I read Halflings by Heather Burch as part of the 2012 Debut Author Challenge.
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.
When it comes to supernatural fiction I’m finding that I’m more interested in angels instead of vampires. I have nothing against vampires or the vampire trend in YA fiction, but I just never got that excited about it (except for Vladimir Tod; he’s pretty cool!). I just think that angels are infinitely more intriguing. That being said, I think this book had a lot of potential.
Anyways, Halflings by Heather Burch is centered around three halfling angels and Nikki, the girl they’re sent to protect. Nikki is a confusing character, sometimes she’s incredibly vulnerable and embracing the whole damsel-in-distress persona and the next minute she’s a stubborn, prideful girl who just can’t let herself be seen as weak. I didn’t dislike Nikki, I just didn’t get a good grasp on who she was as a character. She does however have her own interests (i.e. painting, karate, motorcycles) which is so refreshing to see, even if we only catch glimpses of these other sides to Nikki.
So, there is a love triangle and its very simplified. One boy is the good angel on Nikki’s shoulder and the other is the devil on her other shoulder; one halfling is moral, the other is edgier. Mace and Raven are much too stereotyped to be interesting, although I wanted to be as mystified by them as Nikki was.
The only two characters who I was actually interested in were Vine, the third halfling, and Vessler the sketchy friend of Nikki’s parents. Vine seems like a side character who would actually make a more interesting main character. I was disappointed when he wasn’t in a scene; he was the only one of the halflings who had any real life to him. Also, Vessler. Who is he? What is his story and is he good or bad; you’re still not too sure even at the end of Halflings.
I really wanted to like Halflings but I didn’t. I just wasn’t impressed. But if you’ve been wanting to read this one you should give it a try, just because I’m not a fan of a particular book, doesn’t mean everyone will feel the same way. I just felt like The conversation was a little clichéd and the story ends pretty anticlimactically. However, I do think some of my students would enjoy this book, as they love supernatural fiction. So, all in all I think middle school aged readers would enjoy Halflings, even though it wasn’t my cup of tea.
Author: Heather Burch
Publisher: Zonderkids (January 17, 2012)
Format: E-book (ARC from NetGalley)
Length: 288 pages
Series: First in a series
YA/MG: Middle Grades
Buy the Book: Halflings (A Halflings Novel)