Reviewed by Matt Lebois for Readers’ Favorite
Hale, in the novel of the same name by J.K. Noble, is an orphaned teenage boy held captive, along with his sister, by a mysterious, abusive kidnapper. Escaping from one nightmare, though, leads to being drawn into one more; a mysterious land of magic and violence. In the land of Griffins, young fighters vie for survival, learning to transform into the magical beasts of their clan. Fortunately, not all of Malphora is as brutal as the land in which Hale finds himself. This world, shared with Earth but separated by a nigh-impenetrable magical barrier, is revealed through multiple storylines with diverse characters, all gradually weaving together until the secrets of Hale’s life are revealed. Every character is challenged in this open-ended adventure spanning millennia. My favorite part was when Marcus and Eliath arrive in the main city of the kingdom of Bimmorus. With vivid descriptions of this wondrous city, I felt transported to a magical place. Prior to that point, though, it was challenging to conceive of an image of the world that Hale found himself in. Multiple storylines alternate and, for a while, obscure the direction of the story. The plot eventually fills in those gaps and reveals to the reader a world of griffins, centaurs, nymphs, spirits, and more, with magic present in potions, amulets, and personal special abilities. In contrast, this is a rare fantasy book that acknowledges characters’ need for toileting and other basic requirements, which is refreshing. Fans of Harry Potter ready for a darker, more intense realm, and who can tolerate reading about severe bullying, domestic abuse, and magic-induced agony will find Hale: The Rise of the Griffins by J.K. Noble intriguing.
Reviewed by Essien Asian for Readers’ Favorite
The tension in Malphora is rapidly approaching fever pitch as the different entities that inhabit that realm put finishing touches to their plans to outsmart their counterparts and lay claim to the land. Bayo, the leader of the Griffin clan, is almost at the end of his quest to obtain The Eyes, mystical devices with incredible potential. The kingdom of Bimmorus sets in motion the alliances it believes can destroy the Griffin advance, even if that solution comes at a price too heavy for the king to bear. In the middle of this chaos is one certain constant; Hale is the key and Hale is the only viable solution but who will figure this out fast enough to come out on top? Only time will tell in JK Noble's Hale: The Rise of the Griffins. The adventures of the young Griffin with the weight of destiny on his shoulders in the first book of this series by JK Noble. Epic fantasy is elevated to new heights with the incorporation of palace politics and mysteries hidden behind clan secrets. I admit I found the concept of mythical creatures battling to the death for sport a bit unusual but it did add to the intrigue around the storyline. Bayo's plotting with the Griffin elders and Camden's attempts at statesmanship with the royal family created rather interesting subplots that kept me glued to the book but what I liked the utmost about this book is the attention to detail. The mythical creatures were described in a manner that caught my imagination and the battles were simply exquisite. For a novel with a lot of moving parts, Hale maintains the impressive standard of storytelling I have come to associate with JK Noble. An excellent novel on all counts.
JK Noble | Author | Artist | Philanthropist
Published author of the new YA Fantasy Series, HALE.
Creator of the LMB franchise and the Encourage Literacy Foundation.