The Hallow is the second book in the three book series of the Circle of Seven Trilogy. I read the first book Blood Brothers, and personally couldn't wait for the second in the series to be released. I know, I know, authors don't write books in a week or even in a couple of months – so along with a few million other people, I anxiously awaited this release and ran out and purchased it the minute it hit the shelves.
So what did I think? Here's what – Nora can write characters. That is one of the reasons I love reading her books. This book unfolded for me, page by page, and I could see each character, feel their emotions and walk with them in their shoes. As an author, she makes it very easy for the reader to get totally immersed in her characters' world.
This series is about three childhood friends, each with a completely different background, born on the same day, at the same hour. On their 10th birthday, they take a forbidden trip into to the woods to celebrate their coming of age, and perform a blood brothers ceremony over an ancient pagan stone. Their blood hits the stone and all hell breaks loose, literally. An evil the likes the world has never seen is unleashed for one week. And every seven years that evil comes back to their town.
This book, as did the first in the series, scared the bejeez out of me. It was like watching a scary movie – I could almost hear the subtle minor keys of string instruments and percussion in the background warning me that danger was coming as I read each page. The seven year anniversary of Mr. Bad Ass Evil is about to roll around again – so danger pretty much lurks on every page of The Hollow.
As with all her trilogies, there are three men and three women, and each book is devoted to one of the couples, creating a great romance a la Nora's signature style. I say signature style, because she writes characters who are real, with very believable dialogue. I was so lost in the dialogue I felt as if I was watching a movie, and I was, only it was playing in my head.
The Hallow centers around Fox and Layla. You'll love Fox as a hero, he's not only got charm and grace, he's kind, thoughtful, and keeps calm under the most strenuous circumstances. Layla's got a lot to learn, but as the book progresses, she doesn't turn into super woman who can do it all, but she grows and I appreciated the fact that she went from an outsider in the group to someone who could be part of a group and also hold her own.
Ms. Roberts' makes the situation and characters believable – yep, high marks on the believability factor. Let's face it, if you were confronting the mother of all evil in the entire universe, would you be apt to go out for drinks, create a relationship, make love? Not me, I'm one of those, hunker down, the world is coming to an end … can't think about anything else. However, she manages to create a life for these characters knowing that if you don't constantly create a future with hope, there won't be any. Great message, great story.
If you haven't read Blood Brothers (the first book in the series), and are just planning on picking it up in the middle of the series – you'll get right into it. She smoothly gives you the background without any unnecessary preamble for those of us already familiar with the plot. However, it's a wonderful series, so I suggest you start from the beginning.