Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Breakdown of a Heroine: Katie from The Hallowed Ones

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Who is Katie?
Kate is not the type you would have pegged as a badass heroine.  She's a good Amish girl, hardworking and mostly obedient, working on her family's farm and dreaming of her upcoming Rumspringa.  For the most part, she does what she's supposed to and what's expected of her.  Until she's faced with difficult choices and then you really see what Katie is made of.

Strength of Character
What you don't see at first glance is Katie's intelligence.  Like all teenagers, she rebels, but her rebellions are not wild parties and creating mischief.  Instead, Katie reads comic books and thinks for herself.  Her rebellions are more mental than physical, reading, thinking and most dangerously questioning the decisions of those around her.  Even though Katie has been raised to listen to church elders, when she sees them doing something that goes against what she believes is right Katie stands up to them.  Even when she's ordered to do something else, Katie chooses kindness.  She has a quiet strength that we don't see often enough in books.

Katie's Storyline
Katie's life changes on the day the world outside of her Amish community ends.  Something unexplainably evil happens outside, creating massive unrest and destroying whole towns, but somehow within the boundaries of their Amish community they remain safe.  The elders of her community make a rule: no one goes in and no one goes out.  Then Katie finds an injured young man in one of their fields.  When the elders refuse to help him, Katie takes matters into her own hands and hides him in her family's barn, nursing him back to health.

Romantic Entanglements
For most of this book, Katie struggles between who she's supposed to be, the life she's supposed to live and who she finds herself becoming.  Within the Amish community, Elijah is her best friend and she's always assumed that they would marry one day.  But as Katie discovers her independence, Elijah begins to rely more heavily on the church and Katie finds herself at a crossroads. Even where the romantic relationships are concerned in this book it's not really about romance, but about Katie discovering herself and making her own choices.

Katie is the type of heroine I like to highlight.  She is not strong or tough in the traditional sword-wielding heroine type.  But Katie is just a courageous and strong as any character you meet.  When the world goes to hell, Katie chooses to rebel against authority in the name of kindness, compassion and mercy.  She chooses to see Alex, the injured man, as a human being, not as an outsider or intruder.  When the time comes to make tough choices, despite what she's being told by those she's trusted her whole life, Katie thinks for herself and makes decisions based on her moral compass.

I have not done this book justice.  It's a mind-blowingly different book.  Who ever thought you could combine Amish people and a dystopian apocalypse to create a thought-provoking and action-packed thriller?  The Hallowed Ones does just that and it's absolutely brilliant.

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