Independently published, Australia, 2021
The Hunt of the Halfling is the first of a planned series under the title Crimson Tale. Fans of the Twilight series will be interested in this new Brisbane based writer.
The story is full of vampires, faeries, werewolves and the sort of burgeoning romance that young people will know only too well, and older readers too perhaps, depending on their circumstances. But at the very least older readers will recall that stomach twisting sense that a relationship is going to be more than getting to know a new best friend.
Our heroine Tabitha finds herself kidnapped by a couple of young men, Felix and Calum, and it soon becomes obvious that they are vampires. What also becomes obvious is that Tabitha is not entirely what she seems – the attack of the vampire cannot be erased from her memory and so she is apparently not fully and normally a human being.
What ensues therefore is not only Tabitha’s quest to get home, but inevitably a search for the truth about herself and her origins. This is a story the main theme of which is the search for a lost parent or parents, and hence the true identity of the main protagonist.
Along the way there is much twisting and turning as more and more other world characters are introduced and more and more complications to Tabitha’s desire to understand who she is. Throughout, however, she remains determined to call her own shots, as much at least as the greater powers running this parallel universe allow. She is certainly no shrinking violet, but rather a heroin for our times, mouthy, defiant in the face of all challenges.
This is a quest story in the manner of many other fantasy epics. It will certainly appeal to young adult and teen readers to whose predilections and obsessions it is keenly attuned. Fashion plays its role here with detailed descriptions of Tabitha’s outfits; after all, they are a reflection of who she is – she uses clothing to make a statement about herself just like her counterparts on human earth 2021.
The author is also interested in the notion of time travel and of portals to other worlds. The holding and solving of secrets carry the fast-moving plot as Tabitha explores her story and that of her past. That the novel finishes with her fate very much in the air indicates the rest of the planned series will follow in the not too distant (real) future.
Thank you to Elena Moriarty for the review copy.