My long-lost critique partner Liz Colter has published her novel from those dreamy days, and her final project is worth reading. “A sweeping story of love and war, prejudice and acceptance”: The Halfblood War lives up to its tagline.
The Halfblood War rotates between many points of view: Tirren the crown prince of Thiery, Chayan his half-Elven son, brave warrior Shen, invading enemy leader Maradon, wise visiting half-Elf Dashara, Chayan’s Elven mother and the Elven Queen. I really got into all their heads; thus the conflicts become not just a battle of swords, horses and magic, but also passions, compassions and ambitions. Without getting into the mopey POV some over-emotive authors wallow in.
The swords, horses and magic are also superbly done; Ms. Colter seems quite informed about the first two, and the magic neither unbalances the conflict nor detracts from the near-historical realism. The suspense never flags; the outcome is never certain.
At the center of the whirl of conflict is Chayan. Destined to someday rule a country that abhors all things Elven. The ruler, his grandfather, adores him yet remains bitter that an Elf seduced his son and threw the succession into a mess (complex, conflicting emotions!). As the story begins he’s just coming of age, so we seen him more often from the eyes of others. Will he create his own destiny? You’ll see.
A minor thing that I ruminated over at the end was that there weren’t that many people in this country. Is the human race really at stake, or is there a continent overseas with a lot more people? But again, that’s me overthinking rather than a real problem with the novel.
Another thing that threw me that I can fix for you right now: starting the novel with a half-elf I thought D&D thus human-like Tolkien Elves. These Elves are more like the Fairie of Celtic myth, godlike from another dimension. Sadly, in a culture where Disney outranks Shakespeare, “fairy” evokes Tinkerbell rather than Titania, so “Elf” it must be. But expect high magic.