In celebration of Jaye L. Knight’s release of Half-Blood, I am devoting a grand total of three posts to this marvelous book. This is the second of those posts, and in it I proclaim my dedicated review for this masterpiece.
Half-Blood. What does one say after finishing such a book? How long must one devote to emotional recovery? I liked Half-Blood. I don’t think I liked it quite as much as Resistance and The King’s Scrolls, but it’s different – it has a different feel, different length, different purpose. Yet it has a very continuous feel to it; it flows with the other books very well.
I particularly liked reading a whole book from Jace’s point of view. I felt like I couldn’t connect with and understand Jace like I wanted to in Resistance, and I realized that part of the reason is that we don’t get to be “inside his mind” for most of the book like we do for the others. Half-Blood provided an excellent background in seeing from his perspective and truly understanding who he is, how he thinks, and what drives him. In Resistance, we don’t get to read from Jace’s perspective until a good way in. But in Half-Blood, we get Jace’s perspective from the first line straight through to the last line. We get inside of his head. We get to know what he’s been through and what motivates him—why he acts as he does. In Resistance we’re introduced to a quiet, hurting young man who’s wrapped up in his shell. We view him with Rayad’s eyes, with Kyrin’s eyes, with Holden’s eyes, with Rebekah’s eyes and Laytan’s eyes and Trask’s eyes and Lady Anne’s eyes. But in Half Blood, we view him through his heart and soul. Yes, he does have a soul. Every action and reaction of his proves it.
The book was shorter than the others, but not so short that it left me unsatisfied and wanting more too badly. Much of it was painful. But the threads of hope that begin to weave themselves into Jace’s life provide a satisfying story line and deeper insight into what Elom is doing in his life.
One of its strongest points is that it tied into Resistance most excellently. I was riveted from the moment I knew that the two books had begun to intersect, and that continued through to the end. Jaye structured this part of the book very well.
The book didn’t make me cry. The King’s Scrolls does a much better job as far as that goes…but that’s because it’s on such a different level. The pain and emotion and hurt in TKS is different, and in a sense, deeper. It touches something that could make me cry. Half-Blood, on the other hand, is full of physical pain and slavery and mistreatment in daily life. It’s awful. It’s a very uncomfortable story to read. But it’s not a crying kind of book for me. Still, during one particular scene especially, I was right there feeling the pain, hurt, and loss with Jace.
As an advisory, this is a tough story. It’s not for the faint of heart. It’s not for children. Although Jaye doesn’t linger on the rough details of the violence, pain, and loss that Jace suffers and handles this far better than any other portrayal I’ve read regarding such topics, it’s there. Also, I would not recommend reading this book before reading Resistance. With the perspective of Resistance, the story of Half-Blood is bearable and greatly enlightening. I would recommend it highly to fans of Resistance.
Character development was excellent and lays the foundation for the development in the other Ilyon books. Because Half-Blood focuses solely on Jace and his character, there is a lot of depth here that we wouldn’t be able to get in a larger, more complex story with more characters, plots, sub-plots, and dangers. I also greatly enjoyed the character portrayal of Rayad in this story. In Resistance, we see through his eyes. Now we see him from the other viewpoint and we appreciate him that much more.
The setting is very realistic. You can feel that you’re in Ilyon, and you know it. The emotion and dialogue were also well done. I could hear Jace in this book in a much more clear way than I could in Resistance—probably because I had no context in Resistance to guide the sound of his voice. I heard only a silent, moody, pained, hurting young man, which was hard to hear without context. Now I hear his heart, his fears, his struggles, and who he is.
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