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ARC Review: Halflings


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Purchase: Amazon | BookDepository
Release Date: February 1, 2012
Publisher: Zondervan
Age Group: Young Adult
Genre: Paranormal Romance/Urban Fantasy
Source: NetGalley
Special: 2012 Debut Author Challenge
Rating: Perfect Bed Partner
Hover over Books in the navigation bar above to find a link to My Rating System In-Depth.

About the Book:
After being inexplicably targeted by an evil intent on harming her at any cost, seventeen-year-old Nikki finds herself under the watchful guardianship of three mysterious young men who call themselves halflings. Sworn to defend her, misfits Mace, Raven, and Vine battle to keep Nikki safe while hiding their deepest secret—and the wings that come with.

A growing attraction between Nikki and two of her protectors presents a whole other danger. While she risks a broken heart, Mace and Raven could lose everything, including their souls. As the mysteries behind the boys’ powers, as well as her role in a scientist’s dark plan, unfold, Nikki is faced with choices that will affect the future of an entire race of heavenly beings, as well as the precarious equilibrium of the earthly world.
Fangs sank into Nikki Youngblood's leg, setting her skin on fire. A scream gurgled in her throat, but she willed herself past trees smeared by her jarred vision.

Remember when I said I was firmly in the NO ANGEL BOOKS camp, unless said books were written by Cynthia Hand? Yeah, well I've now stretched that once taut line to include Heather Burch, because she sure can write an angel book that's thrilling, intense, and chockfull of deeply lovable characters! Ya'll know that I'm a character girl through and through. So excellent angel lore and its interjection into the story aside, Burch really won me over with each of the characters she painted for me within Halflings's pages. The three guys in the main character's life are each entirely their own person, but they each carry hurts and uncertainties that strike a cord in us nearly instantaneously. They're like lost puppies, pained and unsure, floundering in doubts pertaining to their roles in the universe, which is ironic when we consider that they call themselves Lost Boys. Add to that they are gorgeous beings who pledge themselves as protectors to an unsuspecting, though appealingly strong main character, willing to lay their lives down unquestionably. They battle, they defend, and they are otherworldly. And our hearts are lost to them.

A beautifully written, unquestionably compelling story, we're thrust into the slowly unraveling life of Nikki Youngblood, our headstrong, kick-ass heroine who isn't afraid to admit fear but is also unwilling to back down when the fight presents itself. And this brave, though smartly fearful girl has a right to be suspicious and wary as when the first pages are turned, we find ourselves panicked and sweaty with exhaustion alongside her as she runs for her life from shuddersome foes that will turn her world completely upside down. Suddenly swooping in to save her are three mysterious guys who steadily bombard her life and only add to the crazy that wraps around her life. How can she trust them when they appear at the most random times, tackling strange, watchful men and trailing her wherever she goes, happening to crop up when she most needs them?

I might know what you're thinking. That this has Twilight all over it. And you couldn't be more wrong.

While I personally loved Twilight and have no qualms with it, some seem to have issues with Bella and the love triangle consuming the sequels. Well, let me reassure you that Nikki is no Bella. A long-time karate student, motorcycle-riding, brazen girl who mostly knows her own power is hardly what we'd call a Bella Swan type of main character. And though there is a love triangle, Mace and Nikki and Raven's entanglement can totally take its place next to the greatest of love triangles, the ones we all know and love. We find it extremely difficult to secure a position on either side of this agonizing love triangle, constantly wavering in our resolve. Inexplicably drawn to secure and sweet Mace while equally enraptured by the dark, brooding, badboy Raven, Nikki isn't the only one who has a tough time deciding who's best for her.

