Half-Blood by Jennifer L Armentrout
Publisher: Spencer Hill Press
Format: Kindle Edition
Plot: In this day and age, gods really do exist and from their unions with mortals come the Hematoi, demi-gods called Pures. When the Hematoi mix with mortals, further diluting their blood, they make Half-Bloods. The life of a half blood is easy: either train to become a Sentinel or become a mindless servant for the Pures. To be honest, life as a Sentinel isn’t so bad as long as you’re able to keep away from the wraithlike Daimons intent on sucking the soul right out of Hematoi, Pures, and Half-Bloods alike. When 17 year old half-blood Alexandria’s is ripped away from her life at the Covenant where she’s trained since birth to be a Sentinel, she knows her mother is only acting in her best interests. There has to be a purpose behind what her mother does. But once her mother dies and the Sentinels come looking for Alex to bring her back to the Covenant, she doesn’t understand what the Pures want from her. She’s just another Half-Blood with a penchant for disobeying the rules but against all odds, she is given a chance to prove herself. When she is paired up with the perfect Sentinel, Aiden, in the hopes of bringing her up to snuff in order to graduate, Alex comes dangerously close to breaking the one rule the Covenant strictly adheres to: love between Pures and Half-Bloods is forbidden and if a couple is caught, the Half Blood is sentenced to a lifetime of servitude. Struggling to master skills she lost after three years away, Alex must fight to stay alive as Daimons begin cropping up around the school with alarming frequency, a snarky blond Half-Blood with fantastic powers joins the Covenant, and her feelings for a Pure nose dive straight past friends into the forbidden zone.
Review: If you’ve ever read any Jennifer L Armentrout book, you know what her forte is: uber strong female characters who like to kick butt, don’t sit quietly, and tend to fall in serious like with all the wrong boys (Umm, Daemon and Katy anyone?!). Drawing on what she does best, Half-Blood does not disappoint. Alex is the kick butt heroine to end all kick butt heroines. She’s snarky, impulsive, and moody and loves to let her aggression fly in the face of injustice. She never sees a battle she won’t jump in the thick of and tries her hardest to earn more rights for herself and fellow Half-Bloods. After three years away from the Covenant, living her life as she wants to and not dictated by Pures, Alex has had it with being told she’s a second class citizen. Luckily, hottie hot and pretty perfect Sentinel Aiden is ready to help her learn her proper place in society but he in no way makes her feel inferior. In fact, Aiden treats everyone with a sense of propriety and fairness which is hard to swallow from someone so young. I have to admit, something about Aiden made him seem a little too good to be true: he’s just too perfect at everything. Too good at being a Sentinel; too good at differentiating between right and wrong even though he’s been brainwashed since birth to think otherwise; too good at seeing through Alex’s tough exterior to the scared girl she is on the inside; too good to want to ruin her life by admitting he cares for her. I could go on but I won’t because there’s nothing inherently wrong with this sort of character. I just like a bit more bad boy in my heroes and Aiden came off as way too nice. But their characters mesh really well together regardless–she’s tough while he’s sensitive, she’s wily while he’s straight forward, she’s way into making out while he knows that he better keep a cool head or she’ll be shunted off to the servants’ quarters…
All in all, this first novel in the series is a good to start to learning about Gods, Hematoi/Pures, Half-Bloods, and Humans. The writing is superb: fast paced and exciting, opening up a new world that co-exists with our own and is so seamlessly integrated you’d never know it was there. Aiden and Alex are perfect foils for each other though I hoped for more of a bad boy vibe as we got to know him better. I guess Alex has enough angst and violent tendencies for the both of them and he just cancels them out. The one thing I did love was the will they?/won’t they? aspect of Alex and Aiden’s relationship. You can see where all the fighting, mentoring, and talking are going…you hope it won’t cause you don’t want to see either get hurt because of their forbidden love but god all you want is for them to get together! That aspect of the book was fraught with tension and really made me fly through the last half to discover if they can keep their hands off each other even though it spells certain doom! Then insert the super sexy bad boy Half-Blood, Seth, into their relationship and the triangle that results is incendiary! (More about Seth when we review Pure)
In the end I’m giving this 9 out of 10 mainly just because I wanted more bad with my boy.
Based on the following criteria:
How much did I like the heroine: 9. Alex is a lot of fun. Outgoing, never whiny, beautiful but unaware of that, street smart, always ready to kick some butt. If I were asked to picked the one character trait that I disliked the most though it would be the fact that she fights first, thinks later. I get that she’s only 17 and with emotions on high alert, it’s easy to want to use fists instead of wits but sometimes I wanted to bang my a head against a wall and shout: COME ON! You know what you’re about to do is stupid and way more violent than is necessary here. Be smart for once and don’t do it! But would she listen? Nope…she earns points for never giving up though.
How much did I like the love interest: 7. Aiden. Aiden, Aiden, Aiden. I have issues with you, buddy, the most glaring of which is: you are far too good and perfect than is healthy or normal for a young man. God! Don’t you ever make mistakes? Aren’t you ever less than perfect? It got old so quickly. Actually it was like looking at those Olympic athletes that were everywhere the last few weeks: they’re perfect, they know it, they’re only 18, and man, they made me feel bad about myself for being not 18, not perfect, and not hard bodied any longer. Sigh. I read books to meet characters who do even more stupid stuff than I do but Aiden would never do that. Oh no, we’re only allowed a few glimpses of bad boydom when Seth, the Half-Blood with tons of powers, comes to stay at the Covenant. But we don’t see him enough to cancel out Aiden’s hold over Alex.
Actually let me give Seth a score here too: 10! That’s right sexy, snarky, blond, bad boy hottie who loves to rile up Alex and annoy her while also flirting with everything female in a two mile radius. He is fabulous! Totally hot, totally touchable in a way that makes him dirty sexy, and way more personality than Aiden will ever have. If only Seth could have been in more of this book. Then I would have been much happier.
How believable is the plot: 10. Push aside the fact that we’re talking about Gods and their offspring living among us, and get ready to get blown away by high school laced with weapons’ training and forbidden romance. It’s soap opera at its best! Totally cheesy but totally believable if you suspend your idea of normal and reality.
How much did I like the writing style/editing/etc: 10. Jennifer L Armentrout is a goddess among writers: she writes amazing dialogue, has off beat and moving plots that grab a reader by
the ears and shove him into the story, a fantastic editor or the ability to write with absolutely NO mistakes (is that even possible?), and tight pacing that keeps your stomach in knots though you want more.
How much did I want to keep reading: 10. Do Alex and Aiden get together? Do the Half-Bloods ever gain the same rights as Pures? Do we ever get to see the real Gods? Thank god there’s at least 3 more books in this series otherwise I would be bereft.
Final Score: 9/10. Totally engaging read with a really interesting premise and the possibility to hook us in even more. If Aiden could just loosen up a little, then it would be a 10/10! Guess I gotta wait for book 2…
For those of you who are Purists (huh, pun totally intended), I did NOT mention Seth a whole lot in this review. But have no fear, a whole lot of Seth is gonna make an appearance in our review of Pure.
If you’ve already read this book and/or other books in the Covenant series, and you want to weigh in on the debate between which Covenant hottie is, well, hotter, check out our Seth vs Aiden Poll and tell us what you think!
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