HALE: The Rise of the Griffins by JK Noble
Online Book Club
"It is a feast for fantasy fans."
Hale, written by J.K. Noble, is an imaginative fantasy novel. When its intricately crafted narrative begins, in the eighteenth century, Felix, Bayo, and Greon are in a mystical place looking for treasured magical artifacts – a pendant and three glassy orbs that represent different realms. One of them represents Malphora, home of the humans and the extraordinary, who share the realm. There is, however, an untraversable divide between them, which can only be breached using the orbs or knowing the location of an ancient tree.
Back in the twenty-first century, readers get to know two orphans, sixteen-year-old Hale and his older sister Carly. They have been abducted by a conflicted man named Greon. Carly tries to escape but ends up getting killed in front of a horrified Hale. Using her last breaths, Carly begs Hale never to take off a protective amulet their father gave them. But Hale loses the amulet and ends up in a whole different realm, the home of the Griffin Clan, where he finds out he is a Griffin, a lion-eagle shapeshifter with extraordinary powers.
The book is full of positive aspects. Firstly, what I liked the most about Hale was its rich and energetic narrative arc. The author skillfully weaves several plot threads and does a great job of tying everything neatly, which I appreciated. I also enjoyed the coming-of-age undercurrent that permeates the whole narrative, which is full of symbolism. Hale gets transported to a completely different world and is baffled by this new place and its violence, having to fend for himself at such a young age. The teenaged protagonist is a multidimensional and relatable character that makes us root for him. The author developed him very well, creating vivid descriptions of his surroundings as a background for his state of mind. For instance, Noble does a great job of portraying Hale’s anguish as he watches the Griffins fight to the death on a stage almost every night, with bodies thrown into a fire.
Also, the mystical elements are explored very well by the author; there are nymphs, sirens, potions, portals, magic spheres, and kings, among others. It is a feast for fantasy fans. I particularly liked how each Griffin (including the elders of the Griffin Clan) had one of five powers: shielding, ardor, light, dark, or endurance. Noble explored these characteristics creatively and masterly. There were also illustrations that added to the worldbuilding. A map of the territories at the beginning of the novel came in handy, and I resorted to it several times as the story progressed.
In closing, I found no negatives worth mentioning in this book, and I give it 4 out of 4 stars. It seemed professionally edited, for I only found a couple of very minor mishaps. With all the elements of a great fantasy novel, I had lots of fun reading it, and I recommend it to all readers who enjoy the genre. I believe it is a good read for teenagers as well, for it has no profanity or sexual content. It does have a good deal of violence and gore, though, so sensitive readers should be aware of this.
"An escapist dream, Hale: The Rise of the Griffins is a full-circle coming-of-age story filled with dynamic theatrics and tantalizing twists!"
He may seem like your average sixteen-year-old kid, but Hale possesses something that his protective older sister has been trying to shield him from. When Hale is unceremoniously dumped into a savage world filled with bloodthirsty teens and terrifying beasts, he has no choice but to adapt. While he is able to quickly make some friends, those relationships are inevitably tested as Hale emerges as a pet project for Bayo, the leader of a clan of living Griffins. These Griffins, with their magical abilities, are only the beginning of the world opening up before Hale’s eyes. Ancient beings vying for power, spells and powerful amulets, mysterious glowing orbs, and twisted family bonds are just a few of the intrigues coloring the pages of this ravishing debut novel.
JK Noble has created not just a novel, but an entire mythical empire with Hale: The Rise of the Griffins. The intricate worldbuilding moves in unexpected directions as new characters, new places and new adventures are introduced. Besides the brilliant setting of Malphora, the story boasts formidable magical creatures, vicious fight scenes and a few strong-willed players, all of which make for a fresh and sleek fantasy book. The primary tensions in the plot arise from the complicated relationship between Hale and Bayo. As the larger-than-life antagonist, Bayo exceeds every expectation of a fantasy baddie. He is patient, calculating, ambitious and maniacal, yet demonstrates just enough weakness, petulance and vulnerability to make him my favorite fantasy villain in quite some time. With its familiar fantasy mythos, The Rise of the Griffins adopts a surprising narrative that becomes more and more complex as Hale’s secrets are revealed. Without a doubt, JK Noble promises to be a rising star in this star-studded genre. An escapist dream, Hale: The Rise of the Griffins is a full-circle coming-of-age story filled with dynamic theatrics and tantalizing twists!
