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Halflings by Heather Burch – Book Review

You can find Halflings at your local bookstore or online retailer.

This book starts up with action from the start. Opening in a forest, with the moon high in the sky, Nikki Youngblood, a teenager girl, is being chased by hell hounds – wolves released right from that very special place with a sole intent to destroy her. 

While her midnight ordeal is stopped by three Halflings sent to help her, the fight between heaven and hell doesn’t end there. The book follows her as a group of supernatural teenage boys sent to protect her work hard on finding out why so much evil is after her. 

In the process of being protected by the half-angel, half-human boys, she falls madly in love with two of them, Mace and Raven. Then spends a good majority of the book pondering over which one she could have, but the solemn truth reigns that she can’t have either. Humans and Halflings aren’t meant to fall in love.

Stemmed from a controversial Bible verse (Genesis 6:2) there is no doubt that very many people are going to have trouble agreeing with the theology that Burch presents in this book. The fictional concept that Burch offers follows along the lines of this:

The children of the Sons of God and daughters of men were called Halflings. It appears that the Sons of God were fallen angels that decided to take for themselves human wives. Thus the Halflings, due to their origins, are to a certain extent unredeemable. They can neither live in heaven nor on earth nor in hell. 

Because of their inability to be saved they therefore spend their lives helping and protecting humans. They travel from spirit to physical realm by something called the spirit plain (or…something like that. I’ve forgotten the name, haha) and then ‘magically’ show up where they are needed as per the Throne’s orders.

If you’re wondering which side they fight for, it’s the good side…well, usually. Halflings can ‘fall’ and turn to serving Satan, however, they are born serving God. Which is, evidently, God’s mercy for them even though they come from a line of fallen angels. 

However, rebellion flows through their blood and Halflings can have a hard time staying on track. To add to their troubles, they can’t actually hear directly from ‘The Throne’ but are instead dependent upon information from an angel in exile. 

Now, that’s the really broken down version of Miss Burch’s theology, I’m sure there is more to it, but that would be the bare bones. 

Negative Content:

The violence in this book ranges from gaping leg wounds to rotting flesh. At one point Nikki is brought into a battle by Raven where she proceeded to kill a hellhound by repeatedly beating it with a rock. 

While I don’t feel the gore in this book was graphic or frightening (at least not to me) I can see how it can be disconcerting to anybody with potentially squeamish dispositions. Be warned that you’re going to be reading about killing, blood, and other various things if you pick up this book. 

Physical touch is explained in a spiritual way. To clarify, Nikki feels attraction to Mace when she originally meets him due to his half-angel essence. Being supernatural makes him a relaxing and calming person to be around, this is touched up on multiple times. 

After so long, the various descriptions of Nikki’s reactions to the three brothers grew slightly monotonous and I started skipping over them. I think it could have been done a bit more ambiguously without having to pause every few paragraphs. 

As I’ve already mentioned, the theology can be sketchy here seeing as it was based off of a relatively controversial Bible verse. Because of this it’s probably best to be prepared to have a lot of points in the books question your own personal convictions. I didn’t agree with a good amount of the theology presented, but that’s mainly because a lot of it isn’t commonly preached-on concepts. However, I don’t think anything was presented that, personally, made me feel extreme unease.

Finally, there is a love triangle in this book. 

*NOTE: this next part can sort of be considered a spoiler so skip it if you wish.

Originally, Nikki falls in love with Mace, but towards the middle of the book she begins to fall for Raven as well. Though her senses tell her both boys are dangerous, she continues to seek after them. When the book ends, she is torn between which one she should pick, but feels like she still ‘loves’ both of them.

I think the love triangle was a bit too much like Twilight for me – this coming from someone who hasn’t read the books, mind you – and it could have been done just a bit more tactfully. Nikki seemed to swing from boy to boy towards the end without warning, whereas in the beginning she appeared to be relatively loyal to one of them. 

Positive Content:

This book is written from a Christian perspective and it’s modern fiction, so it presents God as a fact as well as makes multiple references to the Bible. Nikki isn’t a Christian (she refers to herself as ‘realist’), but still seems to accept Christianity as a religion generally easily. Then again…having half-angel, half-human boys, and an angel in exile standing in front of you would probably make you believe God exists too.

Nikki shows perseverance, being willing to fight against hell. She also shows bravery and sacrificial acts by wanting to protect the Halflings, her friends, and her parents. 

The Halflings show chivalry as well by protecting Nikki. Mace shows loyalty and makes promises which he keeps, regardless of the situation.  

Nikki keeps everything that is happening a secret, and refrains from telling even her parents. However, the lack of sharing between daughter and parents is portrayed as a stumbling block and frowned upon. In the end, it actually results in a major consequence. 

Nikki’s science teacher displays a good example of a kind adult. He offers to help her when he notices she seems to be struggling with something and repeatedly shows polite and kind behavior.

To note, as I mentioned, this book is written by a Christian author. Therefore, there are sprinkled morals throughout the story (I would list them all, but I think I’ll leave them for you to discover if you read the book) that reflect a Christian worldview. 

Conclusion:

Heather Burch pulls together a lot of aspects of Twlight in an attempt to write the same forbidden love, teenage fandom inducing book that has been buzzing about in movies, but with a Christian’s perspective. 

While I don’t think Halflings is going to rise up to my favorite books list anytime soon, I can see Burch’s reasoning for writing the book in the way she did. That said, if you’re dying to read Twilight, but are hesitant because of the vampires and werewolves and are really only interested in forbidden love and various love triangles… You’d probably like this book.

