The Prophet of Panamindorah book one (of three), Fauns and Filinians, is the story of a boy named Corellian (Corry for short) who can't remember his past. All he knows is he doesn't belong in some foster home in Florida. He soon encounters a faun (half human, half deer), and before long he's whisked away to another world, one from which (it is revealed) he came to begin with-though he has only deep memory to confirm this: language, and a vague sense of familiarity.
What develops from there is a series of intrigues as the fauns wage war against the wolflings (half human, half wolf), eventually sealing an alliance with the cats (who are just cats: lions and tigers and leopards and so forth-they killed the half human, half cat kind off before the story begins). In the midst of this, Corry finds out that he may be some sort of wizard, which is bad news for him as wizards are the hated enemies of everyone. And to top it all off, Corry also learns that he was born over four hundred years earlier, which means time passes on Earth much, much slower than it does in Panamindorah.
Well, that's the set up, and I have to be frank: After being snared by the sample, I felt that for much of the first half of the book after that, the story was going nowhere. It was a bit difficult to follow, and details and description (apart from a few very poetic moments) were largely lacking, so that I began to feel sort of bleh about the whole thing. But, and it's a big but, the second half really kicked off, stuff started happening, and the entire experience improved dramatically. If ever there were a book of two halves, this would be it. Unfortunately, that rather tainted the overall experience for me. I would like to go on and read what becomes of Corry...but I'm not dying to. But the sequels are on my TBR list for after I'm done with a few reviews.
Now, I say that because I want you to understand that this isn't a bad book by any means, it just takes some perseverance in the reading before the rewards start coming, and at the end of the day there is the makings of a good story here. The first volume ends on a literal cliffhanger (or waterfall hanger, if you like), and that cliffhanger is only made potent by the fact that Corry is a nice guy, as are the two fauns he has befriended, Syrill and Capricia, and you don't want anything bad to happen to them. It took some time, but there did come a point at which I began to care for these characters, and that is to Ms. Hilton's credit.
One other thing I should say about Fauns and Filinians is that it is YA fantasy, which I will confess likely influences my reaction a little, seeing as I only read YA fantasy part-time. My bias manifests itself, for example, in my feelings that Harry Potter is a far less compelling character than most all of the adults who inhabit his world. There is something about child heroes that frequently doesn't work for me. Anyhow, that's my bias, and how it applies to the book in question is that I confess the adult characters-particularly the wolflings and cats (adult is a relative term in this universe)-to be the most interesting, and I found myself liking them much sooner than I did the protagonist. However, if I were a teen reading Fauns and Filinians, that might be an altogether different case (kids dress up as Harry Potter all the time, after all).
At the end of the day, I can recommend Fauns and Filinians because there is a lot of promise here, much of it has just yet to be fulfilled. The book's target audience is likely to get more from the reading than I did, but I still found the "adult" concerns such as political intrigue to be... well... intriguing.