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The Elvenbane

(Halfblood Chronicles #1)

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  14,033 ratings  ·  254 reviews
Two masters of epic fantasy have combined in this brilliant collaboration to create a rousing tale of the sort that becomes an instant favorite. This is the story of Shana, a halfbreed born of the forbidden union of an Elvenlord father and a human mother. Her exiled mother dead, she was rescued and raised by dragons, a proud, ancient race who existed unbeknownst to elven o ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 566 pages
Published April 15th 1993 by Tor Books (first published November 1st 1991)
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3.95  · 
Rating details
 ·  14,033 ratings  ·  254 reviews

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Mike (the Paladin)
I see that many really enjoyed this book and that many others found it, "not bad". I'm in a definite minority in rating it a 1 star book and maybe I'd consider going 2 stars except for one thing. I disliked it enough to lay it aside.

I see flashes here of why many like this one and my one star rating is strictly subjective, it's my experience of the book. The characters were a bit stock to begin with and I just couldn't get involved with them. The first one we meet, angry at what's been done to h
Apr 10, 2010 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: fantasy readers, dragon fans, elf fans, maybe feminists
Recommended to Dan by: Amy L. Campbell
This book was literally shoved into my hands by my fiancee, who had been quite insistant that I read it. I'm glad I have now, for I have a lot to say about it.

My first impression was of an extremely dense narrative, with a few flashbacks of mild interest, but mostly a front-heavy descriptive piece which was difficult to slog through. Things honestly do not start happening until five chapters in, and I found a very clunky -- if thorough -- method of introducing a world, for that's primarily what
I first read this series when I was 13 or 14 and I loved it! Of course, back then I was strictly reading fantasy, heavy on the Mercedes Lackey. So, I can say with certainty this is one of her best creations..... and I have to add that I think Andre Norton had plenty to do with that fact. That sounds mean, but she's written so many books that seem to run together and this series definitely stands on it's own. I just reread the first book and it was highly enjoyable even at this older age. huzzah! ...more
May 15, 2010 rated it it was ok
In The Elvenbane, a young fiery halfblood (half elven, half human) girl named Shana, is raised by a Kin of dragons. After using her magic to defend her foster brother Keman, Shana is banished to the desert where she is captured by human servants of elven lords; races she thought no longer existed. A rare mystery, Shana is about to be sold in a slave auction when she is rescued by disguised halfbloods who take her to a Citadel where wizards live in secrecy. Yet fate intercedes and soon the most d ...more
Originally posted here as part of the 30 Day Book Challenge.

Heh.  The topic for today makes me laugh.

A Book I've Read More Than Once

More than once?  At least 10, but I think more.

I owned this one, and since my small town library was never open more than 2 days a week during the summer, I did A LOT of re-reading.

Cruel elves, shape-shifting dragons, half-bloods, slavery, bicorns - man, this book had it all.

I last re-read it...probably 10 years ago?  When I found out that there was FINALLY A THIR
Apr 26, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jon by: Kat Hooper
2.5 stars

I listened to this novel while commuting in May 2011. I found few characters to relate to or care for. I rolled my eyes multiple times at the antics of the adolescents, chalking their behavior down to young adult fiction norms. However, when the adults behaved with even less maturity or even common sense than the youths in their care, I cringed and about gave up reading further. It became a chore to finish. Too much melodrama.

Shana seems to be the only one with any inkling of where he
Mar 06, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: warrior-steph
convincingly created a whole new world for the reader with a complicated hierarchy and fascinating gender dynamics. sexy, traumatic, enchanting, and most definitely Epic!
Niki Hawkes - The Obsessive Bookseller
The first half of this book is a perfect case study in how “telling” versus “showing” can be wildly entertaining. The authors took a lot of time to build this world and explain the dynamics between the races within it, and I found myself devouring the pages, eager to learn as much as I could. It was such a cool concept for a story – all-powerful elves who came to the world from another realm and basically took over, forcing the humans to cater to their every whim. Enter the shape-shifting dragon ...more
Jan 05, 2009 rated it it was ok
First off, I would like to say that I have been a fan of fantasy/fiction novels for quite some time. This was actually my first Norton outing (Lackey contributed as well), and unfortunately I was somewhat disappointed. I read overwhelmingly good reviews on this book and heard nothing but positive things about this writing duo. Therefore I decided to give the book a shot. To my dismay, I was let down and this novel did not keep me turning the pages. Allow me to explain why...

