Haelend's Ballad


Must read 🏆

An epic fantasy that can both challenge and strengthen your faith, hope and values in a chaotic world that's not much different from ours.

“It’s the ballads that capture not only the past but the hearts and desires of those who shaped it.”

I’ve been developing quite an interest in epic fantasies of late, and have been fortunate enough to read ones with a variety of flavors and themes. I have loved each one of them, but none has ever challenged, and eventually satisfied the very core of my values and faith—both as a reader and a writer—as this one has.


One of the things I shy away from when it comes to epic fantasies, aside from its length, is the number of characters I will have to keep up with. I’ve always felt like I would get confused and soon forget who is who and which is which. Curiously though, this was never a problem while reading Ian V. Conrey’s Hælend’s Ballad.


It is hard enough to create characters to populate a lengthy tale of such epic proportions (and disproportions), but it is harder still to make each one of them be their own person—a feat that, as far as I’m concerned, Mr. Conrey has achieved. It does take some commitment on the reader’s part to follow along and keep tabs of the characters—who they are, which side they’re on and what they stand for—but it is definitely a committed time well spent and ultimately well satisfied in the end. Not to mention that once you get started reading, the story has a tendency to just flow smoothly—like a movie—with each scene seasoned with just the right amount of descriptions and backstories, and always given much more life by realistic dialogues and peeks into the characters’ internal struggles, so familiar that they resonate with the personal thoughts and questions that we may not even be aware we have about our values, our faiths, and our very lives.


And although the story is excellently structured, nothing is ever perfect with what goes on in each reaction, realization and revelation that unfold. Constantly, you will find characters that do things impulsively, driven by their rawest emotions, their deepest, darkest fears. And just as constantly, you will find them internally torn by their conscience, struggling to find justifications for their actions, questioning their values, and seeking for forgiveness they don’t even feel like they deserve. It is these powerful struggles that make the characters alive, that make them stick to our minds long after we’ve finished the book, because we find ourselves in them. We learn to accept and understand ourselves more because of them.


Add to this a world that’s fully formed, with mythos and histories that at once feel both familiar and new, cultural values and a political landscape that both divide and unite its people, and lofty hopes for the future threatened by the prophetic promises of the past, and you’ve got an unforgettable reading adventure that you wouldn’t mind going through again and falling in love with anew.


I have been searching for a good Christian fantasy to add to my library and mention as one of the best ones that influenced the stories I hope to be writing in the future. Hælend’s Ballad is an epic way to start that collection.


Thank you Mr. Ian V. Conrey and Reedsy Discovery for the opportunity to read and review this book. ♥

Reviewed by

I'm a casual reader, always on the lookout for new books to read. I try to find the good in every story and will rave about what has touched me deeply. If something did not work for me, I can be very honest in saying so and explain 'why' to the very best of my ability. Pic Credit: Marko Bogdanovic

Dark Horses

About the author

I am both a teacher and student of history, who actively fights against human trafficking and is working toward an M.A. in Religion. I also enjoy reading biographies and ancient mythology, discovering early American folk songs, and exploring the Cohutta Wilderness. view profile

Published on November 30, 2021

250000 words

Contains graphic explicit content ⚠️

Worked with a Reedsy professional 🏆

Genre: Fantasy

Reviewed by