Mace, Raven, Vine, Will, Zero. The awesome girly girl best friend. The trio of Halfling girls. My head is spinning. Every character Burch introduces ensnares our attention, beckoning us to dig into their psyches, learning their thoughts, emotions, and personalities. Told in third-person and in multiple points of view, we receive viewpoints of every event through ever-switching eyes. We want to tightly hug these characters, pushing their sorrows and fear and anguish into nonexistence. The dialogue was unequivocally addictive and funny, even when it was inconsistent, and the way Burch moves the story along from plot point to plot point is quick and intriguing, rousing more questions than answers and pressing upon us is a deep-seated concern for everyone involved as a result.

Romance, kick-butt action, perilous circumstances, and a paranormal element that is somehow fresh in the hands of this wonderful author, I thoroughly enjoyed Halflings and seek to learn all hidden truths, to uncover the thread of future events in the ensuing books. I'm more than eager to clutch the sequel to me and embark on Nikki's next adventure!

"I want to know more."
"And I said, you know enough for tonight."
She pulled from his grasp and crossed her arms defiantly. "I'm not leaving."
"It's gonna get lonely out here."
Nikki huffed and decided to try a new approach. She gazed up at him. "Pleeeeease?" She batted her eyes as insurance.
Mace's resolve crumbled and he sank into the swing. "One more question, then we're done." (37%)

Mace had looked at the painting and saw possibilities. To him, the gate was an invitation. Mace was her invititation. He embraced her destiny, saw her as a future warrior, and swore to see her through.
And that made Raven her broken pot. The one who embraced the person she was right now. Odds were, he'd likely stand beside her and die to protect her as well, if she gave him the chance. Which one understands the real me? (62%)


Brandileigh2003 said...

Sounds like a great read! I think that I'll have to accept the review. 

Heidi said...

You've convinced me!  I'd written this one off already as another angel book of the Twilight trope, but if you're assuring that Nikki is kick-ass and putting this in league with Cynthia Hand's series, I'm going to have to check it out.

Giselleco said...

I wasn't too sure this was for me but you sell it pretty well! Nikki sounds awesome and my type of MC so I may give it a try!

Sophia said...

I requested this on Netgalley, too! I've been hesitant to start since I haven't heard too much about it, but after reading your review, I want to start it right away. I'm SO relieved to hear that the characters are greatly developed--I'm also a character person. :)

Brodie said...

I. AM. SOLD. So I've been mildly intrigued by this because I'm an angel fan, but yours is my first review and it's safe to say you fed my interest levels crack because they just shot through the ceiling.

"A long-time karate student, motorcycle-riding, brazen girl who mostly knows her own power..." - I LOVE how you describe Nikki. I'm already a fan and the love triangle sounds so expertly written. I don't hate love triangles, but I prefer them to be believable and conflict my poor, tortured heart and this sounds like it fits the bill perfectly. Amazing review, Asher!

Asher_Knight said...

It was. Lots of action. A great set of characters. And sexy triangular romance ;)

Asher_Knight said...

I'm so pleased to help you dispel the notion. *lol* Nah, inititally, I feared instaluv or a terrible love triangle romance, but the romance left me agonized. And Nikki is anything but weak-willed.

Asher_Knight said...

I think a lot of people will like Nikki. She struggles with herself and her what's best for, whether should she get anymore involved with these Halflings and their otherworldly issues, but she manages to be awesome even in turmoil. I liked that she's unique as well. An artist and a scientist. A dreamer and a realist all rolled up into one.

Asher_Knight said...

YES. The characters, above all, made this story for me. WAIT until you meet Raven, Mace, and Vine. Zero was cool too. Among other great characters. And Vine may or may not be stopping by the blog soon ;) *hint hint*

Asher_Knight said...

YAY. I've been the same. I read one review a couple of months ago and I was intrigued by these brood of guys sworn to protect Nikki. And boy, did they impress me. I'm so excited for you!

The love triangle is agonizing all alright. And Nikki is just such a cool MC!

Thank you <33

Heather Burch said...

Thaks for a beautiful review of Halflings! And thanks for loving Nikki and her lost boys.

Asher_Knight said...

Oh, Heather, it was my absolute pleasure. You really did all the work ;)

Jenny said...