The premise of the st
Erin Hoffman
Feb 19, 2011 rated it liked it
A very interesting book that fills a kind of gap in my reading of fantasy books from its time (early 90s). I remember hearing a lot about this book around the time of its release, and seeing it on bookshelves -- I think I even owned it at one point but later got rid of it unread. I'm not sure why I never opened it -- I think I may have been put off by its cover, which, being a Boris, is gorgeous, but repelling at the same time, with its rather grotesque dragon and token torn-clothed maiden. But ...more
Apr 12, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2018-reads, fantasy
Hey, Reader!

Do you like fully realized fantasy worlds, but don't want anything too fantastic to happen in them? Well, The Elvenbane has got you covered. Using the device of fading to black, the narrative will simply peter out when things get too exciting.

Breathe easy as you read of protagonist Shana's mysterious half-elf (helf?) powers, knowing she will use them only to throw the occasional rock, or perhaps kill a deer. There may be mind-reading, but it's just like regular dialogue, just using c
May 29, 2012 rated it it was ok
I'm a sucker for a book with a dragon on the cover, and bane is one of my favorite words, so I picked this up at the library the other day. And it was solidly OK. I did enjoy it. The characters were engaging and certainly had their own style, voice, and distinct personalities. It certainly passed the "can you tell who's speaking without attribution" test - everyone was unique in their own way.

Plot-wise, I thought this book had a huge amount of potential. It was a great premise, and I felt like
Tim Wolfe
Feb 14, 2011 rated it really liked it
My only real complaint is that after Andre Norton passed away, Mercedes Lackey opted not to finish the fourth and final book. The three released were quite good and worth the read though.
Ariel Bullinger
Dec 07, 2018 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Karl J DeMunda
Jul 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Read this originally back in high school and enjoyed it then. Decided to read it again and still like it as much as I did back then. Yes, it was a little slow to start, but once they got through the background and world building, everything was great!
Dawn Livingston
Aug 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Loved this book! I had tried a well regarded book called Mistress of Dragons and had been disappointed in myself because I hadn't liked it. I started this book afraid I wouldn't like it either and maybe there was something wrong with me (too picky? too impatient?).

I liked the set up of the world view, fascinating story well told. Good characters too.

It starts off with a human concubine willing to do ANYTHING to please her elven Lord, go to any effort, scheme, anything. I don't necessarily like
Sep 26, 2008 rated it really liked it
This book includes some of my favorite fantasy elements: dragons, telepathy, shapeshifting, a little romance (though not as much as in Book 2) and an awesome ass-kicking heroine with some really cool friends. It also introduced me to Mercedes Lackey (well technically The Ship Who Searched did that but I didn't remember she'd helped write that till later), who has become one of my all-time favorite authors. I think I like Andre Norton better when she's co-writing with someone, so far I've enjoyed ...more
Nessie Smith
Oct 15, 2015 rated it liked it
I liked the 1st half, didn't even mind that she was growing in leaps and bounds. Even with her naive moronic moments (she is use to bullies and liars, but cant spot em though she is a quick leaner at every thing else that isn't threatening seems to be a stretch) but fine. After words though her character stops growing and acts whiny and has spontaneous love of an elfen lord who she didnt trust two sentences ago. thats to much. even worse is that her character seems to loose her intelligence and ...more
Mar 24, 2014 rated it it was ok
The premise was certainly interesting, but the books was riddled with moments where I went "wait, what?" (spend pages and pages emphasizing hiding dragon existence & then mention in two sentences that the main character told that information to someone she'd met a week ago). Moments also came across as contrived sometimes, and the main character made leaps of logic and held her temper when I would not expect it from a dragon-raised 14-yr old.
Mar 18, 2014 rated it liked it
I'm pretty sure I read this when I was in middle school, or thereabouts, but I certainly didn't remember it. Meh. This had some very good point, and I wasn't tempted to stop before it was done, but it didn't really grab my interest either. Also, the ending was fairly anti-climactic. I see there are two more books in this series. If I come across them at the library, I might give them a try, but I won't be going out of my way to find them.
Kathy Broyles
Jun 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I read this book ages ago when it first was published. I listened to the audio this time. It was as good as I remembered it was and I immediately got the 2nd book in the series and listened to it. I was disappointed to learn that the 3rd book in the trilogy has not been made into an audio. Shanda was born of a human mother and elven father. Her mother knew it was a death sentence for both of them so she ran away to the desert and died giving birth. Shana was rescued and raised by dragons.
May 04, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
An interesting world, where humans are slaves and elves run things. A prophecy has dictated that a half-elf, half-human will destroy the elves' rule one day, so it is illegal to crossbreed. . . .
Adam Neve
A lot of really great concepts really poorly executed.
Jul 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Kind of trashy. Lots of fun. Has dragons.
May 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
Deserves a 4.5 out of 5. Didn't think I was going to enjoy it much. Looked like a bad fantasy novel, though I do think Andre Norton was a brilliant writer. The more I read it, the more I enjoyed it. You start off thinking the elves are the most evil group and the only ones with prejudices, but then see how all the groups are like that. Also shows how nearly everyone in all the groups was a kind of prisoner in different ways. The only thing I didn't like, was parts progressed very quickly and I t ...more
Taylor Green
Dec 19, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: appetized
Couldn't really get into it. I started out mildly intrigued, tolerated the first awkward flashback, didn't the second, and was further lost by the needless exposition of "how great and kind" the elf lord was after it had been well established in the tiny portion I'd managed to wade through. Redundancy that further distanced me with further fact dumping how premier the lord's weaponry was among his elven brethren. Stop telling me, show me!

