Monday, March 19, 2012

Halflings by Heather Burch

"What if following your heart meant losing your soul?"

This is the tagline for Halflings by Heather Burch and it is an interesting thought. Plus, the book itself is gorgeous. I was reading it in Church and quite a lot of people (many of them adults, not just those my age), commented on it.

The whole supernatural genre may be overdone, but since I didn't read many of these kinds of books, the book felt original to me, but that may be because I haven't read many angel books. But basically, the book centres around Nikki, who is for some reason being hunted down by the powers of hell. So it's a good thing that she has three hot guys protecting her right? But of course, she falls in love with two of them.

I really wish that the love-triangle plot wasn't used. Nikki's romance with Mace was sweet (and tragic) enough that she didn't need to have feelings for Raven. But I supposed it would have been weird if she wasn't attracted to him, since he's portrayed as looking (and acting) like a girl magnet.

To me, the second most interesting part of the book was the characters. The plot seemed to be more of a lead-in for the next book, because I was left with quite a lot of questions at the end. As for the characters... hmm, Nikki was annoying at first, but so was Raven. Nikki seemed to be a Mary-Sue, since she's an artist and a black-belt and supposed to be really pretty to boot (although she doesn't recognise this fact). Plus, she whined a lot. Raven... he has an attitude problem. But what was really great was that as the book progressed, both characters became more likable, maybe because I felt like I understood them better.

Mace was just darling. Despite the descriptions of him, I keep picturing him as this little boy, looking for love but so afraid to break the rules.

As for the other characters, well, I'd really like to see more of Vine and Will in the next few books.

The most interesting part of the book would be the topic of the half-angels. Mace, Raven and Vine are all halflings/lost boys, who are half-human, half-angel. The book talks about how their existence was a plot to corrupt the seed of mankind, which is what some commentators think happened in the days of Noah, where the "sons of God" took the "daughters of man" and had as children "mighty man who were of old, the men of renown" (Genesis 6:1-4).

I was actually quite curious as to how the matter of their salvation would be dealt with, since the Bible says that salvation is for mankind, which would exclude them. Which is why I thought it was really appropriate that most of the angst in the book comes from the fact that as progeny of the both species, they don't have a home (or even a certain future) And small details like how each choice they make turns them towards the path of God or the path of Satan was reasonable and enriched the 'world-building' with regards to the halflings. Through the book (especially the latter half), there was an emphasis on choices. In fact, one of my favourite quotes is about it:
"I felt... wild... with him. Like I could defy every law and it wouldn't matter. What was that?"

"Nikki, Raven offered you the seed of rebellion. It may seem small and seductive, but when it grows, its a difficult giant to kill. It's the same sin that cause Lucifer to fall."

But for some reason, Nikki either doesn't understand the explanation or forgets/ignores it because about 30 pages later, she is told that "you can change your destiny to suit your own needs" and although she has doubts, she admits that it sounds good.

Still, the book deals with the topic with respect, treating it as the complicated topic that it is (you cannot just write about supernatural love interests and not think about the consequences), which is why in the end, I recommend this book. It goes beyond the normal shallow love-triangle plot and actually considers the consequences of decisions made.

Disclaimer: I got a free review copy for Zondervan but all the opinions in this post are mine.

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