Monday, August 27, 2012

{Book Tour} Guest Post and Review--The Hallowed Ones by Laura Bickle

By Laura Bickle

There are warnings about danger all around us. Some are obvious, and some are subtle. 

Many such warnings come from the natural world. We’ve all heard anecdotes about dogs and cats who can sense earthquakes before we can, howling warnings and fleeing before disaster comes. There are tales of earthworms crawling out of ground that is soon to be flooded, and studies showing that sharks will leave areas of the ocean soon to be struck by hurricanes. Animals know things that we don’t, serving as warnings for us.

There are myths about ravens, especially. There’s one story about the Tower of London that always sticks in my mind. There are always ravens in residence – some even have their wings clipped to keep them there. There’s a legend that if the ravens ever abandon the Tower of London, the kingdom will fall. 

When I was creating the world of THE HALLOWED ONES, ravens were on my mind. The heroine, Katie, is an Amish girl who is very in tune with the natural world. Ravens are part of her landscape, picking through fields for grain and standing on her clothesline, gossiping with each other. When the end of the world comes, the humans are not sure what’s happened. The people in Katie’s settlement only know that there are no cars on the road, that a curfew has been ordered. There are no lights on the horizon. 
But the birds know. 

One morning, Katie awakens to a great cacophony. Thousands of ravens are calling to each other, taking wing in a massive swarm. The swarm is so dense that it blackens the sky, and the sound is deafening. The birds are leaving, flying south in vast multitudes. 

The evacuation of the birds tells Katie that something is very wrong with her world, something truly horrific. She can only guess at what it is…but the ravens already know, and are shrieking to anything that will listen.

My thoughts on THE HALLOWED ONES:
Simply put, this book is amazing! As a true lover of horror and the like, I think I love the end of the world, dystopian zombie/vampire tales the most.  It has been done many times...probably not much better than Matheson's I AM LEGEND, but let me tell you...THE HALLOWED ONES ranks pretty high, in my opinion.  What made it so good was introducing the phenomenon from the Amish community's point of view.  Bickle has done a terrific job introducing the reader to the Amish world and then illustrating how they might react if something terrible did happen in the English (what they call us) world.  And then she goes one better by creating some of the most creepy and frightening creatures I've read in awhile.  As I was reading, I kept trying to visualize what they would look like.  Every horrifying image I've ever seen in movies or read in books came to mind, but I still couldn't quite settle on the terrifying image my mind was seeing.  Not only do we get all of this from the book, but we get a well-written book to boot.  No cliche or run of the mill stereotyping.  Also, the characters, namely Katie, are wonderful.  When Katie goes against the Elders to help a young English man who is injured or ventures into town--alone--to get medicine and supplies, it's not hard to believe.  Early on we learn that Katie is head strong and of her own mind.  A girl on the verge of Rumspringa (a time when Amish teens get to go off and experience life in the English world), she is ready to explore and set out on her own.  She just didn't intend for it to occur in quite the way it did.

I am so pleased with this book.  It's not often that I come across a book in this genre (meaning horror/dystopian, although it is classified as YA) that is so well constructed and exciting and engaging as well.  I highly recommend it.

About the book:
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?

Advance Praise for THE HALLOWED ONES
"This is a book to make you fear the shadows--a horrifying and gruesome tale of faith, and things that blink red eyes in the night. I began reading in the daylight, and read on into the
late hours, leaning close, biting my lip. I could not look away; I was ob-
sessed. Katie is an unbreakable soul."  --Lauren DeStefano, New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author of the Chemical Garden Trilogy

Laura Bickle
Reading level: Ages 12 and up
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Graphia
(September 25, 2012)
ISBN-10: 0547859260
ISBN-13: 978-0547859262
Laura Bickle is represented by Becca Stumpf at
Prospect Agency:

Publicity Contact:
Karen Walsh, 617-351-3647

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:

Thank you to Bewitching Book Tours for including me on this tour.



Thanks for visiting our little corner of the horror universe. Your comments are appreciated.
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  1. Wow, this one sounds great, Michelle! Fantastic review. Must add to my TBR list.

    Happy Monday!

    1. Thanks so much for adding me to your TBR list, Lori!

    2. Thank you so much for hosting me today, Michelle! I'm thrilled that you enjoyed THE HALLOWED ONES! Many thanks for taking the time to read and review! :-D

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