I haven’t picked up an Amish story for a long time, mainly because I got tired of reading so many Amish stories that promised more than they delivered. With The Hallowed Ones by Laura Bickle, that is not what happened here. This story promises thrills, chills and on-the-edge-of-your-seat suspense, and that’s exactly what it delivers. It was both an awesome and terrifying story to read! It starts innocently enough, as most stories do, but then when the shocking scene happens that throws readers into a whirlwind of excitement and terror, the adventure never ends and readers are left turning the pages in anticipation of what will happen next. That is how I felt when I was reading this very chilling and mysterious story. I wanted to know what happened next. I wanted to know more about what unseen terror was attacking the world at large – what is known as Outside to the Amish community – and how it will be stopped. I also wanted to know how this evil menace managed to invade Katie’s Amish community when supposedly they were safe on hallowed ground. What was this monster that was killing so many people? And how did it break through the barrier of this Amish community only to attack innocent and unarmed people? The answers were shocking and it made for all the more of an enjoyable read. The story also had its funny moments, ones which made me wish I could see it all in a movie.
The other thing I liked about this story were the characters. Katie, the main character who is a young Amish girl, was very inspiring. Yes, she was strong-willed like so many other Amish girls in stories I have read, but she never changes who she is in the end or backs down even when the whole world and her beloved community seems to be against her. She’s a smart, strong and brave young woman. She manages to carry the weight of this story on her shoulders just as she carries buckets of water in her chores, and her fiery spirit made for some good reading. I liked how she was able to see through “Elijah the rat’ and know what kind of person he really was later on in the story. The character Elijah really got on my nerves and I was cheering Katie on when she fought him and stood her ground. During one scene, in fact, I was amazed at what she did to him and thought, That took guts! She’s very brave and very strong – characteristics that she’ll need in this story. As it is, Katie wonders if what is happening to them is the Rapture, but it turns out to be something much more bigger and terrifying than anyone can imagine. Katie also has a good heart and a kind soul. I was touched by how she cared for her friend, Mrs. Parsall, after the woman falls into a deep state of depression.
The Hexenmeister was another character I liked. I had known a bit about such members of Amish communities and how they paint hex signs on barns. His knowledge of things not of this world was quite fascinating and made me wonder how it was he knew so much about such things and still be a part of a very religious order with strict rules regarding what people can see, hear and know. Alex, an outsider Katie helps, was another character I liked in this story. He knew some things about the Amish and this helps him understand the goings-on of the community. Also, he manages to question things without being sarcastic or judgmental. Katie’s faith is strong and her beliefs sure even when Alex tells her stories from Greek myth in the wake of the unseen evil attacking the community.
The Hallowed Ones is one of the best religious horror stories I have read in a long time. It’s a battle between good and evil just as it’s a clash of the English and Amish world crammed together in a fireball of terror, suspense and excitement. This story forces readers to ponder if any place or structure is really ever safe, and what beliefs and ideas they’d be willing to compromise when something unseen and evil threatens their lives and the lives of their loved ones.
Katie and Elijah are young Amish sweethearts preparing to go on Rumspringa, that time in an Amish person’s life when they venture to the world Outside before being baptized into the Amish community. But plans change after something evil and not of this world is unleashed on the Outside and nobody is safe. Katie and her community live on what is supposed to be hallowed ground, making them safe from this unseen evil. But what happens when this monster manages to get in – and starts killing people and animals one by one? Can Katie get the Elders to accept what is really happening and do what they must to protect everyone?
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.