Books That Wold Make Great Movies: The Hungering Saga by Heath Pfaff

VPS04tStory:For this story it’s easier to set the world up before introducing the hero of the saga. This story takes place in your generic big kingdom in a fantasy setting. There are some wizards and such, but they don’t play any significant role in the overall story, so it might as well be medieval Europe with a few tweaks. The saga follows an apprentice scribe, Lowin Fenly, who is taken from work one day by two “Black-Eyed Devils”, half human, half beast creatures who are essentially the highest knights in the realm (indeed, their real organization name is “Knights of Ethan”). Lowin is forced to go through their training because of the results of some kind of magical ability test he underwent in the past (it’s explained pretty clearly).

Acting as a companion to Lowin is the beautiful Kyeia, a girl chosen from a neighboring race of elf-like creatures as part of an old truce to be partnered with him through his training. As the training progresses, he begins to become abnormally strong and begins to integrate himself with the knights, especially in one of their more dangerous features- each Knight is capable of removing part of their own body and replacing it with a similar limb or feature from another creature.

I don’t want to give a lot away, because it really is a fantastic read, but I will say that it would have to be three movies, just as it is three books. Lowin does eventually become a Knight of Ethan, indeed one of the most powerful ever seen, and is given the name “Noble”, as he is a “Noble fool”. The knights pay a horrific price for their powers, and Noble (in the books he quickly loses his original name after being given his new one) struggles to come to grips with this. He is trapped between very difficult positions and commanders- the first is Ethaniel himself, who is the namesake of the Knights, and is willing to pay the horrible price in order to secure more Knights to fight against the Hungering, a cannibalistic and overwhelmingly brutal race with seemingly endless numbers who are arriving on the coasts. The second is Lucidil, another Knight of Ethan almost identical in power, influence, and age to Ethaniel. He is unwilling to pay the price for their powers, and was forced into it against his will. He wishes to destroy the process by which they are created, in order to save those who are sacrificed.

Each side makes a strong point, and Noble has to choose which he will be- “The Noble Fool”, or “Lowin The Dread”.

That’s essentially the first book, that choice, the other two lead in to the inevitable direct confrontation with the Hungering and their army, as well as further exploration as to the price Noble and the other Knights have to pay for their incredible abilities and the pain that comes with their decisions.

Movie-Ability: High
The characterization is incredible and you can really tell that the author thought through the personalities of even the most minor characters. Everyone feels very real, and there are a lot of easy shots an average author would have taken towards resolving conflict that Pfaff draws attention to, then disregards. There were no major plot holes, and every set-up had a pay-off, a huge thing for determining how easy it would be to make this a movie. There also isn’t an inordinate amount of sex. A couple of scenes, maybe 1 or so for each of the three books in the saga, all very tame and nothing raunchy. They’re written with dignity, not just to add some porn, like half the sex scenes in books seem to be.

I have only one major criticism of the books that would have to be fixed, and indeed, if the rest of the series wasn’t exceptionally good I would have disregarded the entire thing for this— the ending. Can you say “anti-climactic”? Holy crap. The battle with the leaders of the Hungering lasts for a very short time, less than 5 pages maybe, so it would really really need to be pulled out. There is an element of psychic or wizard to the leaders, so it could be as simple as adding some vague, scary dream sequences throughout, and building up the role of the Hungering Wizards on the battlefield, so it feels more tried and thorough and the ending fits the impressive scope of the rest of the series.

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2 Comments

  1. Thanks for the review! I get a lot of criticism on the ending of THS, and believe me I have listened. At the time of writing the book was being created solely for the reading of a couple of friends with very little real ambition of a major release, and I was super excited to be reaching the end of the end of the trilogy. I made the mistake of watching my word count too closely, and noticed that the third novel was going to end up running far longer than I intended.

    I cut several scenes from the ending of the book, events that happened within the cave system that would have added more background on the Hungering, and given a few more foreshadowing moments to the final events of the climax. After getting a lot of feedback I have repeatedly regretted my decision not to take the time and put those moments in. I often consider going back and adding them, but I don’t want my current readers to feel cheated either. The dilemma!

    Anyway, I’m happy that you seemed to enjoy the series overall, and I hope you’ll check out Servant of Steel, my newest novel, as well. I’m currently hard at work on the sequel to that one.

    • I’m downloading it to my iPad as I type! I look forward to reading it πŸ™‚

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