Monday, 18 June 2012

Review: Half-Blood (Covenant #1) by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Half-Blood (Covenant #1) by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Publication Date: October 18, 2011
Publisher: Spencer Hill Press
Pages: 304
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Mythology
Source: Bought it

Book Description from Goodreads:
The Hematoi descend from 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.


After reading Obsidian from Armentrout’s Lux series, I figured I’d go in search of her other books to read since I enjoyed Obsidian immensely. I wasn’t really sure how well Armentrout would be able to cross from the alien genre to a more classical mythology based genre. But she definitely doesn’t disappoint!

Half-Blood is much darker, grittier and more action packed. However she still manages to illustrate her signature skills in crafting rich characters with sarcastic and sharp dialogue and weaving a complex mythology into her stories.

In the beginning of Half-Blood, the reader is immediately thrown into a tense situation with Alex (aka Alexandria). She’s fending for her life against Daimon’s after a escaping a horrific attack, while trying to make it to the safe haven of a Covenant. It really helps if you’ve read the prequel novella Daimon, but as I iterated in my review of that one - it’s not completely necessary. Armentrout gets to the bloody details soon enough.

I loved the character of Alex. She’s hilarious, doesn’t take crap from anyone, and has a bad ass attitude that’s just seeping from her pores. Although, this cockiness can sometimes be her downfall, especially with the adults in her life that try to reign in her free will, but it wasn’t anything that a few training kicks to the head couldn’t correct. She’s very much one of those girl’s that’s “one of the boys”, what with being surrounded by a gaggle of headstrong soldiers and being able to hold her own in a fight.

Aiden the love interest that’s ever present in Alex’s mind is amazing as a stern but effective instructor while having this absolutely adorable side to him. He cares much more than he lets on, and he was surprisingly really passionate…which lead to some really steamy scenes between him and Alex (which so happens to be another specialty of Armentrout’s).

I found that Aiden was slightly overshadowed by the other male secondary characters like Caleb the ever dependable best friend, Kain the more aloof Sentinel friend of Aiden and insanely powerful riddle that is Seth. I mean, sure I felt for Aiden, but I was emotionally stressed at points for Caleb and Kain, and I really wondered (and still do wonder) where Armentrout will take us with Seth.

Armentrout was surprising in her portrayal of the Daimon’s. It was terrifying reading the visceral feeding descriptions and the flickering images between their ghoulish and beautiful guises.

The atmosphere that Armentrout creates is one that’s filled with tense political situations where one improper move can cost Alex everything that she’s managed to salvage back together. But there’s something much bigger and darker at play that comes as a complete curve ball to the reader. While Armentrout gives us a sample of the escalating tension between Daimons and Hematoi, it’s the taste of Alex’s possible future that really piqued my attention after some huge secrets are revealed and Alex faces some serious moral dilemmas. 

Rating: 5/5 Steaming HOT Cups of tea! 
Armentrout doesn't disappoint yet again! She combines humor, love interests with heart pounding action, political intrigue, heart wrenching decisions and a destiny that's greater than anything Alex ever imagined.
I'm so glad that I still have Pure (Covenant #2) to read still so that I can find out what's up next for Alex before Deity (Covenant #3) comes out this fall.

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