I had so much fun reading this review Asher because I think my reaction was the exact opposite of yours! I always like reading a differing opinion though, it's interesting to see what works for some people and how sometimes those exact things don't work for others. Wonderfully thought out review as always, I'm so glad you enjoyed this one:)

Asher_Knight said...

I laughed out loud at your comment, Jenny. It's the way you wrote it and I can imagine you saying it in person and I just found it so funny. Oh, noes, so sad that you didn't enjoy this one! :(

I'm so reading the sequel and am a big fan, but, I'm curious, what were your thoughts in a nutshell?

Krista Ritchie said...

I really wasn't planning on reading this book, but after your review I'm about to go to amazon right now! Literally, it sounds amazing!! I love that the characters are fleshed out. That's one of my biggest issues with books is when the characters are one dimensional. I think the cover threw me off at first, really, but I'm not going to let it dissuade me now!! Great review! new follower :)

Asher_Knight said...

Hey, Krista, welcome! Honestly, what drew me in was the rumors about these Lost Boys. And yeah, the cover totally put me off for a while (I'm an unapologetic cover slut). But, for me, this had everything I wanted. Characters I could love a lot. And it's not just because the guys are gorgeous, it's because I have an easier time connecting to guys and wanting to be close to them and soothe him and befriend them. I felt that here. I really hope you like it!

Mimi Valentine said...

LOOOOOL! I love the first line of your review, Asher! <3 I wasn't so sure about reading this book because of so many mixed reviews, but you have me sold on this one! Any author who can be compared to Cynthia Hand's genius is one that I definitely need to read from! And it makes me smile that the whole cast is that awesome because great characters are always a turn-on for me! ;)

Scratch out my first statement: I love your ENTIRE review, Asher!! Thank you so much for getting me excited about this book! :) <3

Liz. R said...

So...I've added this to my to-read list on Goodreads. You have me convinced. I probably wouldn't have read this one, but your review has swayed me. I usually am not an angel book person either (unless it's Cynthia Hand). I'm also a character girl. I don't like Twilight, but since you've assured us that Nikki is not Bella, I'm now a whole lot more intrigued by Halflings! Great review, thank you :).

Asher_Knight said...

It's enthusiasm like yours that makes me nervous, Mimi. All I can keep thinking is, OH. EM. GAWD. What if she hates it? What do I do then? She'll never trust my judgement again? *sobs*

*lol* Just kidding. This one worked for me, because of the characters. There was just something about them that drew me in, made me like them, and I had to keep reading for them.

Asher_Knight said...

Some people will no doubt hate it. Others will love it. I loved it and I would love it if you did too. I loved the characters too and I was interested, for once, in the angel lore. I definitely want everyone to at least try this book! xD

Sara Kovach said...

INteresting!!!  I am almost done reading this one now.  Funny thing, a note I wrote to myself - very well thought out, vivid characters - great descriptions.  I never considered myself a lover or a hater of angel novels, but I have only read a few.  The few that I have read, I have really enjoyed.  I guess I am going toward the side of loving them.  

Asher_Knight said...

*lol* Great minds often think alike.

Erica said...

This one looks so great - I really want to read it now :)

Allison said...

crap. I've always been in the NO ANGEL BOOKS other than Cynthia Hand club too. Now you've gone and convinced me I need to try this one as well.

Asher_Knight said...

The guys were just so great. I'd love to have the chance to hang out with any one of them.

Asher_Knight said...

YAY. I love it when I turn others onto something fun and awesome to read. I hope you enjoy! There's a contest going on right now :)

Grant Jobkar said...

Hi Asher,

Thanks for posting a review for Halflings!

I wanted to invite you to The Halflings Network: a place where fans can talk about the book, chat with author Heather Burch, enter giveaways, and get updates on the next book in the series. We also have a free illustrated eBook prequel that I think you'd really enjoy. Feel free to check it out at Halflings.ning.com.

Thanks again for your great review, we really appreciate it!