"She knew that if she ever made it back to her people she would be forced into an arranged marriage. A ransom of a different kind, she thought wryly"
The World of Ryahh: Birth of the Half Elves by H.L.Watson is a story that chronicles the intersecting fates of two seemingly different individuals—both different in character and in Race. When Donovan was twelve-years old he witnessed the horrific slaughter of his fellow villagers—infants and children alike—and was forced into slavery by the Barbarians behind the massacre. He, along with dozens of other young boys, were forced to march into the forests and towards their impending enslavement to the very men who murdered their families. By a stroke of fate, the weak and frightened youths are saved by the Rangers—a sect of the Wood Elf kingdom allotted the task of defending their forests against intrusion. Against much protest, the leader of the Rangers decides to spare the children’s lives and raise them as her own, transforming them into an elite and loyal faction of her Ranger Corp. Little could Donovan have known that his life would be turned upside down upon the death of his surrogate mother and the kidnapping of the youngest princess of the Wood Elf kingdom, Brandela. In an attempt to avenge the death of his loved one, Donovan and Brandela’s fates become intertwined as they struggle to survive their long journey home—and to cope with their growing feelings towards one another. The basic plot of this story is very appealing. It promises adventure, romance, action, and even the demolition of social prejudices.
Unfortunately, the story did not live up to it’s potential. Two of the most conspicuous problems that plague this book are poor formatting and technical errors. Aside from the occasional typographical error here and there, words that required no hyphens were suddenly split into two(vegetable becoming veg-etable, victim becoming vic-tim). While the latter errors were a bit baffling, ultimately they were forgivable. The occasional glitch, while amusing and at times annoying, is not enough to keep a good story down. Rather, it’s the combination of different errors in both writing technique and format that really kept an otherwise intriguing premise from reaching it’s full potential. Regarding formatting, the chief problem this book suffered from was the random insertion of either the book title or the chapter name in the middle of a paragraph. For example, a sentence would read like this:
"I have no intention of getting captured, but if I do, you’ve got a deal. Be safe, 61
Birth of the Half Elves
And may the blessings of the Elders shine down upon you."
Similar awkward insertions and sentence breaks occur frequently throughout the story, resulting in atleast one infraction each chapter. These errors were distracting to say the least. All noticeable errors aside, I felt that the story also suffered from confusing transitions and pace problems. As there is nothing signaling a change of perspective, readers are suddenly jerked from one character’s view to another. Additionally, the whole story felt rushed. It almost seemed as though the author was too anxious to get to key points in the plot and as a result the narrative quickly jumps from one issue to another, while strangely taking ample time to play-out actions scenes. The romance came on a little too quick for my tastes as well. I understand that Donovan and Brandela had a spiritual bond but I feel as though this bond was used too much as an excuse to progress the romance while the story would have been better served by gradually allowing each character to come to a conclusion regarding their feelings towards another. Criticisms aside I think the premise of the book is a good one. If the technical issues were resolved and the pace of the story improved the plot and characters would have flourished more. Despite the issues I had with this book I think that I’d be open to giving the next book in the series a chance. I don’t know that I would buy it, but I also don’t think that I’d hesitate to borrow it from a fellow nerd.