Saturday, January 28, 2012

ARC Review: Halflings by Heather Burch

Published Date: January 17th, 2012
Finished Date: January 26th, 2012
Publisher: Zondervan Publishing/Zonderkidz 

Format: eARC via Netgalley
Series: Halflings #1
My Rating: 1/5

Blurb from Goodreads:
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.

My Review

I didn't enjoy HALFLINGS. There, I said it. I'll try to keep this review short and as objective as I can.

My Brief Summary

Nicole "Nikki" Youngblood is an artist who has a black belt in karate. She's a T-shirt and jeans kind of girl, and one who doesn't like to dress up much. She was in the woods one day when she was attacked by hellhounds. Therein enters our three heroes: Mace, Raven, and Vine - Halflings with a mission to protect our young damsel in distress.

Halflings and humans can never have a relationship, or the halfling in the equation will have to risk eternal damnation. But the moment Mace and Raven looks at Nikki, there's something about her that attracts them, and with the devils in hell targeting her, Nikki's in for a lot of trouble, drama, and heartache.

My Thoughts

Nikki didn't really make an impression on me; She's a very typical YA heroine who's apparently so beautiful that she looks like an angel, but obviously is too oblivious to know it herself. She is also very stubborn, so much so that she demands to know some answers when it's not her place to know, and when the truth gets too much, she says stop. Let me say this out front that I don't like impossibly gorgeous heroines who are overly-obstinate.

She and Mace were the first ones to confess their feelings for each other, but when Raven turns on his charm and brings her to a forest in Arkansas to teach her how to fend for herself, she ends up flirting with him. Another reason why I didn't like her.

Now comes our two love interests, Mace and Raven. Mace is the serious, stick-to-the-rules kind of person who started going against said rules to be with and protect Nikki. Nothing very special, actually, apart from his stunning looks, that is.

Raven. He is the brooding type of males, who is the most experienced of the three halflings sent to protect Nikki, and the one with the most inner-demons to contend with. I was actually rooting for him for the most part of the first half of the book which I read, and after some time when there was evidently going to be minimal action scenes, he was my motivation to forge on reading. I wanted to see him fight Mace for Nikki - not literally, of course - and I want to see him in action in all his lean, graceful glory. (Ok, I'm the fairytale type of girl, what are you gonna do about it?) But the part where I stopped, at the 70% mark, Raven did something that turned me off big time. When Nikki and her pet dog were again attacked by hellhounds and a demon, Mace, Raven and Vine swooped in to save her in the nick of time, but after the imminent danger was over, Raven carried Megan over to a hill and since this is the first time Megan's seeing them with their wings, he asks her what she thinks of it. I mean, seriously? Her dog lay dying in the forest and she's probably in some kind of post-traumatic stress and all he can think about is impressing her with his wings? This is really the epitome of self-centeredness. One thing I cannot stand is arroant, selfish men, and so when I reached this part, there was obviously not much action to keep the adrenaline-junky in me satisfied, and since I couldn't stomach Raven any further, the book was immediately sent flying into the DNF pile.

Burch's writing style is a little confusing. There was a lot of bandwagon jumping, and most of the time, her jumps were big leaps and then there will be a random revelation somewhere without showing the process of how the subject person got to his/her conclusion. For example, one minute Nikki still thinks the three halflings were human, and suddenly she bursts into their house and goes all, "I know what you are. Don't deny it! You're angels." Yep, perfectly sane and normal. And there was this other part where a student was quarrelling with a teacher and when the discussion got heated, the student pulls out a knife and almost killed said teacher. Raven moves with inhuman speed and grace toward the scene and knocks the knife out of the student's hand and voilà! The day is saved, and only Nikki was there to witness the unnatural phenomenon that was Raven. There is so much wrong in that one scene that I rolled my eyes like probably more than a dozen times.

Other than that, there were the multiple cheesy romance scenes in here, more so than the number of fight scenes, as can be seen from my summary that romance takes precedence over action in HALFLINGS. Another weird thing is that Nikki's parents somehow disappeared after the quarter mark, and Nikki somehow could do whatever she liked like storming into someone else's house and proclaiming that they're angels.

However, the two things that I liked about HALFLINGS was firstly, how Burch described Mace's and Raven's relationship with Nikki. Mace "embraced her destiny, saw her as a future warrior, and swore to see her through"; Raven was "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." There's a subtle difference, and one that makes their feelings for her unique from each other.

The other thing was Vine. He is one of the main characters, but more a younger brother persona. He's a little immature, but when it somes to morals, this guy's the one that has the most. And when it comes to fighting and looks, he doesn't lose out to Mace or Raven either. He's fun, and he keeps the tension out whenever Raven quarrels with Mace or Will, their caretaker.

All in all, HALFLINGS isn't the book for me. It has been quite a while since I've chucked a book into my DNF pile. The feeling's not great, but things just has to be done. I am a fan of love triangles, but in this case, it just didn't work for me.

*eARC courtesy of Zondervan Publishing via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*

Random Musings - which you will not get if you haven't read the book:

Y'know that part where Nikki and Mace went to that burning building? The one where Nikki was sketching out the building using this artist's technique by drawing in the negative spaces to see a picture? That one was just plain confusing to me. You don't have to draw out a building to see that it's ON FIRE. And you certainly don't need a sketch to see that THERE IS A PERSON DYING ON THE FLOOR in the burning building. The idea was cool, but not properly utilized.

My Rating


  1. It seems that the author has gone for the insta-love and love triangle approach. *sigh* I was really looking forward to this! I feel like I won't like any of the characters nor the obvious similarities between this & 90% of YA PNR books out there. Thank you for your honest thoughts :D

    1. But there seems to be a lot more 4 and 5 stars reviews on Goodreads though, so maybe you'll like it? I feel so mean when I give a 1 star rating..:/

      Thanks and welcome, Shirley! Just went to check out your blog, and it looks awesome!! Very nice and simple design.:)

    2. haha, you know I read two 1star reviews today? And what you both said are pretty much the same and they're exactly the sort of things I tend to avoid in YA books! I've put it under my 'maybe-read shelf;...don't know if I'll read it though :S
      lol, thank you <3

    3. honesty is the best policy
      tnx 4 reviewing

    4. @Shirley: Welcome!:)

      @Roro: Very true, but it still doesn't feel good.:/ Lol. Thanks and welcome, Roro!

  2. The ending half of this book was my favorite, like I said, I honestly could not put it down. I was so attached to everyone at this point that I didn't want to let them go. As I kept flipping the last few pages I kept hoping the page numbers would somehow double because the ending in this book is killer. KILLER I tell you! I don't want to spoil it for anyone out there but be ready to pre-order the second book in this series, because you will HAVE to. After the last page I sat stunned in my chair for a good 20 minutes. I couldn't believe it just ended that way, no doubt Heather Burch knows how to keep her readers hooked. So, if you are asthmatic [like me] make sure to keep your rescue inhaler close because this book is going to take your breath away. This was definitely a great debut book and I will be keeping an eye out for the second to this dazzling series.


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Cyp's Abbreviation Dictionary

DNF = Did Not Finish
HEA = Happily Ever After
PNR = Paranormal Romance
UF = Urban Fantasy
YA = Young Adult

Erotica Reference

BDSM = Bondage/Discipline, Dominant/Submissive, Sadism/Masochism
f/f = female/female
m/f = male/female
m/m = male/male


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