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Book Review: Halflings by Heather Burch

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

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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

Description:

“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..”

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.”

Inconsistencies

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.

OVERALL:

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??

About Lisa Parkin

I'm a hardcore lover of young adult fiction and have been reviewing books since 2011. Other interests include Downton Abbey, heat lightning storms, Harry Potter land and (begrudingly) one orange tabby.
  • http://ems-reviews-books.blogspot.com/ Ems

    I have a galley of this and I’m seriously rethinking my choice. I’ve seriously disliked most of the angel books I’ve read (with Unearthly/Hallowed being the exceptions), and this sounds like the exact reason why. I hate it when books are full of doctrinal inconsistencies, even when I’m not a member of the religion talked about. Is it really so hard to do a little research and make sure that your ‘quotes’ are in the right context!? yeesh.

    I may or may not do this one. We shall see.

    Thanks for a great review!

  • Wendy Ewurum

    Why even quote the Bible or Koran or whatever when creating a fictional tale. that is just wrong on so many levels. I would definitely not pick this one up. I have a real problem with the fallen angel sleeping with humans theme anyway because even that is just doctrinally incorrect to me. I’m reading my first Angel books (paradox series) and I try to be unprejudiced about it in my reviews but I took the decision that it would be my first and last. Its just hard to not get upset when the basis for your beliefs come into it and they are misrepresented. Longwinded I know…sorry LOL

  • Bookishlilly

    You know I don’t really do angel books and with the exception of Unearthly and Hallowed (which I am reading now), I have not read any. I’m a Christian and while I don’t have an issue reading about vamps and werewolves, which I know are not real, I have an issue reading about fallen angels and romance. It makes me uncomfortable. That being said, I was excited to read Halflings because it’s by a Christian author and a Christian publisher.

    I have this from NetGalley and intend to review it. I’m dissapointed that to see that there are inconsistencies with scripture. I love how you broke down your review, Lisa. I’ll let you know what I think after I’m done with it.
    NC
    Truly Bookish

  • http://twitter.com/ArtemisMS Bridget

    Another love triangle? ANOTHER one? Thanks for the heads up. I will definitely NOT be picking this one up.

    The last person I read who did angels right: Philip Pullman.

  • http://twitter.com/catherinekeaton Cathy Keaton

    I read this only last week, and I agree that it has a lot of untapped potential. I did like Raven as a character, and Damon, but the ending was so abrupt, it seemed weird and contrived. I didn’t mind all the religious doctrine stuff since everybody just interprets the Bible in their own way. Who can say anyone is wrong, since everyone justifies their way of seeing things? So, I didn’t worry about that.

    I might actually want to read the next book just to see what Damon wanted with Nikki. I thought we’d find out in this book, but we didn’t.

  • http://twitter.com/MelLHay Melissa

    Hmmm, I really like the angel idea, but haven’t read many either. Thanks for the wonderful honest review of this new book. :)

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