About the book
The Hallows. Ancient artifacts imbued with a primal and deadly power. But are they protectors of this world, or the keys to its destruction?
A gruesome murder in London reveals a sinister plot to uncover a two-thousand-year-old secret.
For decades, the Keepers guarded these Hallows, keeping them safe and hidden and apart from each other. But now the Keepers are being brutally murdered, their prizes stolen, the ancient objects bathed in their blood. Now, only a few remain.
With her dying breath, one of the Keepers convinces Sarah Miller, a practical stranger, to deliver her Hallow—a broken sword with devastating powers—to her American nephew, Owen. The duo quickly become suspects in a series of murders as they are chased by both the police and the sadistic Dark Man and his nubile mistress.
As Sarah and Owen search for the surviving Keepers, they unravel the deadly secret the Keepers were charged to protect. The mystery leads Sarah and Owen on a cat-and-mouse chase through England and Wales, and history itself, as they discover that the sword may be the only thing standing between the world… and a horror beyond imagining.
416 pages (hardcover)
Published on: December 6, 2011
Published by: Tor
Thanks to Tor for sending me a copy of this book to review.
I don’t generally read urban fantasy, but this one looked too good to ignore. Thirteen Hallows is an incredibly dark, urban, mystery/suspense novel based on the legend of the thirteen hallows, which I had never heard about before I read this book. The hallows themselves fill the book with an interesting and appealing history which could cause readers to do research on various points of history and legend this book touches on.
Thirteen Hallows is told with multiple points of view and while some of these perspectives are done better than others, switching perspectives helps keep this fast paced book fresh without making the reader overly exhausted with the nearly constant action. That being said, Thirteen Hallows is almost overflowing with bad guys, who are so purely evil that their chapters are almost unbelievable. Furthermore, this overflow of evil gives the book an overall hopeless feel that good could ever triumph as the evil has limitless resources to further their goals.
Thirteen Hallows doesn’t focus intensely on characterization. Instead, it seems to focus more on plot and action. The characters always seem to be running and rarely are there any confrontations. The nearly constant chases made it hard for me to feel rooted in time and place. While the English setting could have been very interesting and revitalizing to the book, it whirled by so quickly I rarely had time to enjoy or absorb it.
Characterization, as I mentioned above, does seem to be lacking. While the two main protagonists, Owen and Sarah are enjoyable to follow, they spend so much time focused on running that the readers really don’t get a feel of who they are without all the drama surrounding them. Thus, they seem to have no history, just their present situation. Furthermore, as I mentioned above, the evil characters seem to be so incredibly evil they are almost completely unbelievable.
One common complaint in reviews on this book is regarding how inept the police are. This is a complaint I feel I should point out, as well. There were numerous situations where the police could have lifted fingerprints or taken other evidence and discredited their suspicions, but they almost never did. Instead they assumed almost everything and acted on those assumptions. It got to be exhausting to read about their inept police procedures when simple fingerprinting or more research into the situation would have cleared up nearly everything and could have cut the overall drama which filled the book in half.
The plot is relentless, almost exhausting because it is so breakneck and suspenseful. Thirteen Hallows is filled with plenty of blood and torture as well as sex. While the sex isn’t graphic, the violence often times is and readers should be aware of that. The book builds into a quick, yet satisfying end which clearly sets up the reader for the second book in the series.
Thirteen Hallows is the start of a new dark urban fantasy series. While it did have problems, there is plenty here for readers to enjoy. Thirteen Hallows is filled with plenty of history, a unique English setting, two protagonists who are easy to follow through their adventures. The plot is breakneck and absolutely relentless and will probably leave readers on the edge of their seat gasping for breath. For readers who are more plot focused and not afraid of incredibly dark books, Thirteen Hallows could be quite a hit.
--- GIVEAWAY ---
I am giving away the book Tor sent me to review. Normally I keep review books, but with a baby I just don’t have the room anymore so I’m sharing the wealth. I have read this book once, and I am VERY easy on books. I doubt you’d be able to tell it was read. It’s also hard cover. The giveaway is open until Thursday, December 15 at midnight mountain standard time and is open worldwide.
To enter, send me an email at bookwormblues (at) live (dot) com with “THIRTEEN HALLOWS” in the subject. I will email the winner and announce who won on my blog on Friday, December 16.
Good luck to all who enter!