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Reviewed by Liz Konkel for Readers' Favorite
Khalan & Jane: Arrival at Ahalla by Barrington Zane follows the journey of three teenagers that must band together to stop the Spider Lord. Khalan and his foster sister, Jane, have always stood out on their planet. Jane is known for her Earth heritage, while Khalan stands out with his purple skin and unique abilities. When mysterious stranger Elaeus shows up at their house, they're warned about vampires watching them and the Spider Lord seeking to steal their powers. Before they know it, they're whisked away to an unknown place called Ahalla where they meet fellow teenager Khaius. While Jane discovers the shocking origins of her own ability known as the Fire, she finally learns the full story of her birth on Earth. As Elaeus attempts to protect them from a meeting he knows will occur, Khalan ends up in a chance encounter with a stranger connected to the Spider Lord.
Khalan, Khaius, and Jane each have a role to play, with every thread slowly coming together for an amazing journey. Every detail is precise and everything falls perfectly into place. The setting is beautiful and full of imagination. Each character is full of life and personality, even the range of robots that help care for the teenagers and provide a surrogate family. Barrington Zane has created a rich history and mythology that really make the world stand out, combining science fiction and fantasy with a mix of other planets, vampires, and robots. As the three teenagers face obstacle after obstacle, there's a balance of these wonderful moments where they get to be regular teenagers, where they form a friendship. One of the most charming moments is when Elaeus gives them a sense of normalcy by providing driving lessons. They form a nice unit that adds an emotional layer to the story. At the end you're left wanting more, with a feeling like it's just the beginning for them. So many layers to devour in Khalan & Jane: Arrival at Ahalla; a truly creative read that mixes genres into a perfect blend that's addictive and stunning. A coming of age story that finds Khaius, Khalan, and Jane confronting their powers, their pasts, and their futures.