the book fiend.

The book: The Hallowed Ones by Laura Bickle

What's it about?
The story focuses on Katie, a young Amish girl about to head out on Rumspringa with her childhood friend Elijah. As the two make plans to venture into the English world, the English world is destroyed by something that turns people into vampires. Violence reigns outside the tiny Amish community. Katie, Elijah, and the rest of the Amish are forced to confront this new horror, as it presses in on their world that challenges everything they thought they knew about life.

What did I think?
I had high hopes for this book. I love fringe religious & cultural groups. I like a good horror story. Unfortunately, it didn't quite live up to my expectations. Much of the story telling and plot feels watered down, like the author is trying to tone down the story to make it YA-appropriate. Yes this is a YA book. But that doesn't mean it has to be over-simplified. Even the characters feel a bit simplified and cardboard-y. Despite the watering down, I still liked the book. The story itself isn't terrible. Katie and many of the other characters are still relate-able.  Bickle does a good job presenting Katie's religious beliefs and struggles without being overly preachy or condescending. Instead, the information is presented in a straight-forward manner with no judgments. I never once felt like she was force-feeding me a viewpoint, which was super refreshing. One thing Bickle did not water down was the vampires in the story. Vampire lore has been increasingly watered down in recent times and has moved away from the idea of vampires as damned, monstrous creatures. Instead, we have Twilight, True Blood, and the Vampire Diaries. It was refreshing, at least for me, to see vampires that aren't hyper-sexual. I really liked the way Bickle blended different aspects of vampire lore: the vampires are cruel and enticing, human and not not human at all. They don't have magic abilities that allow them to go in the sun. They don't sparkle (praise the good Lord).

Who should read it?
The book contains a good amount of gore so if you don't like blood, stay away. It's not overly gory though so it's still readable for many of us. Sex & sexuality aren't themes in this book so if you feel like you're missing something without that, then it's probably not the best choice for you (spoiler alert: I'm working on American Psycho now so stay tuned for the complete opposite soon!). However, if you're looking for a quick, easy read, I definitely recommend it. It's a fun scary story with a dash of religion and coming-of-age thrown in for good measure

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