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.