REVIEW: The Banished by H.C. Newell

Last Updated on February 12, 2024

H.C. Newell captures the brutal aftermath of Curse of the Fallen with her novella, The Banished, which is essential reading for fans of Newell’s dark epic fantasy series, Fallen Light. While the main books of the Fallen Light series focus predominantly on Neer, a young woman cursed with forbidden magic, The Banished turns the spotlight to two of my favorite supporting characters: the elven warrior Avelloch and the halfling Gil.

The BanishedEmotions run raw throughout The Banished, which picks up immediately following the tragic ending of Curse of the Fallen, the first book of the Fallen Light series. Since I don’t want to spoil the conclusion of Newell’s debut novel, let me just say the characters are physically and psychologically broken, suffering from both bodily injury and post-traumatic stress.

Most of The Banished is told from the perspective of Avelloch, who returns to his homeland, the elven forest of Nyn’Dira, to find solace and hopefully to heal his weary heart. However, Avelloch is caught in the middle of a human invasion of the elven forest, needing to defend his relationship with Neer. Avelloch discovers that the threat to Nyn’Dira may be worse than initially meets the eye, with greater implications for the entire land of Laeroth.

Avelloch shares point-of-view duties with Gil, the shapeshifting halfling who is another close friend of Neer. The relationships between characters are truly a highlight of The Banished, testing the limits of both friendships and familial relationships.

Although worldbuilding takes a backseat in The Banished to focus on H.C. Newell’s outstanding character work, the novella fills in some important gaps left in the main books of the series. There are also some unexpected revelations that will change your perspective on the events of the Fallen Light series.

Already a talented storyteller, H.C. Newell elevates her writing craft to new artistic heights in The Banished, capturing the deep emotions of the characters. It helps that she has slowed down the pacing of the novella compared to the main books of the series, giving her characters the time to reflect and deal with their emotional trauma.

The Banished is a must-read for fans of H.C. Newell’s Fallen Light series, providing additional depth to several of the key characters. The novella format works well for delivering a character-focused story that packs a big emotional punch. The series continues with The Forbidden Realms and the upcoming Shadows of Nyn’Dira.


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John Mauro

John Mauro

John Mauro lives in a world of glass amongst the hills of central Pennsylvania. When not indulging in his passion for literature or enjoying time with family, John is training the next generation of materials scientists at Penn State University, where he teaches glass science and materials kinetics. John also loves cooking international cuisine and kayaking the beautiful Finger Lakes region of upstate New York.