Updated: Dec 29, 2022
By Chika Anene
Published by Independent Book Review in 2021
An intricately woven YA fantasy filled with fantastical creatures and enchanting worlds.
All of Hale’s life, the truth about his identity has been kept from him. This is meant to protect him from the leader of the Griffin Clan, Bayo. However, on the night his sister is brutally murdered, Hale loses the protection amulet she instructed him never to take off and is thrust into Malphora, the world of both humans and mythical creatures.
In the company of a group of teens who can shapeshift into griffins, 16-year-old Hale soon learns that he is far from ordinary. In fact, he is one of them, a powerful griffin whose powers the leader of the Griffin Clan seeks to use for his own benefits.
As Hale grows closer to the Griffin Clan’s leader, the truth about their connection gradually begins to unravel and the friendships he’s formed thus far end up being tested.
While the story mainly centers around Hale, Bayo, and the world of Malphora where the griffins reside, JK Noble also provides glimpses into many of the side characters’ back- grounds, like River, Grace, Mary, and Evan, all while connecting each of their stories to form one overarching storyline. There are times when the amount of details of the characters and worlds can cause confusion however. Keeping track of all them can distract from the larger story. I also occasionally wondered whether we could focus on some characters (like River and Mary) and less time on others.
Nevertheless, Noble has constructed a mesmerizing universe where readers can encounter all kinds of mythical characters such as griffins, nymphs, werewolves, sirens, and witches.
As an avid fantasy fan, I am thrilled that griffins are getting their time in the spotlight here. I don’t see enough of this fascinating creature, especially in the protagonist role, so it really is great experience to get to know them better.
The diverse worlds presented in Hale: The Rise of the Griffins really showcase the author’s magnificent worldbuilding skills, as nearly each element adds a rich layer to the story. This is not a book for the fainthearted, and it certainly takes some patience to retain in- formation about all the characters, worlds, creatures, and terms. However, once you get past the abundance, you are going to find yourself appreciating its truly beautiful qualities.
There are a lot of characters to admire and dislike in this book, but most important of all (to me at least), there is enough action to keep me engaged. Readers who enjoy good epic fantasy with complex world-building are in for a treat with Hale: The Rise of the Griffins.