The Thirteen Hallows by Michael Scott and Colette Freedman is a dark novel that follows many different characters who are associated with the Thirteen Hallows of Britain. The novel bounces between present day and ancient times to give the reader a full understanding of the great power these seemingly ordinary objects possess.
The Thirteen Hallows is more of a sinister thriller than anything else. Between the elderly Hallows Keepers being brutally murdered and talk of demons preying on human souls, the reader is transported into a world of mysteriously dark and somewhat disturbing magic.
However, the story becomes hard to follow early on. Scott and Freedman take the liberty of using short novels traveling between eight to ten different characters. I found myself flipping backward between chapters to remember which one I was now reading about. Once I was able to get a hold of all the players, I found they were fairly well developed. Sarah Miller and Owen Walker, the two main characters, were complex and easy to relate to. Miller came from an over-bearing mother who wouldnt let her live her own life, while Walker came from a broken family. I did want to see longer, or combined chapters, so that I could relate and connect with the characters earlier in the book.
Along the same lines, the passages written in italics about the history of the Hallows grew redundant and unnecessary. I felt that the talk of the Demonkind ended up being stale by the end of the book. Every passage seemed the same: the demons were strong and wanted to be released while a young boy worked hard to keep them at bay. Toward the end of the novel I even found myself speed reading and skipping portions to get to the present day action.
On the other hand, Scott and Freedman did a very good job with building the suspense. The entire novel circles around the idea that someone is bringing together the Thirteen Hallows on All Hallows Eve, Halloween for short. If these hallows are brought together, the world as we know it could very well end. While the suspense build up was executed nicely, the end result was sub-par in my opinion. The last few chapters are the shortest in the novel, while I wanted them to be the longest to get sense of the action that was taking place.
All in all, The Thirteen Hallows was a good read. It’s not a long novel, and the writing itself is easy to follow. I liked the haunting feel and the few twists kept me on my toes. The descriptions were spot on and the character development was very descriptive. My only wish is that there was more to read in a less jumbled manner so that I could be truly transported to modern Britain with a touch of past magic.
Sarah Emily Lelonek has a BA in English Literature from Kent State University. She is planning on attending Graduate School for English Rhetoric and Composition. She enjoys traveling and gaming while on breaks from working on her novel.
Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Tor Books. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.