Monday, May 28, 2012

Half-Blood by Jennifer L. Armentrout

by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Series: Covenant # 1
Publisher: Spencer Hill Press
Publication date: Sept 20, 2011
Genre: YA-Paranormal/Urban Fantasy
Purchase: Barnes and Noble/Amazon/Book Depository 

The Hematoi descend from the unions of gods and mortals, and the children of two Hematoi—pure-bloods—have godlike powers. Children of Hematoi and mortals—well, not so much. Half-bloods only have two options: become trained Sentinels who hunt and kill daimons or become servants in the homes of the pures.
Seventeen-year-old Alexandria would rather risk her life fighting than waste it scrubbing toilets, but she may end up slumming it anyway. There are several rules that students at the Covenant must follow. Alex has problems with them all, but especially rule #1:
Relationships between pures and halfs are forbidden.
Unfortunately, she’s crushing hard on the totally hot pure-blood Aiden. But falling for Aiden isn’t her biggest problem--staying alive long enough to graduate the Covenant and become a Sentinel is. If she fails in her duty, she faces a future worse than death or slavery: being turned into a daimon, and being hunted by Aiden. And that would kind of suck. (synopsis from Goodreads)

Half-Blood is the first novel in the Covenant Series by Jennifer L. Armentrout.  In March, I brought you a review of Daimon (0.5) and you can read my thoughts on the prequel here. I picked up these books after reading some fantastic reviews by fellow bloggers. The Covenant series is an urban fantasy seeped in mythology. It has paranormal elements, a snarky protagonist and complex world-building that captured my attention. 

While it isn’t necessary to read the prequel, I did find it helpful when beginning this novel. The tale begins with our protagonist sixteen year old, half-blood, Alexandria. She is held up in an abandon building somewhere in Georgia and is being pursued by daimons. These are horrible vampire like creatures who can suck the life from a pure and change them into a daimon. A half-blood cannot be changed and are often sent into battle. Alexandria's mother who was a pure was killed and Alex has been making her way to the safety of Covenant. She manages to kill two daimon before she is overwhelmed, when two of the daimons gang up on her. Thankfully swoon-worthy, Aiden *faints* and some of the sentinels show up and rescue her. They take her back to the covenant and the tale that unfolds is fast-paced, filled with forbidden love, epic battles and a startling revelation. The story kept me completely enthralled. 

The characters Armentrout created are well fleshed out and my emotions ranged from despise to adore. Our protagonist Alex is snarky, hot tempered, fiercely loyal and stubborn. At times I wanted to just slap her and tell her to grow up and the next minute I wanted to hug her. I kept trying to remind myself how old she is, what she has been through and what she will become. Alex is determined to become a Sentinel and seek revenge for her mother’s death. Her step-father and Uncle seem to detest her. Aiden is a pure and also a Sentinel. He is under a tremendous amount of pressure; trying to raise his younger brother, and prove himself worthy. He is very serious about everything he does. It becomes completely apparent from the beginning that he harbors feelings for Alex. Because he is a pure, Alex thinks the attraction she feels is all her. She has crushed on Aiden since her days in the academy; before her mother took her and fled the coven. Then there is Seth who is a very unique and gifted half-blood. He’s opinionate, a stalker, arrogant and uber hot. He seems almost infatuated with Alex. He keeps asking her what she is. The romance between Aiden and Alex is bittersweet. It's filled with stolen moments that could totally get Alex killed. Thankfully the tale was free of insta-love, but I fear a love triangle is in our future. Other characters add to the tale, giving it believability and depth.

Armentrout’s world-building truly makes this character driven tale come to life. Living amongst us in locations all over the world are Hematoi. They descend from the union of gods and mortals. Children born of two Hematoi are called pure-bloods and have godlike powers. Those born from a Hematoi and a mortal are called half-bloods. Half-bloods have two options in life; become trained hunters of daimon called Sentinels or spend a lifetime in servitude to the pure. There are complex rules and a hierarchy within the covenants. Half-bloods cannot have children, and a relationship is forbidden with a pure. A pure is mated in an arranged marriage with another pure to sustain their lifeline. Sadly, if caught a half-blood is put to death or kicked out and a pure goes virtually unpunished. Armentrout weaves a suspenseful tale, as we learn more about Alex, and key players reveal information. We learn of discontent within the younger pure and half-bloods and talks of demanding changes to some of the rules governing them. As with any society where one type is oppressed, we see prejudice, entitlement and support. I love how she took Greek mythology and made it her own.  Her writing style, pacing and imagination left me wanting more. I am looking forward to diving into the next book.

