The Hollowed Ones, #1
by Laura Bickle
Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication Date: September 25, 2012
Format Reviewed: eBook sent from Author
If your home was the last safe place on earth, would you let a stranger in?
In this captivating thriller, an Amish settlement is the last safe haven in a world plagued by an unspeakable horror…
Katie is on the verge of her Rumspringa, the time in Amish life when teenagers are free to experience non-Amish culture before officially joining the church. But before Rumspringa arrives, Katie’s safe world starts to crumble. It begins with a fiery helicopter crash in the cornfields, followed by rumors of massive unrest and the disappearance of huge numbers of people all over the world. Something is out there...and it is making a killing.
Unsure why they haven’t yet been attacked, the Amish Elders make a decree: No one goes outside their community, and no one is allowed in. But when Katie finds a gravely injured young man lying just outside the boundary of their land, she can’t leave him to die. She refuses to submit to the Elder’s rule and secretly brings the stranger into her community—but what else is she bringing in with him?
Amish life and vampires?? Ummm....Hell Yes! I have to say that I am completely in love with this book. Laura Bickle has brought the dystopian genre, vampires, and the Amish together in an incredible and thrilling book. But be forewarned, there is a lot of gore and it is not for the weak! The basis is given in the synopsis above, but I will add a few tidbits. The Amish, or Plain Folk as they refer to themselves are very different from the Outside or English world. Katie has to sneaks things like comic books and Coca Cola - both of which is unacceptable in her world. Katie is a fantastic character and is what makes this book great. She is obstinate, defiant, and yet has more backbone and morals than those of her community.
When the end of the world is upon them, the Elders close the gates - no one in and no one out. Something is happening outside, something that is killing people off in droves. No one knows what is really going on. When an Outsider is found just beyond the gates Katie saves his life by invoking "Gelassenheit" or God's will and saves him from being put down. She even goes as far as sneaking around and bringing him to her barn and hiding him. Then when she needs to get him (Alex) antibiotics desperately, Katie leaves and encounters the very thing that is tearing the world down. Vampires. And not your sparkly, brooding, sexy vampires; they are the 30 Day's of Night vampires who kill without remorse and are evil incarnate.
I could not put this book down. I enjoyed reading and learning about the Amish culture as well as some of the more fictional aspects of the book. I really liked the inclusion the Hexenmeister - or Amish wizard/witch. They are basically there to put markings on buildings to protect them or bring about fertility or a good harvest. Not many Ordnungs use them anymore so this showed just how strict and old school this community was. As for the more horrific parts of the book, well I have to say that the image of a pack of feral vampire cheerleaders is a favorite for me. The vampires are creeptastic and had me turning on my lights while reading about them.
Laura Bickle is a great storyteller and was able to bring in some difficult subjects with ease. She wove religion and faith together in a way that made me think and had the characters thinking about what is right and true and what that meant to them at what might be the end of the world. There is also a bit of romance for those who can't live without it, but it is not the overall theme. The book is over 300 pages, which is a little longer than some young adult books though it was paced well. There were times in the beginning where I wanted more, but the background and information was all there for a purpose. I am ecstatic that there will be a second book. It could stand alone with the ending that it has, but I am happy to know that we will be seeing more of Katie.
"Plain folk are taught that evil is spiritual. The absence of God."
Mrs. Parsall bit back a sob. "Well it seems as if God's left the building, and we're left to our own devices."
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
FTC Advisory: I was given a copy of this book from the author for an honest review as part of a blog tour. No backroom deals or whispered promises were made.
About the Author:
Laura Bickle's professional background is in criminal justice and library science. When she's not patrolling the stacks at the public library, she can be found reaming up stories about the monsters under the stairs.
She has written several contemporary fantasy novels for adults, and THE HALLOWED ONES is her first young adult novel. Laura lives in Ohio with her husband and five mostly-reformed feral cats. For more about Laura, please visit her website at: www.laurabickle.com.
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This tour of The Hallowed Ones is hosted by Bewitching Book Tours.