Book Review: Halfway by Stephanie Void

12609295Title: Halfway
Author: Stephanie Void
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: July 2011
Author Website | Goodreads | Amazon
Review copy provided by the author in exchange for honest review.

Cemagna and her brother Temet grew up in hiding. She never thought about the reason for this until Temet is kidnapped and taken to a place known only as the Wizardly Order.
Temet grows up inside the Wizardly Order, which he learns is an extremely dangerous organization. Ostensibly to help the general population, the Order actually exists to corrall and control all wizards. The Ten Ring, the leaders of the Wizardly Order, enjoy the power this gives them… until they begin to view Temet as a threat.
Ten years later, no longer a child, Cemagna begins her search for Temet. She attracts the attention of Duke Von Chi, who takes her in and agrees to help her in her search. What Cemagna doesn’t know is that Von Chi has his own plans for her, and so does Ormas, his son.

As far as self-published books go, Halfway by Stephanie Void is pretty decent. The book is a very short read, and probably only took me about one hour and a half to get through. The writing is aimed at the younger group of young adults, and the story seems fitting for that age range as well. While the writing isn’t spectacular, and the characters aren’t that intriguing or well-developed either, what earned this book a fair share of stars is the world-building.

The setting of Halfway is a world inhabited by Wizards and Faeries, but very different from the fantasy worlds I’m used to reading. I found this change refreshing. While the world-building could be a bit more detailed, and I was left with more questions than answers by the end of the book about how this strange world works, what the rules are, etcetera, I did find it a very enjoying read.

The two main characters, Cemagna and Temet are brother and sister. One day, Temet is kidnapped, and thus Cemagna’s world falls apart. She sets out on a journey to find her brother back, even if by now he may not want her in his life anymore. Meanwhile, miles away, Temet struggles with his new life in the Wizardly Order, his new-found abilities and the loss of his family.

I loved the fact that the two main characters are brother and sister, and they had a very special, loving bond. More often than not we see siblings who don’t get along, and it was refreshing to see siblings who got along for a change. While I didn’t find the characters particularly inspiring – I sometimes wondered why the heck they made the choices they did – they were interesting to read about. The story alternates between Temet and Cemagna’s perspective. If I had to choose, I would say Cemagna was my favorite character. Her journey was tougher, longer, and the stakes higher. She also felt slightly more developed than Temet.

All in all, this book definitely isn’t bad but it isn’t ground-breaking either. I enjoyed it and it was a quick, fun read. Ideal for a quiet evening when you have nothing else to do. This book is the author’s debut though, and it certainly shows potential. If the story was more fleshed out, the characters were given more depth, then she’d have a true gem in her hands. Right now, the book feels a little rushed. Not bad, but not in my top ten either, so a good three stars to Halfway.


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