I highly recommend Half-Blood to fans of urban fantasy, mythology and suspense.  While the romance is intense and I am all team Aiden, it was served as a side dish in this amazing action-packed fantasy. I will be bringing you my review of Pure, book two in the series sometime next month. Armentrout is on my must buy list. Her other series Lux is wildly popular right now, and I have begun purchasing those as well…reviews coming soon.

I gave this novel 4 coffee cups out of 5. 

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At May 28, 2012 at 2:04 AM , Anonymous Christy @ Love of Books said...

Grr... another series I want to read.

At May 28, 2012 at 3:27 AM , Blogger Freak-YA-tastic said...

Awesome review!
I read this novel a few months ago and loved it. You'll see, Pure is even better. Well, as a fan of Jennifer L. Armentrout I may not be the best blogger to judge. ;)
Now, I just hope to see more about the mythology in Deity.

At May 28, 2012 at 8:02 AM , Blogger Chi Kittie said...

Hi Kimberly,

Wow, awesome review! I am glad you liked the book so much. I really need to read my copy. I have had a copy sent from the author months ago and still have not read it. I won my copy and I think it is signed. This book is in a series, right?

- Beckie

At May 28, 2012 at 11:17 AM , Blogger Nick said...

I love how you detailed out everything in your review, kimba :)
I loved the characters in Half-Blood too !
Amazing review :)
I hope you like Pure as much as you loved Half Blood !

At May 28, 2012 at 11:24 AM , Blogger Dalene @ A Date with a Book said...

Like you, I've read several great reviews. Definitely on my TBR list sometime in the near future. I absolutely love the cover as well. I think I'm slightly putting off reading it because of the mythology aspect, but love the suspense idea. Thanks for a great review :)

At May 28, 2012 at 1:16 PM , Blogger Heidi@Rainy Day Ramblings said...

Fabulous review. I have a copy of this and then I shelved it after I read a couple of reviews claiming it was a VA rip off. I have since read some great reviews, including yours and now I am ready to read it. I love great world building and mythology so I know I will love those aspects. Thanks for sharing today!

At May 28, 2012 at 3:00 PM , Blogger Ellie Warren said...

I might have to gove this series a try although I keep confusing her with Jennifer Armintrout (I absolutely loved her Blood Ties series if you haven't given them a go).

At May 28, 2012 at 6:13 PM , Blogger Brenna said...

Ahh I totally love JLA's books!! And Half-blood is one of my faves <3 super, super good! This is one book where I actually don't mind the love triangle at all - I don't find it to be agonizing or all-encompassing which is nice for once.

so glad to hear you liked this one! I hope you enjoy Pure & Obsidian too :)

Brenna from Esther's Ever After

At May 28, 2012 at 6:33 PM , Blogger Sarah (saz101) said...

"He’s opinionate, a stalker, arrogant and uber hot."

AHAAH! Why is it that the word 'stalker' here, sounds so hot, and not at all creepy? XD
Aaaah, Kim, I LOVE your review! Like Heidi, I've also seen a few people say it wasn't their thing because of Vampire Academy similarities, but it sounds AMAZING! LOVE! ESPECIALLY love anything to do with Greek mythology. Sweet! ♥

At May 28, 2012 at 11:32 PM , Blogger Danny said...

Hald-Blood was the first book I read from her and I have to say I was amazed by it's epic awesomeness!! She truly is a genius and I loved her Obsidian just as much! I wasn't so taken aback by the VA similarities. You will always find similarities in different books and it didn't bother me at all.Plus, any similarities are anyway gone when reading Pure!

At May 29, 2012 at 10:16 PM , Blogger Sharon ObsessionwithBooks said...

A fantastic review Kimba! you detailed everything perfectly..

I am obsessed with everything written by JLA and I hope you like Pure as much as Half-blood & Obsidian is just as good :)

At May 30, 2012 at 8:15 PM , Blogger Michelle @ Book Briefs said...

I still can't believe that I haven't read this book yet! I really need to fix that. Great review, I can't to meet the characters and see this awesome world building you were talking about.

Thanks for the great review :)

At June 3, 2012 at 11:27 AM , Blogger The Literary Darling said...

This was a very well written review Kimba! I unfortunately have not read anything by Jennifer L. Armentrout and I could kick myself for having missed out so far! I am definitely going to read this series soon :)

At June 3, 2012 at 3:01 PM , Blogger Chapter by Chapter said...

Fantastic review Kim. I have been wanting to read this series and seeing some buzz around the blogosphere for them. Your review seriously makes me want to get it ASAP! And I loooove Jennifer L. Armentrout!

Chapter by Chapter

At June 16, 2012 at 5:12 PM , Blogger nea barabea said...

I really liked Half-Blood!! Alex rocks :D But I liked Pure more :P This serie is made of awesome! And your review is great!! :) I love Jennifer's writing so much, too :)


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