Series: The Hallowed Ones
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Formats Available: Paperback
BLURB from Goodreads
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.
Well it's kind of a long story as to how I came to have a free copy of this one to read and give my honest review on. Originally I downloaded a mobi from Netgalley, Then I had a kindle problem so "lost" the book. I then saw that the second book in the series was soon to be available and spoke to the author Laura Bickle who kindly and generously sent me a kindle copy of The Hallowed Ones.
So what about the cover, well it's quite a dark cover and to be honest the book has "dark" parts too, so it suits it well. The girl on the front is the Amish girl and main character of the book Katie. I love the byline of "If your home was the last place on earth, would you let a stranger in" it totally fits the situation that Katie finds herself in.
This story is set in and around an Amish community. It is rumored that there is something really bad going on Outside, that darkness is approaching. Some of the Amish people are in the neighbouring town working so end up cut off from their families. as the Amish do not have telephones etc they cannot communicate. An English woman is at Katie's parents farm when the elders of the Amish community enforce a lockdown nothing in or out with immediate effect. Katie's family generously take the English woman under their roof for the time being.
Before all the upset and lockdown happened Katie and Elijah had been planning their Rumspringa, the time they get to try life in the outside world before deciding to be baptized and devoting their lives to the Amish way of life for good.
Things change rapidly, the elders change things and families are encouraging their youngsters to be baptized much sooner. Elijah and Katie argue about this with Elijah wanting to be baptized and bring forward their engagement and marriage, but Katie still feels like she want to experience more of the Outside even if she has to wait until this "darkness" has passed. Katie ends up seeing a different side to Elijah when they argue.
Katie ends up finding a young man who is injured by their farms boundary. She alerts her father who calls the elders. The Elders decide to stick by their "No one in No one out policy" and will not allow anyone to help the young man. In fact there is even a discussion if it would be better to just shoot the young man! Later Katie smuggles the young man, Alex into the dog barn, where only she has reason to go to. She smuggles him food and even risks a trip to the Outside to get Alex antibiotics when one of his wounds becomes infected. It is whilst she is Outside that she see's the "monsters".
I won't tell you anymore as you should, no must read this book it's brilliant. There's a lot of things that happen much more than I have described At times you become so frustrated with the Elders of the Amish who refuse to see what is at the end of their noses. They have what some would say is a bullish attitude and others would say devoted faith that all they need to do is pray and God will do what needs to be done.
This book has dystopian elements and personally with some of the blood and gore scenes I'd say horror elements too. In fact if this was ever made into a movie, it would be a horror movie to rival Stephen King's Carrie!!
So did I enjoy the book? Yes, I really did, even the horror elements. If someone had told me the book had horror elements it would probably have put me off a little too, but I really enjoyed it. Would I recommend it? Yes I would for dystopian, horror and post apocalyptic fans too. Would I read another book in this series? Yes please, I'd read it . . . . like now if it was available! Would I read other books by this Author? Definitely, I intend to check out some more of her titles as soon as I can!