September 25, 2012

Review: The Blessed

The Blessed First in a trilogy
By Tonya Hurley
Available now from Simon & Schuster
Review copy

I heard mixed reviews of THE BLESSED before reading the book, but I never quite understood what it was about.  But there's something intriguing about books that people either love or hate.  And based on my experiences with Tonya Hurley's debut series, there was still a 50-50 chance for me.

But, y'know, I didn't love or hate THE BLESSED.

(And I'm still not entirely sure what it's about.)

One fateful night in Brooklyn, three young women - Agnes, CeCe, and Lucy - end up in the hospital.  They have little in common.  Agnes is a typical teen who attempted suicide.  CeCe is a musician who drowned in a pothole.  Lucy is a celebutante who overdosed.  But by the time they leave, they all have something in common.  The three girls each leave with an expensive antique chaplet.  (All of them know what a chaplet is, despite the fact that only one of them is a Catholic school girl.  I had to look it up.)  Only CeCe saw Sebastian, the boy who left them behind.  But soon enough all four of them are drawn to Our Lady of Perpetual Blood during a fierce three-day storm.  That's when things get weird.

I liked that THE BLESSED doesn't stick to one interpretation of events.  It gets inside the head of many of the characters, including the possibly villainous psychiatrist Dr. Frey and the paparazzo Jesse, who is sometimes Lucy's ally.  All of the characters have their own agendas and their own ways of seeing the world, and the truth lies somewhere between how the individuals present it.  That doesn't mean I've figured out the truth.

I don't know what I think.  THE BLESSED is a fever dream of a book, jumbling rock and roll, celebrity, and religious iconography together with abandon.  But I know I'll be back for the second book.  Hurley's created an intoxicating version of Brooklyn, one populated by saints and prophets, and I can't wait to see where she's taking this crazed thrill ride of faith and violence next.  I don't think THE BLESSED is for everyone, but I appreciate that.  I like that a book this strange is getting a big marketing push.  Like Lucy says, you gotta go big.


  1. This does sound strange, and sort of morbid if they're drawn to the lady of perpetual blood! (Though I know that could be a Catholic tribute to Mary). I only recently learned about chaplets myself, maybe the author just assumed it's common knowledge.

    1. Strange and morbid are great adjectives for this book.

  2. I like how you describe this as a "dream fever" of a book! I read the first 50 pages or so and DNFd it--I just had no idea what was going on and didn't feel invested in any of the characters. I really appreciate reading your review, though--it gives a good sense of what the reading the book is like.

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

    1. Thank you! I'm pretty proud of this review. It's definitely hard to figure out what's going on. I can see putting it down if you didn't get into the characters.

  3. I wasn't really sure about this one. It sounds like one crazy ride, but I'm glad you got caught up in it! i do like that something so different is getting a big marketing push though. You don't normally see that.

  4. I saw this book in the store the other day and was reading the blurb on the back. I couldn't figure out what it's about. I still don't know what it's about, and it looks like I might not know even after reading it. :) You've made me a bit curious, but I'm still not convinced I'll pick it up. :)


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