Review: Half-Blood by Jennifer L. Armentrout
October 15, 2012 § Leave a comment
Date released: 18th October 2011
Publisher: Spencer Hill Press
Author’s website: www.jenniferarmentrout.com
My source: Amazon Kindle Store
Part of a series: Yes, #1 in the Covenant Series
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.
This is a very difficult book for me to review. It’s sheer bad luck on Half-Blood’s behalf that I’d just recently finished reading Richelle Mead’s Last Sacrifice just a few weeks ago. A lot of people have been comparing Half-Blood to the Vampire Academy series, and… yeah. The similarities and parallels are almost too good to be true. So, I’ll try my best to review this in isolation.
Don’t get me wrong! I just thought I’d be a bit more engrossed… a little more caught up in the story. It was flashy, sure, there were some sweet and heartfelt moments but for some reason, I just wasn’t feeling it.
What worked for me:
- Seth, as a character. I never knew what to make of him and his constant irritation of Alex should have made me, as the reader, dislike him automatically. But I liked his strangeness and his reserved, sassy manner.
- Pacing. Both a good and a bad thing – the story started off full throttle and it pulled me in quickly.
- The idea of Apollyons. Ingrained in the history of the Hematoi, it was a creative and unique element that I thought was great and separated Half-Blood from the Vampire Academy series.
- The prose. It was well written, lyrical almost.
What didn’t work for me:
- The (lack of) world building. The world of the Hematoi is blurry at best. Yes, we are told about the cultural differences, the hierarchy of society and the Hematoi aligned version of creation via the Greek Gods but I wasn’t satisfied. It seemed very here-and-there, and I would have liked to have seen more of it.
- Alex, as a character. She was subliminally … stupid. Aiden called her “brave”, but everything she did had me rolling my eyes at the stupidity. You’d think that being on the run for 3 years would have made Alex a bit more stoic, a little more wary and on her guard, but nope. She would always rush into things without thinking, running off her mouth – damn the consequences, and not taking other people into consideration (that is, until she got nabbed and Caleb’s life was on her head).
- Pacing. What I didn’t like towards the end of the book was that it stuttered and lost the momentum of the first few chapters after Alex’s return to the Covenant. Where was that fast-paced, got-me-on-the-edge-of-my-seat action that appeared in the beginning of the book? It was like it went fastfastfast, then a third in and almost right till the end of the book when Alex goes out to hunt her mom, it was sloooow and then it was ahhhquickquickfaster! kind of pacing.
Parallels with Vampire Academy:
I’m adding this in here nonetheless, and I know it’s absolutely sucky of me to, but I honestly can’t help but be bothered by it. A lot of people are reviewing on GoodReads that the similarities are huge and even to the extent that Armentrout should be sued for ‘stealing ideas’. I’m not going to go that far, but the resemblance in both circumstance and action taken by the characters are uncanny.
- Capture and return to the Covenant. Living out in the mortal world only to be caught and dragged back to where they once were (Vampire Academy), similar especially as it was within the first few chapters.
- Having a hot, bad-ass trainer. Aiden and Dmitri, and both of them falling for their pupils.
- Taking on the responsibility of having to kill their loved ones: Alex and her mom and Rose with Strigoi-Dmitri. And escaping the confines of their respective schools, both Alex and Rose defied authority by seeking the one that they loved with the determination and burden of being the one to kill them.
- Pures and Half-Bloods … and Dhampirs and Moroi.
- Deacon and Adrian, as the troubled character who drinks for a reason other than the like of it.
I try never to compare books with others, but I just can’t with this one, hence the 2.5-3 stars. I’m sorry Armentrout, I tried desperately to love Half-Blood. Here’s to hoping that Pure, the second book in the Covenant series, has a lot more creativity and originality.