Halflings is another “angel” book out right now. I didn’t understand at first why so many readers were ambivalent about this very specific type of YA/Fantasy, but I think I finally comprehend their concerns a little bit better now…
Book Review: Halflings by Heather Burch
Title & Author: Halflings by Heather Burch
Genre: YA – Fantasy (Angels)
Release Date: February 1, 2012
Series: 1st in plannes series (Halflings #1)
Publisher: Zondervan Publishing
How I Got the Book: ARC via NetGalley
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..”
Halflings at Half-Potential
There wasn’t anything inherently bad about Halflings – in fact there were a handful of things I really liked about this angel-filled book. But the main problem with this novel was its missed potential.
With a slew of angel books out on the market (Unearthly, Hush, Hush, Fallen, A Beautiful Dark, etc.), Halflings needed to define itself apart from the pack. Granted, I don’t have a ton of angel-type books to compare it too, but knowing about the “hooks” for all of the novels can tell you a lot by itself.
Halfling’s premise: Nikki is the hot human that Mace, Raven and Vine have been assigned to protect. Born as a result of fallen angels mating with humans, the boys are Halflings – neither fully human nor fully angel. They have no rights to enter heaven, but hope to redeem themselves by protecting Earth’s inhabitants.
While I liked the whole, halfsie angel/human spin, the execution was just OK. As you might have guessed from learning in the book description that Nikki has TWO love interests, there is instalove out the ying yang. But, for once, I didn’t waffle about who’s side to be on. IT WAS OBVIOUS, and I honestly think the other guy is thrown in just to “keep things interesting.”
Halflings references and sites the actual Bible several times throughout the book. Faith, praying and choosing between what’s right and what’s easy are prevalent themes in the novel. The problem is that the very existence of the Halflings didn’t sit well with me because it seemed to contradict what the whole Bible is about.
Now, I know religion is a dicey topic for some people, so please understand that what I’m about to talk about is the basis for the storyline in Halflings. Using a highly recognizable and dominant faith in a book and twisting it a bit was a risk that Burch took, and I wonder if it was the right one.
At one point in the book, Mace says that “even humans have a covenant with God,” (i.e. Jesus and the promise of the cross) yet Halflings were doomed to serve humans and to try to make up for the sins of their fathers AND not even be guaranteed heaven in the end.
The problem with this is: Why would the God they serve in the book forgive humans of their wrongs YET not forgive his wrongs that the Halflings’ fathers committed (not even their sins)? It just doesn’t work for me. Other readers may not have a problem with this fallacy, but as someone who has a very strong faith, it irritated me to no end.
For me, Halflings wasn’t amazing but it wasn’t bad either. While I wanted to enjoy the book’s unique take on angels, I couldn’t get past the confusing love triangle, the instalove and the doctrinal inconsistencies in the novel. I would still recommend that readers try Halflings, as some of the issues I had with it may not bother most people in general.
What angel book like Halflings have you loved OR hated??