Half-Blood by Jennifer L. ArmentroutSometimes, there are those books you just know you'll love even before you start reading it. I like to think of it as a reader's sixth-sense, you can almost feel the connection even before you crack open the pages. I felt like this when I first got my copy of Half-Blood and I am thrilled to say that I was not wrong. In fact, I was surprised that I enjoyed this even more than I thought I would. Half-Blood easily kept my interest throughout, it was exciting, touching, fun & intense. Even the slower bits held me completely absorbed and honestly, for a first book in a series and not an overall big book; I'm delighted with how much I'm already invested in this story, in these characters & in this world.
Published October 18th 2011 by Spencer Hill Press
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.
The Hematoi are essentially descendants of the Greek gods and regular humans. If someone has two Hematoi parents, they are considered 'Pures' and are at the very top of the social caste. Not only that, they have kick-ass powers like controlling an element or super strength. Someone with only one Hematoi parent and a 'regular' parent are know as 'Half-Bloods' and they are also pretty awesome BUT they are considered as inferior to Pures. A Half-Blood can either choose a life of fighting Daemons; ( who, by the way are freaky beings things that are kind of a mix between zombies & vampires who feed off the aether in the Hematoi's blood.) or be forced into the servitude of a Pure family. Alexandria or Alex, our main protagonist is a Half-Blood and her absolute worst nightmare is being forced into a life of servitude. But she's walking a very thin line at the Covenant; a school for Hematoi (usually Halfs) where they teach them kill daemons..and other cool stuff. You see, Alex has a bit of an issue with rules...one of them being that Halfs are strictly forbidden from being in a relationship with a Pure. Aiden is freaking awesome a Pure. He also happens to have an undeniable effect on Alex, one that's hard to ignore. What's far worst though are those daemons...who seem to be getting bolder with each passing day.
The plot of Half-Blood is obviously not short on excitement and the action scenes themselves were INTENSE. JLA knows how to keep you at the edge of your seat biting your fingernails! Where I really felt the author shined was the romantic bits & the relationships (friendships and romantic). I found myself really caring for all the characters that were involved with Alex. And Alex on her own is seriously awesome. I just loved her, she's brave, edgy, strong but she's not afraid to show her vulnerabilities. It wasn't one of those cases where I identified with her personally (except maybe how she's kind of a smart-ass haha) but I could really empathize with her while admiring her strength.
And Aiden...oh man. Aiden is SO swoon-worthy to me...my mind can hardly grasp it. Where have you been Aiden? He's the tall, dark and delicious type that's strong and a little intimidating at first; especially the coach/trainer element that's mixed in there. And metallic eyes? Look, I don't know what it is with me a fawning over guys with any kind of metallic eyes. All I know is that I love them and they make me weak in the knees a little and Aiden is no exception. I felt like the romantic bits developed naturally so you really get to savour the good stuff; It was like literary foreplay. Every moment was beautiful & full of meaning, simply delicious. I can see a love triangle developing in future books, and while that element has been overused recently in ya in general, I can still get into a GOOD love-triangle if there is a good reason for it AND it feels fresh. I have a feeling that this one is going to be a really good one guys!
Pretty much everything worked for me in this book: the world building was believable and felt effortless, the pacing never got sluggish over boring, and it finishes off with the perfect amount of unanswered questions: there is a clear conclusion of this story but also plenty of intrigue left over to have you pining for the next book. The romance does play a major role in the plot though, and I can see that being a turnoff for some readers. And while I didn't find Half-Blood was a particularly big book, it engaging through and through. This was my first experience with author Jennifer L. Armentrout but it most definitely will not be my last.
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars