For What It's Worth

Friday, September 6, 2013

Review: The Outside (The Hallowed Ones #2) by Laura Bickle


One girl. One road. One chance to save what remains…

16118166After a plague of vampires is unleashed in the world, Katie is kicked out of her Amish community for her refusal to adhere to the new rules of survival. Now in exile, she enters an outside world of unspeakable violence with only her two “English” friends and a horse by her side. Together they seek answers and other survivors—but each sunset brings the threat of vampire attack, and each sunrise the threat of starvation.

And yet through this darkness come the shining ones: luminescent men and women with the power to deflect vampires and survive the night. But can these new people be trusted, and are they even people at all?

In this edge-of-your-seat thriller, it’s up to one Amish girl to save her family, her community, and the boy she loves . . . but what will she be asked to leave behind in return? ~ Goodreads

Source: ARC provided by HMH for Young Readers for my honest review

Spoiler warning: There are NO spoilers for The Outside but references to the events in book #1 The Hallowed Ones.

Review:The Hallowed Ones (The Hallowed Ones #1) was my top pick for favorite reads of 2012. (my review) It blew me away by blending dystopian, vampires and Amish culture in an incredibly horrifying yet thought provoking way. Bickle also gave a much needed reboot to the vampire genre. No romanticizing vampires in this series!

I honestly couldn't see how she could end this series on a satisfying or hopeful note. I'm not going to tell you how it ends of course but I think she did a great job wrapping things up.

Now that Katie, Alex and Ginger are living on the outside after being shunned by Katie's Amish community, the story turns into a gripping tale of survival. There are the vampires of course. But vampires aren't the only danger that they face. There's the threat of starvation, finding shelter on sacred ground each night, wild animals, and new possibilities that shake Katie's faith to her core.

What is a constant in this series though is how the story and writing challenges you. The characters face choices that really make you think about what you would do in the same situation. How far would you go to survive? How much of yourself are you willing to lose in the process?

Katie and Alex are incredible together but this isn't some swoony…oh my God, I can't live without you! romance. They share an incredible bond because of what they've been through but they also come from different lifestyles with obligations to their own families. This is a mature relationship that I wish we would see more of in YA (or Adult for that matter) Although they have different beliefs, they are always respectful of each other and try to do what's right.

Final thoughts: The Outside sets a very different tone than the first book in the series. There is more brutality and devastating choices to which there is no right answer. This is such a unique series and I wish more people would give it a shot. It's unlike anything else I've ever read. I love when a book sticks with me and makes me think long after I've put it down.

I don't know how Laura Bickle is able to write such a brutal story that is both action packed, yet introspective and hopeful without feeling preachy in any way. While I enjoyed The Hallowed Ones a bit more – I think it was the shock of being plunged into a new world – The Outside was an excellent conclusion to this series.

Author: Website | Twitter | Facebook
Buy the book! The Outside (The Hallowed Ones)

26 comments:

  1. A blending of dystopian, vampires and Amish culture is definitely unique -- how awesome is it that this author was able to pull it all off?!? Plus, the romance sounds amazing.

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    1. It's really weird but totally works lol

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  2. Oh this book sounds amazing . I can't wait to see how it all ends :) Great review

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  3. This book, and series, sounds just about perfect. When you say a combination of Amish culture, vampires, and dystopian, it sounds ridiculous. Which makes it all the more amazing at how much people are loving it.
    Great review, Karen!

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    1. I think another author originally recommended this series to me and I was SO unconvinced lol but it's really good!

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  4. Sounds like a book with a difference and I'm loving the cover. Away to add it to my wish list now.

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    1. I think this is a series that you might like Petty.

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  5. I like what I read by her so I wanna try this one too

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  6. That is amazing when the story and writing keeps challenging you

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  7. That is amazing when the story and writing keeps challenging you

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  8. This sounds good. I remember wanting to read this one.

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  9. Oh I heard about the first one and now the glowing recommendation of this book. You know what that means! You added to my wishlist! :)

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  10. I agree completely! I particularly love what you said about Alex and Katie's relationship being so mature. I love the respect they hold for one another and it's - sadly - so rare in YA. I also really enjoyed the way this book wrapped up, so it's one of the best duologies I've come across. Easily. Wonderful review!(:

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  11. This is only a two book series! I'm happy about that...though worried about the brutality... Still I can't wait to start this series!

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    1. Don't be deterred by the brutality element. I just mean in the sense that the vampires are old school so it's more violent than the latest paranormal books out there.

      I guess if you don't like any violence or scare easily it might be a problem though lol

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  12. I know how much you read, so when you say that this is unlike anything you've ever read, that's really something. I love how deliciously dark his sounds, I'm all for that. And I really need to get a move on and finally read the first book.
    Lovely review!

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    1. I enjoy a lot of books but there aren't many that I REALLY LOVE if you know what I mean. This series stands out from the rest and I do think you would like it.

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  13. I have read great reviews of The Hallowed Ones and that it is a "real" vampire story. I have it waiting to read on my Kindle. Another blogger friend said it was one of her favorites as well. It is a shame that there isn't a lot of chatter about this series. I never understand why some fantastic books/series fall through the cracks.

    Thanks for your spoiler free review!

    Heather

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    1. Maybe it's the Amish style cover or people are burned out on vampires?

      A lot people have told me the premise sounds silly which I can see - if it wasn't for a solid recommendation from someone I trusted I probably would have passed on it myself. I'm so glad I didn't.

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  14. I am really happy with how this book/series ended, too--she pulled off a sequel that was a great continuation of the first book, but also a very satisfying resolution. Plus you know I love those vampire _ _ _ s. :D :D :D

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

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  15. I haven't read these books but that's awesome you found the second book just as exciting as the first, since you loved it so much. It certainly blends some interesting genres. :)

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  16. I skimmed this really fast because I haven't read it yet, but glad you loved it! I'm on the list at the library, stalking the website every day. The book is "in transit" to me supposedly...

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  17. I needed a reminder about this series - I had almost forgotten about it. But reading your review for The Hallowed Ones again, now I remember how original and awesome it sounded. And it makes me so happy that the sequel was so well done, as well! That romance sounds profound and perfect.

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  18. I just found out about this series. it sounds SO good, but also scary....

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