-Bethany Faith

 
 

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100 Theme Challenge: Day 11

Theme: Seeking Solace

We Are…

So lost are we are in a world with no hope. We seem to go by slowly, day by day, merely hoping to make it through another dark night. Like wandering we stars, we never feel like we have found home and seem to be unsheltered, exposed to all the rain that pours into our lives. Never do we feel full, always hungry and thirsty. Cold and sick of the world we were not made for. We are all strange, all odd and different. None are like us, nobody understands us. Here we are in our worlds of sadness, depression, and confusion. So lost we are. Seeking solace from the only One we know who can comfort us.

 

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100 Theme Challenge: Day 10

Theme: Judgement

Judgement

Seeking justice in a court,
Seeking judgement from the law,
Searching for the payment,
For debts not payed,
Lives not meant to be taken.

Searching for solace in a room,
Searching for hope in an empty life,
Hoping they will be fair,
To those who took your dear,
Little girl from your arms.

Praying for retribution,
Praying for revenge in the court,
Hoping the jury will find,
Him guilty and worthy,
Of the darkest of all judgements.

 
 

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100 Theme Challenge: Day 9

Theme: Running Away

The Monster

A monster. It stared up at me through large, brown eyes. Fur covered its face and two canine teeth stuck out of its mouth. The pure white teeth stained with bright, red liquid. Tears welled in its eyes and made them glossy. It stared at me for a moment before the first droplet slipped from its eyes, ran down a strand of fur and fell down. The tear dropped into the water, rippling my own reflection.

I was the monster.

Shocked at my realization, I scrambled from the place where I kneeled at the pond’s edge. Quickly standing on two legs, though my appearance would suggest I should be walking on four.

I looked around for a moment at the serene forest. Everything was calm and peaceful as if it were all meant to be there. But me.

Then I turned into the thickest part of the forest where the darkest beasts stayed and I ran.

 

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From Before Fiction

As much as I don’t like admitting it, I was not always a fiction writer. Before I was a fiction writer I was a ramble writer; I was a prayer writer, a theological writer. I was a “Quite solemnly, this is how the world is. Quite miraculously, this is how God is. Quite simply, this is what I write about” kind of writer. And my journals are filled with the living proof of this…seriously, wanna see?

You can’t see, by the way, I was joking. Totally joking…really…stop jumping up and down… Calm… Stay calm.

But you do get a snippet, because, admittedly, I hang onto my theological writing roots. And, when I spend the occasional three hours in the middle of the afternoon, listening to my iPod and sitting by a window with a book and pen in my hand/lap, well…I’m going to write. Because that’s what I do. I write. And this is what I wrote.

—–

Pain in a world of so much darkness. Tears in a place of so much death. Confusion in a land where so many are lost. Why do we not seek Him?

Cries in the long nights. Screams in the possessed soul. Holes in the empty life. Breaths of fear in a world of ice. Why do we not call upon Him?

Prayers from a chosen few. Clasped hands torn apart by raging wars. Gunshots to peaceful people’s hearts. Broken bones and silent sobs. Why do we think He will not answer?

Eyes seen all that causes pain. Lives ruined by past and present. Anger, controlling, like a master that cannot be escaped. The beauty of words, defaced to the repulsiveness of lies. Why do we not let Him save us?

Whispers in dreams. Nightmares in tormented minds. Forgotten reminders. Why do we not ask for His comforting arms, His love, and His refuge?

The final yell of a failing child. The last tear of a wandering father. The eyes that overflow with the emotions of a beaten daughter. The Hope that waits patiently for all of them to come and be held.

——

Bethany Faith

 
 

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100 Theme Challenge: Day 3

Theme: Eternity
Life For Eternity

Some debate that there is no point,
In doing good in life.
Some may say it’s a waste of time,
To fight for what is right.
Because when we breath our last,
It’s the ending of the past.
No future shall come after that.

But what if I am right,
And others before me?
What if for what I fight,
Is a reason greatly worthy?
Because when we breath our last,
It becomes merely a pass,
Into a greater universe.

So what if there is life,
Beyond this empty hole?
What if this world we live in,
Doesn’t have to be all that we know?
Then when you breath last,
Just let me simply ask,
Would you like to have that pass?

“And if there isn’t a great place,
To go when we are done?
Then what’s the point of fighting now,
When we can just have fun?”
Would you take that chance,
Because you cannot see,
Proof of what we can?
Life for eternity.

 

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It’s Not You, It’s Me

Due to my inability to focus long enough to write a short story recently, I seem to be writing a lot of poems. Hopefully you don’t mind, besides, the less time I spend on short stories, the longer I spend on my next book. 😉 Anyways, here’s a short, little poem I wrote sometime last weekend and edited a bit:

It is not by your strength, but mine that you stand.
It is not by your lungs, but mine that you breath.
It is by me that armies are damned.
It is by my eyes that you shall see.
It is not your tears, but my cries that are heard.
It is not your hope, but my love that you feel.
It is by my wonders you are cured.
It is my power that you shall wield.
It’s not by your friends that you are comforted,
but it is me that whispers hope and your name.
Not you that speaks what is rightly said,
but it is I whom makes your words tame.
It’s not you who lives, but I, who lives in you.
Not human power, but I, who is your fuel.

Bethany Faith

 
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Posted by on September 4, 2011 in Journal Entries, Non-Fiction, Poetry

 

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