Half-Blood by Jennifer L. Armentrout
publisher: Spencer Hill Press
release date: October 18, 2011
paperback, 281 pages
intended audience: Young adult
series: Covenant, book 1
source: from publisher for review
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.
Okay. I apologize if this review ends up being a little vague. There are just way too many amazing surprises and twists to spoil in this amazing novel. One thing I will suggest: read Daimon first. It's a little prequel novella, 62 pages, takes no time at all to read (because it, also, is completely action packed!) but it adds so much depth to the story and really gives you a feel for who Alex is and the relationship between her and her mother. So important! I honestly can't imagine the story without that little added bit.
Alex is a great protagonist. She has a very entertaining, relatable voice. Smart, sensitive, a great touch of realism to her, with a perfect mix of uncertainty and bad-ass attitude...and she's got the fight in her to match. She's been pulled out of the life she knew without knowing why, and then thrown back into that life years later after a life-crushing tragedy. She has so much to face---catching up to where she should be, dealing with ugly rumors from peers, mourning the loss of her mother, and fighting off her growing feelings for a boy that she is forbidden to have feeling for---and the way she deals with it all comes across very genuinely.
Aiden was a surprising character. When we first get a glimpse of him he is this steely, mysterious, tough-guy with a reputation for being a cold and merciless trainer and sentinel. Then the exterior begins to crack and the layers peel away to reveal a person that, although he is tough, he's caring about Alex and his younger brother, and is quite damage from a personal tragedy himself. There are definitely some good, swoon-worthy moments between he and Alex, a definite sign of a well-written forbidden love. The resistance has to slip sometimes, and when it does...sigh. :)
I was completely drawn in from beginning to end. A good sign of how "un-put-downable" this was: I got this book from the publisher, but I once left the house without it (to my horror!). I couldn't wait, I immediately jumped online and downloaded the e-book to my phone. There are a few heart-stopping surprises in this story, and one in particular that completely blew me away. It's been a long time since I've been sucker-punched by a book, but this one did it. I tried not to cry, I really did. I failed. I won't give away even an inkling of what happens, but I'm sure those who've read this one know the part I mean. So read it...you know you all want to be sucker-punched, too! :D
And now I'm dying, DYING to get my hands on book two, Pure, coming out in April 2012! I need more Alex & Aiden! And Caleb (he's a fun best friend)...and even more Seth (what was up with that guy? lol).
Definitely don't miss this one!
Visit Jennifer's website here.
Purchase Half-Blood at: Amazon • BN.com • BookDepository • Indiebound