtedly some value in their simple way of life. Bickle brings it all to light, without passing any kind of judgment, and allows her readers to make their own conclusions, one way or the other.

We see the community through the eyes of Katie, a young Amish girl with a strong stubborn streak. Katie is a good daughter and a hard worker, and yet she is different from other Amish girls. She tends to question everything and make up her own minds about things, which isn’t exactly encouraged by the Bishop and their Elders. When vampires attack the outside and come a bit too close to Katie’s home, she is forced to make some decisions that go against the wishes of her elders.

Bickle is a superb storyteller, with a talent for building tension to almost unbearable levels. There were times when I felt such a strong sense of foreboding that I was forced to stop listening for a while. That kind of emotional intensity is exactly what every voracious reader seeks and Laura Bickle provides it with seeming ease.

Nora Hunter turned voice characterization into an art form. She was able to pronounce and even sing prayers in Dutch and she added a subtle peculiarity to each character’s speech, making them all stand out without seemingly trying too hard. Hunter is, hands down, one of the best audio narrators I’ve ever had the pleasure of listening and I’ll never hesitate to pick up a book narrated by her in the future.

As for the duology itself, I went through both books in mere days, no small feat considering it’s over 20 hours of audio. Unfortunately, the second wasn’t nearly as good as the first, but as a whole, this duology is well worth your time.


17 comments:

  1. I was surprised with how much I loved this duology as well, it was just so good and captivating.

    I see that you are listening to the Throne of Glass, I am so excited for you, it is one of my most favorite YA series. Make sure and check out all the prequels ( I think there are three of them), they are so worth the money and read, there is a ton of background info on Calaena and on Sam.

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  2. I liked her adult books so I am curious about these

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  3. I enjoyed this book too. It has something that no other books have which is uniqueness. I love the plot and the twist to vamp stories.

    Great review!

    -Dannielle

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  4. I think i'm going to have to go buy this book! I think I might go your route and go with audio, I have so many books to review as it is and while i'm walking around my town or to and from work (or even working) I can get lost in an audio easily.

    I really love your review, I had no idea vampires were even involved. I've been after a good old vampire novel for a about two years now ( I know it's probably not completely based on vampires), so thank you for putting it on my radar :D.

    Georgie @ What She Reads

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  5. Highly impressive that the narrator really seemed to immerse herself in the story which, in turn, immersed you in it. Plus, vampires and the Amish. A brilliant combination.

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  6. I'm so glad you enjoyed this one, Maja! Like you, I went into it with little knowledge of the Amish people or their ways, but I was pleasantly surprised by how the details of their lifestyle were woven into this tale of vampire gore. Plus, I adored the romantic development in this and Katie was one of those quietly fierce heroines I love. Amazing review, as always, my friend! :)

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  7. I feel exactly the same way about this book. I can't believe how well she blended so many seemingly unrelated things and made it work. Just brilliant.

    I did enjoy the second book but it didn't capture that magic that the first book had.

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  8. I had heard that the 2nd book isn't as good as the first which put me off from picking it up entirely. Might have to do so still, I wasn't aware it was only a duology. I'm intrigued by the concept though and your review intrigues me more!

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  9. I really loved this book but I confess I only read it in book. One day I'll try an audiobook (I know I say that all the time but I will!). It's just so anxious to be lost with an english speaker. But I'm glad you liked it too and I have the Outside,I really need to start it.

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  10. A stubborn streak and different than normal culture/setup intrigues me.

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  11. I have heard wonderful things about this book (or both really) and I know I really need to consider picking them up. I don't know a lot about the Amish myself and I think it would be fascinating to read a book of this genre and that setting.

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  12. I adored both books and loved how the duology went full circle in a way, and found that the way the author writes tension and the monsters is fantastic, I also to stop reading on occasion!
    Glad to hear the narrator also managed to do a great job capturing the story!

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  13. I loved both books in this series and agree from her writing style to the unique tale I was spellbound.

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  14. I liked the second book overall, but I agree that this one was much better. And yay! I'm so glad you finally got around to this. I knew embarrassingly little about the Amish way of life prior to reading this too, but I loved how easy it was to follow along. The educational value is something that I appreciated as well. And you describe Laura's storytelling abilities perfectly. I loved the slow tension in this. Awesome review, Maja! I hope you had a lovely Christmas. :)

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  15. sounds very unique <3 my library finally got this one in so my fingers have been very itchy. I hope to make time for it

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  16. I did not know it was a duology. I've been eyeing it since the first one. Tnx maja

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  17. When I first started hearing about this book, I just thought it was so odd. I mean, Amish and vampires? But I can totally see your point about the book being informative about a cultural group that certainly isn't well represented in literature. For that reason alone I've been considering reading it, but of course it doesn't hurt to know that Bickle's writing is also very good. I will have to keep this one in mind for an eventual read!

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