K. S. Wood has written 15 books and novellas all set within the same world. Well, no, that isn’t correct. This is portal fantasy fiction, so the books and novellas are all set in different worlds, all within the same universal setting.
I first read Halfling, because I have a halfling main character in Cooking Up Magick and I thought it would be fun to read another book about halflings. I was wrong in my assumption about the halflings—Wood’s halflings are not the same as my halflings. My halflings are a race of people that are about half the size of humans, but are otherwise like them in every way. Her halfling in this novella was a half human, half dragonborn shifter hybrid. So halfling meant a mixed-race person. But with dragons. So I read it anyway.
Halfling is the eighth entry into her portal series, and yet could stand alone on its own merits. I enjoyed it. The novella reminded me of an old yarn someone might share while sitting around the flickering firelight of the hearth or campfire. There were a few characters I wanted to know more about, but then I learned that there were other books before this one, so that I could actually learn more about those characters if I read those books.
And so I read the first two entries into the series: The Keeper of the Key and Last of His Kind. These two are short books, at 218 and 164 pages, respectively. Each is also its own stand-alone book. But, while each stand-alone book is set in new worlds with original characters, some characters get woven through the narrative of the different books so that the whole universal setting ties together. No doubt this will continue throughout the rest of her Portal Series.
The first book is a little rough and could use a bit of editing/proofreading. But the story was still fun and engaging. Of the three I have read so far, I think my favorite was the second book, Last of His Kind. I really identified with Temp, the main character, and the pain of his outsider status. He is a wizard in a world where people of wizard blood are made to sign a registry and are treated as second-class citizens, distrusted, scorned, and ridiculed. It really reminded me of some unsavory times in our own world’s history. Some of my predictions for the end played out, but one thing surprised me, which I won’t share, because I don’t want to give away spoilers.
The thing that I think attracts me to Wood’s writing is that her characters are a lot like mine. I appreciate goodness and look for it in my characters (the ones I’m reading about and the characters I write). They care about each other; they have compassion, and they feel deeply their hurts and their joys. I think with each book I’ve read so far, Wood’s storytelling gets better, and I’m looking forward to reading them all. I’m curious how each world will be different, and who the villains and the good guys will be.
These are quick reads, perfect for when you have a little time to fill. Best of all, they are free on Kindle Unlimited.