Sunday, June 19, 2016

Review: Lord of the White Hell by Ginn Hale

Lord of the White Hell
(Lord of the White Hell #1)
Publication Date: August 15, 2010
Paperback, 353 pages, Blind Eye Books
Genres: LGBT, NA, Fantasy

Kiram Kir-Zaki may be considered a mechanist prodigy among his own people, but when he becomes the first Haldiim ever admitted to the prestigious Sagrada Academy, he is thrown into a world where power, superstition and swordplay outweigh even the most scholarly of achievements.

But when the intimidation from his Cadeleonian classmates turns bloody, Kiram unexpectedly finds himself befriended by Javier Tornesal, the leader of a group of cardsharps, duelists and lotharios who call themselves Hellions.

However Javier is a dangerous friend to have. Wielder of the White Hell and sole heir of a dukedom, he is surrounded by rumors of forbidden seductions, murder and damnation. His enemies are many and any one of his secrets could not only end his life but Kiram's as well.

My Review

It’s been a while since I finished this book—a couple of weeks or so—so I’m not going to go too in-depth into my review. This is mostly because I don’t remember all of the details. However, I must say that I was pleasantly surprised when I found out this book had been written so long ago (2010 seems like very long ago considering the genre of this book and how the publishing world works).

Lord of the White Hell is a bit like an LGBT version of Harry Potter with a smidgeon of Marie Rutkoski’s The Winner’s Crime. The Harry Potter part is pretty obvious—a boy goes to a fantasy boarding school where magic happens. The LGBT part is also obvious. There’s a romantic relationship between two boys. As for the Rutkoski part, there’s racial tension between the Haldiim and the Cadeleonians.

Despite seeming like Harry Potter, the storyline really is different. For one, Kiram and his friends are older teenagers and they don’t all have magic. Additionally, Kiram loves machines and building contraptions. I thought that was a unique character trait, and I wish it had been shown off a little more.

As for the love interest, I thought Javier was just okay at first. He didn’t strike me as particularly mysterious or brooding, which was what I was assuming he was meant to be. Once the book went on, his character grew on me though. He went from pseudo bad boy to kind-of-sweet, tortured boy. Of course, then the ending happened and I just don’t know what to think anymore.

At some points, the plot of the book was a tad slow. However, it was in no way predictable. I hardly ever knew what was going to happen. Other than that, I think the world building could have been a bit better. There were points where Kiram would say something about Haldiim or learn something about his school, but there just wasn’t enough. I wanted to know more. Much more.

All in all, this was a good start to a rare LGBT YA-but-really-more-NA fantasy story. I’m not sure when I’ll pick up book #2, but I’m hoping I will sometime soon.  

*Note: I purchased a copy of this book for myself. This in no way affected my opinion/review.

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