I was told so much, I was told off the book. And I'd final
Nov 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was an interesting story. I don't think I've come across a story where elves are a conquering and evil race before this. It set a intriguing premise. Shana annoyed me a little bit, but then again she is a teenage character and has teenage impulses and desires. I'm not sure what part of this book was contributed by Lackey as the writing style and dark events didn't seem like her style. I'm assuming Norton contributed the majority of the plot and am interested in the author, whom I haven't co ...more
Sherrill Watson
Nov 29, 2018 rated it liked it
See Jorie's review -- very cool!

A complete book in itself, and yet it is part of a series of novels. It takes us from poor little Serena Daeth's being left in the desert to die (how could she not?) through her being able to almost single-handedly unite the odd beings that inhabit this weird world. She wrestles precious stones from magicians, perceives that some animals which have been treated as such for generations(!) are not, that dragons have wisdom, that her father . . . etc. etc. Dragged in
Jan 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Loved the powerful writing of Norton's and Lackey's intertwined tale of selfishness, pain, love, hate, naivety, etc. It takes time to set up the world and characters, but once you get through that, the characters fill out becoming more complex and whether you love them or hate them you (I) want to know more. There is a theme running through the book do we stand solely on what is tradition or do we try to step out of our comfort zone and progress?
Can't wait to read more
Keri Kobussen
Audio book review.

Traditional high fantasy with concubines, dragons, secret prophesied children, and plenty of political intrigue. A woman, pregnant by her elven master (something that is illegal in this world), flees into the desert to save herself and her unborn child. She dies, but is unknowingly leaning on a dragon that has transfigured herself into a rock. The dragon takes the child and raises it, for reasons even she doesn't always understand. When the child is old enough, a magical accide
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Mercedes Lackey r...: The Elvenbane Read Along 5 24 Apr 05, 2013 06:02PM  
Dragons, dragons ...: Halfblood 6 14 Oct 08, 2012 12:45PM  

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Alice Mary Norton always had an affinity to the humanities. She started writing in her teens, inspired by a charismatic high school teacher. First contacts with the publishing world led her, as many other contemporary female writers targeting a male-dominated market, to choose a literary pseudonym. In 1934 she legally changed her name to Andre Alice. She also used the names Andrew North and Allen ...more

Other books in the series

Halfblood Chronicles (3 books)
  • Elvenblood (Halfblood Chronicles, #2)
  • Elvenborn (Halfblood Chronicles, #3)
“If you would rise, do so alone.” 14 likes
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