Zombie, post-apocalyptic and dystopian books are like shoes - you can never have enough.
Religion in books is something I'm usually very cautious about - I don't mind it as a plot device, but there's a fine line between that and having the author's opinions feel like they are being shoved down my throat, so I was a little hesitant going into The Hallowed Ones, but also intrigued - I find the Amish infinitely fascinating, and the synopsis really got me thinking - if the world did end, what would happen to people who are isolated from the world, either by choice or circumstance?
Luckily, I didn't find the religion in this book to be too much for my tastes, however I would warn anyone that finds religion in books uncomfortable to be fully aware before grabbing a copy of The Hallowed Ones - as the Amish themselves are religious, there is a lot of discussion about God, the Bible and the will of God when it comes to determining fates of people and the world, but I never felt that it was overly preachy. Yes, some of the characters are therefore annoyingly oblivious and seemingly stupid, but it's also understandable, and Ms. Bickle approached it with enough explanation that it didn't make me feel frustrated, rather more sympathetic.
Katie is open about the fact that she is a little bit more rebellious than she should be, and it shows in her actions. However, despite some naivety, she's also strong, capable and pretty sensible when it comes to figuring things out. And once she meets Alex, she really becomes a memorable character, standing up for what she believes in and dealing with the aftermath of a particularly gory attack by the creatures without becoming an unrealistic action-woman.
Once I finished The Hallowed Ones, I realised that in terms of plot, not a huge amount had actually happened - yes, the world seems to be in the midst of an apocalypse, there are some scary arse monsters hanging around and the local 'witch doctor' of sorts has taught Katie more than a few tips and tricks about the monsters, but everything is pretty much confined to the settlement with little to no information about the wider world. However, the intricacies of the Amish lifestyle and religion and the spooky isolation of the setting really kept my attention.
The second book in the series, The Outside, is scheduled to be released in September 2013, and I'm intrigued to see where Katie's story goes next.
Read more of my reviews at The Aussie Zombie