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Review: The Thirteen Hallows by Michael Scott and Colette Freedman

>>Sunday, January 22, 2012

Title: The Thirteen Hallows
Author: Michael Scott and Colette Freedman
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 349
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publication Date: December 6th, 2011
Publisher: Tor Books
Rating: C+

From Goodreads: 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.

The Thirteen Hallows is the beginning of a spellbinding new saga, a thrilling tale of ancient magic and modern times by a New York Times bestselling author and an award-winning playwright.

Why did I read this book? I was really intrigued by the premise that promised a mixture of fantasy, mythology and history. And look at that cover, it’s beautiful!

Source: Review copy provided by publisher

My Review
The Thirteen Hallows opens with a bone-chilling first chapter, one of the most exciting openings to a book that I remember reading in a long time. It really hooked me from the first page and from there I could tell that Scott and Freedman would take me on a ride of the very well-written, thrilling and shocking story of The Keepers of the Hallows and their objects.

The story follows Sarah, who, either by chance or fate, has her world turned upside down when she finds herself charged with the care of one of the thirteen hallowed objects, a sword. She must protect it from the main villain of the story, who is trying to collect all thirteen objects to pretty much take over the world. It all sounds very epic and it is. It’s also a very horrific story, one with more gore than I anticipated. But this isn’t a bad thing; I actually thought the horror of the reality of the situations Sarah finds herself in to be refreshing. The whole book spans only a few days and much happens, creating a very fast-paced and exciting journey.

I did have some issues with the plotting, though. Two major pet peeves of mine where present in this story. One of them is the Nasty Villain who gets Flunkies to do his job for him, no matter how incompetent they are, while he watches and criticizes from afar. I know this is a common trope, but watching these flunkies fail so much and take so much time doing it while the villain could just try to get something done himself annoyed me. It created a situation where I felt the villain wasn’t as scary as he should be. There were a few instances where the bad guy does appear himself and those scenes I enjoyed.

The other pet peeve was the inclusion of the police in this story. Many people are being murdered so it’s natural the police would get involved, but I felt they, for no real reason, kept trying to blame Sarah for the crimes. At some points they make some pretty extreme leaps to connect her to the crimes and I felt this was just way too unbelievable for me (someone who takes detective work pretty seriously).

Rating: C+
The Thirteen Hallows was an exciting ride, if not a slightly bumpy one for me at times. I wanted so much to see what happens to the hallowed objects. One of my favorite aspects about this novel was the inclusion of British and Christian lore. I found the prose to be deftly executed in creating an exciting and terrifying world. However, this book was not without some faults that could have improved the story a lot for me. I would recommend this with these reservations in mind to those particularly interested in British and Christian lore or who’s looking for a fast-paced story with a good helping of horror.

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