Halflings

In less than two weeks, I’ll be attending the annual conference of the South Carolina Association of School Librarians.  At this gathering of librarians, I’ll be leading a couple of sessions.  One is on blogging in the elementary school library, and the other is a question and answer session with a few YA authors:  Sophie Jordan (Firelight, Vanish, and Hidden), Julie Halpern (Into the Wild Nerd Yonder), and Heather Burch, author of the Halflings series.

I’ll be perfectly honest with you.  Heather Burch wasn’t even on my radar until I heard that she would be attending this year’s SCASL Conference.  When I was asked to facilitate this author panel, I knew, however, that I would need to read at least one of her books to be really effective.  I finally did that this week.  In fact, I finished the first book in her Halflings series about an hour ago.  It was good, but, in a lot of ways, it left more questions unanswered than not.  I guess this is a sure way to get readers to check out the next book.

Nikki Youngblood is in danger, but even she is unsure of just what is after her.  When she’s nearly killed by what can only be described as hellhounds–and she’s rescued by beings she believes to be angels–she comes to realize that the dangers she’s facing are more horrible–and unearthly–than she could have ever imagined.

Nikki wasn’t exactly rescued by angels, however.  The three “boys” she came into contact with are known as Halflings.  They are half-human, half-angel and are considered outcasts in Heaven and on Earth.  These Lost Boys do have a purpose, though.  Mace, Raven, and Vine are on a heavenly journey to protect Nikki–or someone close to her.  But why?  What is so special about this teenage girl?  Why is she now a target of the enemy?  And how can these supernatural beings protect someone who clouds their feelings and has the power to impact their futures?  Mace and Raven, especially, are drawn to Nikki (and Nikki to them), but divine mandate prevents any of them from being together…without truly hellacious results.

As Nikki, Mace, and Raven battle their desires, an unknown evil is penetrating everything around them.  No one is really sure who is behind the terror that is brewing, but Nikki, her Lost Boys, and several other heavenly beings will do everything they can to uncover the truth and fight in the war that’s coming.  What will be lost in the battles ahead?  What will be sacrificed?  And will Nikki and company be able to handle the choices that must be made…and their inevitable consequences?  Begin to unravel the mystery when you read Halflings, the first book in an exciting series by Heather Burch.

If I had to classify this book, it would be young adult Christian fantasy with a bit of mystery and romance thrown in for good measure.  It’s a decent read for those in middle school and beyond who like “angelic” fiction.  As for me, the book was a little frustrating because it left me with so many questions.  I didn’t really have a sense of closure at the end of the book, so I’m hoping that the question and answer session at the SCASL Conference will tie things up a little better for me.

The second book in the Halflings series, Guardian, is already out, and I hope to get around to it soon.  (This probably won’t happen before my conference, though.  I’m being realistic here.)  The third book, Avenger, is due out this April.  For more information about the author and this series, click here.

That’s all for now.  I may edit this post a bit after my conference in a couple of weeks, so stay tuned.  Until then, do you have any burning questions you’d like to ask the YA authors attending this conference?  Let me know in the comments, and I’ll try to get a few answers for you!

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