The Thirteen Hallows
by Michael Scott & Colette Freedman
Release Date: December 6, 2011
2011 Tor Books
Hardcover Edition; 351 Pages
Genre: Fiction / Paranormal / Triller
Source: Review Copy from Tor Books
3.5 / 5 Books
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.
I was very aware going into this book that it would be very different from Michael Scott's series The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel, so I wasn't expecting anything along those lines, which was probably a good thing as this book is very different from that series. The Thirteen Hallows was much darker, with a mixture of Christianity and mythology thrown into the concept, along with a lot of gore and a lot of blood. I enjoyed the concept of the novel, liked the story, but probably could have done without some of the the gore and would have liked to have seen more focus on the mythology and the Hallows.
As I have previously mentioned, I liked the concept of the story and enjoyed the idea of the Hallows and the history of the Hallows. I definitely like the mythological concepts and how they are linked from the present to the past, to famous historical figures, and even to hints of secrets that have been unsolved. I have always enjoyed stories set in England, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland, and devour them whenever I can. It also helped that the chapters were short, keeping the pacing swift, which helped with the point of view as it switched back and forth between multiple characters. One of the things I didn't enjoy was the sex scenes between the antagonists as I really didn't see a point for it, other than to explore another avenue of cruelty and evilness. Personally, I thought it was overdone. There is also a lot of blood and gore in this novel; the short chapters keep the novel from having too much detail, with no filler, so the blood and gore scenes are not overdone, they are simply part of the story, but anyone who is squeamish might find it falling into the genre of too much.
To be honest, I also found there wasn't really much in the way of characterization in this novel as it focused more on the action than in character development. I became somewhat skeptical of the treatment of the police towards the end as I didn't believe they could be that slow and still believe the main character was a serial killer and involved with skinheads and dope dealers. It probably wouldn't have bothered me if either of the main characters have been killed either, as I didn't really form any empathy or connection with them as there simply wasn't time given for the reader to connect.
The Thirteen Hallows was an enjoyable, quick read, but I don't really feel it had a lot of depth or scope to the story or to the characterization. The pace moved fairly quickly and I barely had time to breathe between events, but that's basically what the story was all about, the events. I was disappointed not to learn more about the Hallows so hopefully the next book in the series will share more about the history and some of the events that shaped the Hallows. I would also like to see more in the way of character development for our main characters as the story develops as the potential is definitely there for a good story line to develop.