Review: The Outside by Laura Bickle

Posted April 12, 2014 by Lorna in Lorna, Reviews, Young Adult / 31 Comments

Review: The Outside by Laura Bickle
The Outside by Laura Bickle
Series: The Hallowed Ones #2
Published by HMH Books for Young Readers
Published on: September 3, 2013
Genres: Young Adult
Pages: 325
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
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One girl. One road. One chance to save what remains…

After a plague of vampires is unleashed in the world, Katie is kicked out of her Amish community for her refusal to adhere to the new rules of survival. Now in exile, she enters an outside world of unspeakable violence with only her two “English” friends and a horse by her side. Together they seek answers and other survivors—but each sunset brings the threat of vampire attack, and each sunrise the threat of starvation.

And yet through this darkness come the shining ones: luminescent men and women with the power to deflect vampires and survive the night. But can these new people be trusted, and are they even people at all?

In this edge-of-your-seat thriller, it’s up to one Amish girl to save her family, her community, and the boy she loves . . . but what will she be asked to leave behind in return?

After reading a recommendation on GoodReads by author Karina Halle, about The Hallowed Ones, I had to read it and I absolutely loved it(5 stars). I guess it would be considered YA but there is a mild sex scene so not sure if that still keeps it in the YA category. At any rate, I think it should be at least 16 years old and up. This book is the sequel and it really lived up to the first book. Perhaps not quite as good but still good.

This is the part where I tell you that the main character is a teenage Amish girl. If you don’t want to read an Amish book, let me explain. Katie is a shunned Amish girl, now on the run with her non-Amish boyfriend, Alex. The world these two inhabit has been almost completely taken over by vampire type creatures that are not anything like we normally read about. These vampires are truly monsters, and true to the legends, only come out at night. They no longer act completely human and have no qualms about who they kill. And wow do they kill. In the first book, Katie is one of the first of the Amish settlement to see and understand what is going on in the world outside their home. Alex is denied access to the settlement as an outsider. When Katie goes against the elders and hides him in a barn, life changes for Katie. She might have been a bit rebellious before the monsters come, but after, by taking in Alex, she becomes a problem the elders want nothing to do with. So after the two are found in a compromising situation in the barn, they are thrown out of the settlement. Another outsider,Ginger, a friend of Katie’s family, leaves with them. To me the elders were pretty monstrous too!

This book ends up being a total adventure of major proportions and not in a good way. Every night is a quest just to survive until the dawn. For Katie, pacifism is no longer an option. Along the way they scavenge for food, get involved with a crazy snake handling preacher, come across abandoned animals in a zoo, and even have fun in an abandoned department store. The whole time they are heading towards Canada, where they think they can find refuge with Alex’s family.

I know I have told more about the first book and that’s because it was just so good and really set up a lot of what happens in this book. I loved the characters of Katie and Alex and enjoyed their romance. I really liked learning more about the Amish religion and way of life. Over and about all of that though, this series is paranormal mixed with horror overtones. There’s some strange scenes, new characters are introduced and through it all, Katie and Alex are the heart of all of it. This author can definitely write good characters and suspense. The story is not all about the bad, some of it ends up being really uplifting and shows the resiliency of the human spirit in the face of such evil.

If you want your vampires to be good or even with a bit of evil, this book isn’t for you. But if you are interested in vampires that are truly monsters, and enjoy a good story with quite a bit of action, you may enjoy this. I did.

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I’m Lorna and I live in Maryland. Since retiring, I spend my time mostly reading and reviewing books. My favorite reads are Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy, and Young Adult. I read a lot of indie books in addition to traditionally published books. Favorite paranormal creature? Vampires, but I am really liking werewolves more everyday.


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31 responses to “Review: The Outside by Laura Bickle

    • I know. Vampires are usually shown to be beautiful-which is usually okay with me,but this book was really different and I do like different for a change. I thought it really worked 🙂

  1. I’ve never read an Amish novel then Lee at She-Wolf reads reviewed it, she loved this & that convinced me to give it a try. Like you I LOVED everything about this. The world building is wonderful & I love the idea of a vampire-apocalypse LOL

    • When I read the first book, I had pretty much forgotten what it was about(huge tbr pile) so I was just pretty shocked while reading it-I knew it was Amish and like you had never read an Amish book-I literally could not put it down! I reviewed it for another site so had to go with part 2 for this review.:)

  2. Sounds like an Amish 30 Days of Night! 🙂 I love my sexy vampires but don’t mind reading about them as full out predators as well. This sounds interesting, thanks for the awesome review Lorna!

  3. I have read The Hallowed Ones and absolutely loved it as well. I have not read this book though so I kinda skimmed it but from your rating, I can see that you enjoyed it as well even if its not as awesome as book 1 maybe? Anyway, I do have this on my ereader so I need to read this soon. I love the brutality of vampires in this series.

  4. Christy

    Yes, this was a great duology. I agree that this book was really good, but not quite as good as 1st. The part with the ‘sheriff’ kind of freaked me out – I wasn’t expecting that. lol.

  5. Faye M.  

    Glad to see that the second book is okay! I read the first one not too long ago and thought it was kind of silly with the heroine being rebellious for the heck of it. Haha! But at least this was has more to it then simply rebelling 🙂 I’m interested to know how they’ve overcome their struggles. Will be checking it out soon!

    Faye at The Social Potato Reviews

  6. I read this book last year and I like it too. The first one is awesome and I like Katie and Alex. I’m not sure I actually like the second but I still enjoyed reading it.

  7. Annette

    thanks to your review, I started with The Hollowed Ones two days ago.
    I’m already half way through!! 🙂