Advanced Book Review by Mel: Half, by Eli Lang

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Half, by Eli Lang
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Release Date: February 13, 2017

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars4-5-of-5


Living between worlds has never been comfortable, but it’s where I’ve always fit: between human and fey, illness and health, magic and reality.

I’ve spent the last six years looking for a cure for the nameless sickness eating me up. If I believed there was one out there, I would keep searching. But there isn’t, so I’ve come back home, where my past and present tangle. Come home to live . . . and to die.

But my father insists I meet Kin. He’s a healer, and determined to help, even though I’m not so hopeful anymore. But Kin isn’t what I expected, in any way. He sees me, not my illness. He reminds me of what it’s like to be alive. And I can’t help falling for him, even though I know it isn’t fair to either of us.

Kin thinks he has the cure I’ve been looking for, but it’s a cure that will change everything: me, my life, my heart. If I refuse, I could lose Kin. But if I take it, I might lose myself.


M/M Pairing

[See review for more discussion about tags.]

Review by Mel

This book was somehow nothing like I expected. I thought I was getting some cool paranormal romance and that would be all and that would be good. Half is so much more, though. So much so that I think paranormal romance as a genre description is kinda misleading. I mean, it’s all there in the blurb, really. I dunno why I missed it  😉

However, Half definitely is a great romance, and I’ll come to the paranormal aspect in a minute, but what it foremost is is a story about living and loving despite outer circumstances; despite being sick, despite an insecure future, despite dying.

How do you deal with that? If you are the one being sick? If you love someone who is? Do you think you deserve to love someone? Do you think you are selfish? Do you dare to love if you know you will be hurt or will hurt the one you love?

Now imagine there might be a cure. Would you take it? No matter the consequences? No matter what you might lose? Would you decide for your own sake or for the one that you love?

Half is a very quiet book, a slow book, that makes you think and reflect. You’ll feel empathy and you’ll gain understanding, too. I think it’s an important book as well; for me, for everyone, for those who need to be seen in their struggle with life.

I wondered for a long time how everything would play out. I had my preferences, my doubts. I couldn’t understand in the beginning why Luca even had to consider taking the possible cure or not. And here, I think, the paranormal both has its advantages and disadvantages. I mean, we’ve read and watched it all. Immortality… Who wouldn’t want that? It’s only a game, right? Well, it isn’t. And here’s where Half is real and not a fairy tale, despite being set in one. It took me a while to figure it out, to accept that this wasn’t simple. I really, really like and appreciate how the story developed, and I really love that I had to think and wonder while reading, too, that I could take what was given me and work with it.

The romance between Luca and Kin is really sweet. Nestled in between the world of the fey and also the pondering about curing Luca’s illness, their love feels otherworldly and in parts surreal. The strong connection they share so quickly… It’s… It fits, though. The whole book has a very unique feel and vibe, so why not the romance as well?

[It’s] an escape, for a moment. A place that made them feel safe and at peace and a little dazzled.

The story is quite descriptive and paints a beautiful picture, but it also feels a little heavy and full, important. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book quite like it. The narration style is very distinct and also admirable, brave.

For example, I don’t think the protagonists’ sexual identity plays any role in this book whatsoever. I couldn’t even tell whether they are gay or bi or other.

I am also really, really, like REALLY, impressed with the fey that the author created. I think I could tell you tons of stuff. How they live, how they look, and what they like and what not. What kind of different races there are, and what makes them different and other than human. However, the most amazing thing is that this information wasn’t dumped on me or anything, no, it’s something I acquired naturally while reading. And *smile*, I think they are weird and charming.

No one says hello at a fey party. There’s no small talk. There’s only dancing or kissing or strange conversations that go in circles and mean nothing.

There are some secondary characters in the book and I especially like Luka’s relationship to his half-sister Saben, because it has a lot of depths. It’s lovely how they reconnect after being apart for so long and how they both struggle to work on something more.

Now that I have written the title a thousand times, I want to shortly mention that Half also is about finding your place when you feel you belong neither here nor there, when you’re torn between two halves, two worlds. For me, this enhances Luka as a character and makes him more than his illness. He’s half human, half fey; neither a whole part of the one world, nor of the other. What he is, though, and that is what counts, is a unique being who is content in the end with who he is and what he has.

This book had me thinking and reflecting and I enjoyed very much that it was so unusual. I would hope you’ll give this book a chance and let yourself experience and feel something special. For a debut novel, Half is absolutely great and I hope it will be well received and that the author is already writing many more stories. We can’t have enough authors who bring a new touch to the genre.


eli langEli Lang is a writer and drummer. She has played in rock bands, worked on horse farms, and has had jobs in libraries, where she spent most of her time reading every book she could get her hands on. She can fold a nearly perfect paper crane and knows how to tune a snare drum. She still buys stuffed animals because she feels bad if they’re left alone in the store, believes cinnamon buns should always be eaten warm, can tell you more than you ever wanted to know about the tardigrade, and has a book collection that’s reaching frightening proportions. She lives in Arizona with far too many pets.

Connect with Eli:

You can purchase Half from:
Riptide Publishing
Barnes & Noble

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I received an advanced copy of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review.


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