Halith by Kirsten Kelly
Halith presents the fantastical world of Aessyra where prophesy tells of an evil brewing and only 'the One' can stop it. Halith's journey begins when she steals away from an impending marriage, deemed by her uncle to be a good match. in a fit of passion, she runs away in the deep of night, with nothing to her name, and is soon transformed from a scared 16 year old girl to a young warrior ready to answer her fate. In the beginning, Halith embraces her new adventurous lifestyle focusing on fighting battles, learning the trades of the Dwarves, and drinking and making merriment in local taverns.
Soon; however, Halith's true test of maturity comes when the Great War finally breaks out across Aessyra. The Haddu, a coalition of Orcs, trolls, and others faithful to a demonic religion, are swarming over the land, seeking to usher in the Third Darkness. Halith must grapple with challenges within and without as she dodges assassins, endures the betrayal of those closest to her, and tries to make sense of her so-called "destiny."
Available on Amazon.com: Halith
Can one ever recall the very moment when the first step of destiny was taken? Retrospect can make this possible; or in 462 BC, the aid of a powerful relic can bring the needed clarity. However, for Halíth, it might have been but a slip of the tongue; a fleeting lack of sensibility…
Or one Bitter Black ale too many…
Sixteen-year-old Halíth, known by her friends and comrades as stubborn and reckless, rarely listens. Choosing joy and youth, she tends to delve into her wellspring of purity for her own brand of truth. Often she closes her ears to whispers of destiny, even when they speak her name. In a fit of passion, she runs away in the deep of night, with nothing to her name, to a place she can barely recall the way to: Nordanshire Abbey. There, she hopes to reunite with only woman she has known as a caring mother figure: Mother Superior Almara. Yet, her idyllic fancy of a peaceful hamlet life is dashed. In a harrowing incident, young Halíth discovers that bandits have invaded her holy land. The world, as she knew it, would be forever altered, and Haleth is the key for her land's survival!
Kirsten Kelly’s debut novel, Halith, chronicles the titular heroine’s self-discovery as she grows from a scared sixteen-year-old to a skilled warrior. In a world on the brink of war, peopled with dwarves, griffons, goblins, mages, Minotaurs, Orcs, and elves, the protagonist negotiates friends and foes as she grapples with her prophesied destiny.
Kelly creates characters that possess both literal and figurative strength. They leap off the pages, slaying enemies with ease while remaining emotionally stalwart. Halith is the most differentiated character among the heroes; she is clearly motivated by twin urges to fight and to find herself, and her impetuousness and anger remain constant throughout the novel. The protagonist’s allies all evince similar traits, even as Kelly tries to illustrate their individuality. The evil characters, though, have shades of nuance. There are some supposed evil characters who save Halith, and some good characters who reveal their dastardly ways.
The breadth of fantastical elements in this story represents both a strength and a weakness. On the plus side, Kelly knits these facets together well, but there are so many pieces that some remain underdeveloped or unclear. For example, magic works in different ways that are never fully explained; sometimes spells hinder the heroes, and other times the mages are able to overcome the opposing spells with no trouble. Additionally, Kelly never fully explains the Dwarvish language or the relationships among all the gods the humans worship. This lack of detail is a pity, because the author’s
unique take on fantastical conventions elevates Halith above the pedestrian. Also distracting is Kelly’s tendency to remind the reader of an important object only when the time comes for the thing to perform its function. With so much happening in the novel, important objects should be alluded to regularly to remind readers of their existence.
The novel’s constant action encourages readers to keep turning the pages, but readers may want more information about Halith’s pre-warrior days. Kelly’s diction changes occasionally; most of the time the characters speak in an ancient, almost Scottish, dialect, using words like nay, aye, and lass. But periodically, a character will say okay or wonky, which confuses the audience.
Women and young adults will delight in the assertive girls who exist within these pages. Kelly’s descriptive abilities and narrative force will make it possible for most readers to ignore her missteps. They will root for Halith on her quest, all the way to the unexpected conclusion.
Jill Allen - Clarion Review
ABOUT THE AUDIENCE
The novel is a coming of age story, with a strong female character and will attract young readers and women. Anyone interested in the ever popular role playing MMORPG gaming will also be drawn to its epic like nature and individual quests and side storylines. Similar works are The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings (Tolkien), The Mists of Avalon (Zimmer-Bradley), and the later books of the Harry Potter series (Rowling).
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kirsten Kelly lives in Miami, Florida where she enjoys kayaking, fishing, and travel. Like her characters, she lives for good friends, good food, and the next adventure.
Published by PCW Books - PCW Books is dedicated to publishing the best up and coming fantasy writers in the United States. Our offerings and suggested readings range from quest adventures and epic world-building novels to unique stories based in the modern world filled with magic and enchantment.