The Book Commentary
"From the nuanced characters to the mesmerizing prose, from the unexpected plot twists to the robust conflict, J.K. Noble weaves a yarn that has solid grips on the reader."
Twisty and filled with adventure, Hale: The Rise of the Griffins by J.K. Noble features a young protagonist, Hale, a sixteen-year-old boy who has no idea of what he truly is. His sister has always wanted to shield him from making that discovery, but when he makes a desperate attempt to escape from his kidnapper, he finds himself sucked up into a world he never knew existed, one filled with griffins. As he begins to explore this world, he quickly discovers that he is also a griffin. As an unlikely connection forms between him and Bayo, the Griffin Leader, he is startled by Bayo’s insidious plans. Their destinies are linked in unfathomable ways and in ways that will move the plot to places readers couldn’t imagine. In this magical world filled with intrigue and danger, can Hale discover his path and mission before it is too late? Most importantly, can he grow to the full stature of what he is meant to be before life is ripped from him?
In Hale: The Rise of the Griffins, J.K. Noble introduces memorable characters and makes them unforgettable by writing traits that distinguish each character and their role in the story. Names like Hale, Bayo, Felix, Greon, Ellionna, Robin, and Rioma will stay with readers after they turn over the last page of this engaging story. The author uses magic and originality in world-building to create a wonderful reading experience. The hero of this tale is a young man whose journey is filled with surprising moments as he unveils each layer of his nature and faces new challenges as the narrative moves on from page to page. The prose is beguiling, the dialogues are expertly written, and each chapter is intelligently conceived and accomplished to pull the reader deeper into the world of the characters and their mysteries. This is a fascinating story that will pull in any fan of unique and original writing in the urban fantasy genre. The length is perfect, and it casts a vivid light on an imaginative world that comes alive in Hale’s unsuspecting journey. The gruesome situation of the world the young protagonist finds himself coupled with the transforming tides of the griffin world demand that he sits up — and readers too. It is fast-paced, original, and hugely entertaining. From the nuanced characters to the mesmerizing prose, from the unexpected plot twists to the robust conflict, J.K. Noble weaves a yarn that has solid grips on the reader.
Silver Book Award
"A suspenseful adventure novel with a unique world and compelling characters that will appeal to any fantasy reader looking for a story with plenty of depth and action."
A story rich in family and betrayal, Bayo, a Griffin elder attempts to build an army and exploit the powers of the griffins in order to free his people. The Eyes are the key, the portals to other divisions allowing characters to stay connected throughout their perilous journeys, to protect themselves and their loved ones. After many years of suppression and suffering at each other’s hands, each character is on their own mission to try and fulfil their individual prophecies, no matter the cost.
A gripping piece of fantasy writing, Hale, Rise of the Griffins is a magical tale which leaves the reader with a thirst for more. Although, some of the story is dictated to the reader, there are many elements throughout the writing where the imagery conveyed creates a vivid picture in the readers mind.
The creative mind of JK Noble, has conjured a world fueled by magic and mythology. An array of intriguing characters is represented through their different mannerisms and dialects which has been created wonderfully. The different perspectives and plots which are running simultaneously are cleverly written and allow the reader to experience the various points of view and ultimately see how their stories are connected.
Through descriptions of settings and elements such as the unique modes of transport, the writer has been able to create their own universe. Towards the start of the book and during the prologue you get the sense that you have travelled back in time, despite the dates which appear at the start of various chapters. However, as you read on there are references to modern day technology. Personally, I felt that the dates were not necessary to the story, and for me the time at which the story is set is before cars, when journeys were taken by horse and cart. The beauty of this non specific time period is that the reader can reach their own conclusion.
The imagination and detail that has gone in to creating such a magnificent world is spectacular. I would have enjoyed a more detailed dive into this riveting world being built along with more opportunities for a clever metaphor to unleash my imagination. The intricacy of the parallel plots is written in a thrilling yet comprehensive way. I am definitely interested in finding out what is going to happen next to Hale, Marcus, Ellionna, and Mary.
Hale: The Rise of the Griffins is a suspenseful adventure novel with a unique world and compelling characters that will appeal to any fantasy reader looking for a story with plenty of depth and action.