The Bookwyrm's Review of Finding Your Harpy Place by D.H. Willison
Author: D.H. Willison
Length: 370 Pages
Release Date: November 14, 2020
Rating: 4.5/5 Stars
After reading and enjoying the first book in this series, I was excited to hear that the sequel would be released this year. When I got a review copy, the fantastic cover art really piqued my interest, because I just knew it pointed at a fun fantasy adventure with the two most mismatched protagonists in fantasy, Darin the Earth human transplant and Rinloh the Arvian Harpy. This is such an odd pair, but their chemistry is just so infection it just works, and I couldn't wait to dig in.
Life is a journey. On Arvia, it’s a perilous one.
Darin, a human of extraordinary unimpressiveness, astounded observers by surviving his first year on the mythical world of Arvia. His training and equipment may be questionable, but at least his best friend, Rinloh, an accident-prone harpy the size of a three-story building, is willing to lend a hand. Or a wing. Yet when an ancient magic artifact leaves a trail of chaos in its wake, it’s no longer just the giant mythical monsters he has to worry about.
Rinloh, a harpy whose unbridled enthusiasm leads to the occasional sundry destruction, charges into things talons first. Her curiosity is as insatiable as her flockmate’s appetite for human flesh, yet she can’t protect Darin from them until she becomes full-fledged. Regrettably, the test is a human hunt.
A distant forest may hold answers to both quests, yet who dares venture where even harpies fear tread?
Life is a journey. Sometimes the most important journeys are within.
Finding Your Harpy Place, a new adventure on Arvia, a beautiful world filled with colorful, larger-than-life characters and ravenous mythical monsters more colorful and larger still. Experience it from the safety of your favorite armchair.
A lot of second books fall to the dread sophomore slump, but Finding Your Harpy Place is not one of them. If anything, it takes what works so well in the first book, which is the relationship between Darin and Rinloh, and really expands upon it. It also expands their relationships with other characters as well, helping to create realistic relationships and character arcs for these other characters as well. This is especially funny, since in the case of Rinloh and her flock leader Jenolin, we are talking about giant carnivorous harpies, the apex flying predators on Arvia. We finally get to see some of the other races on Arvia as well, including goblins, centaurs (oversized like so many other creatures) and rodent men, as well as a host of various monster species.
We even get to see another flock of harpies, and see that each flock has its own ways of living. Between the harpy roosts, the goblin village, the city of the rodent people and Darin's adopted city of Xin, we get to see a pretty wide range of settings in the world, and you realize there are many more places to see, and a lot of history that has yet to be explored. Rinloh and Darin's separate adventures really push their story arc's forward, giving us a much deeper look into the way their decision making processes. Darin's creativeness is on full display throughout the story in a variety of ways, and really pushes home the point that you don't need to be a fantastic warrior as a little to survive Arvia. Rinloh also learns that she is not bound to be the stereotype of a harpy, all hunger and feeding on anything smaller than herself. As the title says, she finally finds her harpy place, and even manages to work her flockmates into it.
When its all said and done, what this book amounts to is a really fun story with excellent characters, good pacing, and creative world building. Darin and Rinloh, as well as their companions, are just such engaging, likable characters that it really helps draw the reader into the story. The way the story left off, it definitely leaves room for more adventures with Darin and Rinloh. This is good news for any fans of comedic fantasy, and I recommend they check this series out.