Yay!!!! The day I have been waiting for has finally arrived!!!!
*throws confetti in air*
Half-Blood by Jaye L. Knight has been officially released to the big, wide, and wonderful world! I’m so excited for this release, because all of us Ilyon fans have been pleading for Jace’s backstory. (Think of it like a never-before-read prologue. A prologue that you REALLY appreciate once you’ve read such an amazing story.)
In this post, I’m reviewing Half-Blood and interviewing Jaye herself. But first, about the book!
Learn more about this prequel story to Ilyon Chronicles and make sure you also enter the tour giveaway at the bottom!
About the Book
The gasps and murmuring grew. Though some were hardly more than whispers, clear words reached Jace’s ears—dangerous, monster, animal, soulless. He tried to back away from their accusing eyes, but the collar pulled hard against his throat and held him in place.
For all his years as a slave, Jace has known nothing but the hatred people hold for his mixed blood—one half human, the other half the blood of a race considered monsters. Always, he is the outsider and quickly learns it is better to keep to himself. But, when his volatile ryrik blood leads him to do the unthinkable, he is thrown into a world of violence and bloodshed.
Forced to become a gladiator, Jace finds more and more of his heart dying as his master works to break down his will not to become the monster everyone believes he is. When a stranger interferes with his master’s harsh punishment, Jace’s world is upended yet again. But with it comes the possibility of hope that has long since died. Could the man possibly hold the key to escaping the hopeless darkness that is Jace’s life? Is there such a thing as life beyond the cruelty of slavery?
See where Jace’s story all began . . .
Haven’t discovered the world of Ilyon yet? Find out more at the official Ilyon Chronicles website
All his life, Jace has been a slave. He has been forced to become a gladiator, and treated so harshly, lower than an animal. Little does anyone know, Jace – as half ryrik and half human – has a heart, a soul, and he is not truly defined by his ryrik blood. He is not an angry killer; he is only thought to be one. And he is treated for the first 17-20 (or so) years of his life as though he is less than worthless.
Oh my. I can’t really in good conscience say that I loved or enjoyed this book. I can say, however, that I’m glad that I read it. I’m glad that I know Jace’s backstory, even though it tore my soul to shreds.
Jace’s life broke me. For real. He had but two things that made him happy, and both those things were torn away from him. (Such injustice! Are you kidding me?!)
It shredded my heart into a million tiny fractals.
It tore my soul to unrepairable shreds.
It emptied my being of hope.
It made my heart scream, and cry, and panic out of desperation.
I was Jace.
I was treated lower than an animal.
I was abused for the love of money.
I was alone. Forsaken. Rejected. Forgotten. Betrayed. Sold. Broken. Hopeless.
And I never believed I could ever be loved, or even treated like I was even half-human. I never believed I could ever have a soul.
*cries* Oh yes, I cried. Out of anger, pain, and more injustice.
(And, um, yeah, I finished it in one day. The day it was sent to me.)
Throughout this book, we dig deep into Jace’s past. We see his loneliness, heartbreak, struggle, and his (yes) humanity. We see that he is not heartless, and isn’t completely overcome by his ryrik blood. Though he has many challenges, he does not give up.
The thing I admire most about Jace is that he refuses to kill in cold blood. He struggles with fiery anger, coming from his ryrik blood, but he doesn’t let it overcome him easily. He fights for justice, and I love that. He pays attention to his conscience even when he does not know Elôm. (More proof that you have a soul, Jace.) He’s such a respectable character, and my favorite (of course!). *happy sigh*
Seriously though, Half-Blood is really hard to read. I cried a few times over the intense cruelty of Jace’s treatment. It’s not a fluffy, snuggle-up-by-the-fire kind of book. It’s one of those books that makes you want to throw it out the window, but it’s still so good that you can’t bring yourself to do it. (Jaye’s writing is amazing. That’s not the problem at all. The problem is that she writes so well that you’re there, and you feel every little ounce of pain and agony. And so I felt it, and was actually depressed for a few days.)
My favorite part of the book was the second half, of course. It was so amazingly full of hope. The horrible hopelessness of Jace’s life of slavery made hope – when it came – so much brighter, in contrast. It was so beautiful. I won’t give too much away, but the end of the book overlaps with the beginning of Resistance, from Jace’s point of view. It’s like reading an awesome book for the first time – twice. Because even though I knew what would happen, it was totally new, with the same dialogue and scenery. That was amazing.
So yeah, I’m glad I read it. Was it hard to read? Oh, you’d better believe it. But seeing Jace’s past helped to give me a glimpse of who Jace is and who he is becoming.
Though this is a prequel novella, I don’t think I would recommend it as a starting point for the series. Although it is written extremely well, it’s tough to read and perhaps not as enjoyable until you’ve read Resistance. It is heartbreaking, and not as “lovely” as the other books, but it is definitely a worthwhile read when wanting to know even more about Jace’s past.
It’s a Five-Star book.
I received an eARC for my honest and unbiased review. Thank you, Jaye!
About the Author
Jaye L. Knight is an award-winning author, homeschool graduate, and shameless tea addict with a passion for Christian fantasy. Armed with an active imagination and love for adventure, Jaye weaves stories of truth, faith, and courage with the message that even in the deepest darkness, God’s love shines as a light to offer hope. She has been penning stories since the age of eight and resides in the Northwoods of Wisconsin.
You can connect with Jaye on her website, blog, Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Etsy, and on her new fiction forum where you can interact with other readers of the series.
As I promised, I got to interview the author, Jaye L. Knight, and share her answers with all of you.
Jaye, did you find Half-Blood to be hard to write? I know that for me, it was difficult to read at a lot of points. The entire first half, actually.
Surprisingly, this story was one of the easiest I’ve written, not because of subject matter, but it just flowed really well. I’m glad of that. I wouldn’t have wanted to labor over it for a long period of time. I was able to write the whole thing in just a couple of weeks.
Ah, I see. Only a couple of weeks, wow! That’s great. 🙂
Do you enjoy writing about just Jace, or would you rather work with multiple storylines (as you do in the rest of the Ilyon books)?
I love writing about Jace. While I do enjoy working with multiple storylines, Jace is my favorite to work with. Though, there are a few others I particularly love writing as well, like Trask and Prince Daniel.
And I love reading about Jace. He’s such a relatable character, especially to me. Trask and Prince Daniel are such fun to read about too, with their great witty and strong personalities.
Where did your ideas for Jace’s story come from, especially the details of his life as a gladiator and slave?
Originally, Jace was inspired by a half-blooded character in Donita K. Paul’s DragonKeeper Chronicles books. I didn’t discover that Jace was a gladiator, though, until I was quite far into writing Resistance. I always knew he was a slave and struggled with his ryrik blood, but the gladiator idea came from a History Channel documentary on gladiators that I randomly watched with my brother. I found it so fascinating that my imagination took over, and next thing I knew, Jace’s entire backstory changed.
That is so interesting! Thank you for sharing with us, Jaye.
Share in the excitement of the release and enter to win a themed giveaway pack! Prizes include an autographed copy of Half-Blood, a blue feather bookmark hand crafted by Jaye, a bronze sword pendant, and a $5 Amazon gift card! (Giveaway is open to US residents only. Cannot be shipped internationally.)
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