First, thank you for being patient with my recent hiatus. I’m glad to be back and bringing you a book review of my latest Catholic fiction read, Corinna Turner’s young adult fantasy, Elfling.
Elfling follows young teen Serapia Ravena, a descendant of Elfin blood and Lady of Elfindale, who takes all the tenacity she learned in her time as a disavowed street urchin to save her newly found father from a terminal curse.
The imaginativeness and palpability of Corinna Turner’s worlds never cease to amaze me. With her trademark style—a frank blend of being sometimes youthful and other times courtly—Turner plunges us into a real-enough-to-touch alternate version of Medieval England with an exhilaratingly fantastical twist, complete with dragonets (miniature dragons…I want one!) and elves (a species descendant of angels, demons, humans, and dragons meant to guard Hell…hence the article title!). Equally refreshing, Turner isn’t squeamish about delving into danger and battling evil, and fearlessly dives into fantasy and supernatural powers while remaining staunchly Catholic; yet, even among all that, she provides the reader with a priceless relationship between our heroine and her Elfin friend, a connection that I absolutely fell in love with.
The plot was quite gently paced, to the point where I thought it would have benefitted from more rising action: the first half is exploratory, not goal oriented, but the enamoring worldbuilding and intrigue buoy the mild tempo; during the second half, though, when a singular focus is presented, Serapia’s attempts at achieving her end can feel repetitive, somewhat passive, and at moments, naïve. This holds true through the climax (which I would've additionally appreciated being drawn out more). There are moments of action that are resolved relatively quickly but never tie into the story's main thread, and I also found that the characters, while undeniably likeable, seemed to fit possibly too neatly into familiar tropes and expectations.
Overall, Elfling was a fun, whimsical story that left me wanting to wrap up in a fleece blanket during a snowstorm (yes, I’m aware it’s June) and sink into the creativity. On Goodreads, I’ll rate it a solid 3/5 stars.
Please show your support to Corinna Turner, by checking out Elfling and some of her later titles, including her Carnegie-nominated I Am Margaret dystopian series and exhilarating unSparked novella saga, a science-fiction narrative involving dinosaurs brought back from extinction.