Friday, 22 August 2014

Half-Blood



Half-Blood
Rating: 5/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of Bookbridgr

Alex Andros is a half-blood courtesy of her pure blood mum getting it on with a mortal. Now if you're a pure- blood, you get these epic godlike powers, seeing as how you're descended from Gods having flings with mortals, but if you're a half -blood like Alex? Well you've got two options....drink some freaky elixir and spend the rest of your life being a slave or train to become a sentinel and hunt daimons. I'm sure you can tell which option Alex picked.

Three years ago, Alex and her mum fled the safety of the Deity Island Covenant, no-one, least of all Alex, knows why, but after a tragic run in with a couple of daimons, Alex is found and dragged back to the Covenant. She doesn't get quite the welcome party she hopes for, narrowly avoiding becoming enslaved and all, luckily for her Aiden steps in and offers to spend his spare time away from his Sentinel duties helping her catch up so she can resume her training....but she's on thin ice. One slip...and it's buh bye kicking Daimon ass and being all revengey, and hello scrubbing toilets for her horrific step father.

Simple right? Weeeeelll did I mention Aiden is a pure-blood? Did I mention that there's a bunch of rules and rule number one is that relationships between halfs and pures are forbidden? Alex can't avoid falling for Aiden, but things get even more complicated when Alex gets a cryptic warning from the Oracle, Seth aka the Apollyon aka a totally badass half who can control all the elements and a super special fifth one, and Alex finds out the real reason her mother fled the Covenant with her. Not to mention everything they knew about Daimons....could be very very wrong. Following the rules, and surviving until graduation just became reaaallly hard.

"The pures believed she communed with the Gods. I believed she communed with a lot of liquor." 
 I love Armentrouts books, I say this every single time! And I've lusted after this series for a while, so when it got shiny new covers wellll......

....I couldn't resist it when I saw it on Bookbridgr, I mean look at how pretty the cover is! And this edition has the prequel to Half-Blood in it as well, which is fun to read before you read Half-Blood...or after, whatever floats your boat.

As soon as you start reading Half-Blood you're thrown in to the action straight away with Alex, and you're pretty much hooked from page one. The opening scene is full of tension and allusions to events we haven't witnessed and it hooks you completely. Especially when Aiden shows up with his badass entrance worthy of a movie. From there, it's fast paced all the way and you're unable to put the book down!

Half-Blood is incredibly unique to everything out there in the YA genre, and you can see it from opening chapter. There's daimons, halfs, pures and Gods. The mythology behind the daimons is rich and like I said, unique, Pures get turned, only halfs can see what they really are after they're turned, hence why they get trained up to hunt them. We've got the whole take on the Gods, and you get fed some little bits of myths. Then we have the Apollyon, who has the Buffy "one born every generation" shebang going on, and gets to control all the elements, something no other half can do, Pures get one element each, and he gets control over the fifth element...Akasha. Like I said, it's some very detailed and rich mythology.

The world building is also astounding. We get this incredibly rich, unique world, shrouded in mystery and things you just NEED to know now, with Greek Gods woven in to it and Greek mythology. It's a modern world, yeah, but it has Greek accents, shall we say? The world that's created will suck you in, and you'll leave kinda wishing you could go to the Covenant, everything is written very vividly.

I love Alex, I really do, she is like my twin and probably the only person who can match me for snark. I love snarky badass characters and Alex is the best of them. She's not perfect, she could be described as having some anger issues, but the imperfections make me love her more, and make her some more realistic and human. Alex is written very realistically, and with plenty of depth as well as being a strong character. Her speech is very current and up to date, and I picked up more than one phrase from her! Alex's inner monologue and narrative is engaging and incredibly entertaining, I'm not talking little chuckles here, I'm talking ugly snort laughing!

"-more than just her merry band of psychos."

Aiden is kind of aloof, at first, and you're fed this little bit of backstory about him, but you still want to  know more, you can see what drives him and shaped him, and how he looks after his brother is and is like a parent is cute, but also kinda sad for him. Aiden is generally adorable, the little things he does for Alex with the uniform and everything for example, and it's way obvious he likes her but doesn't want anything bad to happen to her.

Seth is....Seth. He's intriguing, we don't really know much about him, where he comes from and so on, we just know he's the Apollyon and like Alex, you kinda wanna smack him upside the head sometimes. He and Alex have a connection that's more than what it first appears, shall we say.

Our main characters are all written so vividly they jump off the page, and the same goes for the secondary characters. I particularly love Caleb and his friendship/relationship with Alex, they're hilarious together! Alex is written so well you can connect with her easily and feel what she feels, so Lucian you just want to punch and Marcus I'm just like ugh what a douche. You literally go through Alex's emotions with her, through the good and the bad.

The romance isn't full throttle from the go. It builds slowly, you watch it start, slowly blossom and develop, but there's a pretty huge obstacle in the way. That's not to say there aren't any cute scenes, there totally are, and the two of them are ridiculously adorable, warm and fuzzies all the way, you end up squealing internally along with Alex. We're watching the beginning stages of the "we like each other, but...." phase. They can't get together straight away but the potential is there. Aiden gets Alex, and he's adorably protective but he does know she can hold her own.

There is also the potential for a love triangle, but this one is going to be interesting. It's against the rules for Alex and Aiden to be together and he won't let anything happen in case they get found out and Alex ends up a slave, and with Seth there's the whole connection thing. Alex doesn't have feelings for Seth but their bond, and the fact it will get stronger, is going to be a spanner in the works. There's going to be the whole "is this because of the connection thing or?"

As for the writing, Half-Blood is written cinematically in my opinion, the flow is fantastic, each chapter ends making you want to read on. The plot is fairly complex, there's different things going on, different mysteries to work out, or try to, you have to put the pieces together, and nothings as it seems at first. I mean you could be forgiven for thinking the main deal with the plot is Alex falling for Aiden, some torrid love affair occurs and there's lots of training. No. As I said, we see the start of Aiden and Alex, wisps you could say, there's so much more going on than the synopsis leads you to believe, there's secrets and plots, and a tonne of plot twist you won't see coming and will shock you to the "mouth hanging open, uncomprehending" stage.

Another thing I enjoyed about the book is how there was all the potential to leave it on a cliffhanger for the next book, I was kind of expecting, but instead you get this incredibly beautiful, eyes slightly welling up, ending that finishes the book perfectly.

This'll be one of those books you re-read until it's falling apart!

"Grandma had apparently missed that memo"

As for the prequel, it's incredibly fleshed out, just as much as the actual novel, I find this rare in novellas not going to lie. It basically details Alex being accepted in to the Covenant, the events leading up to, and the death of, her mother, and then the events immediately before Half-Blood, like how she ended up where she was for example. Alex's characterization runs true to the book, she's just as snarky. There's lots of information woven in to this action packed novella, and it's a fantastic continuation of the story. It gives you loads more insight in to Alex as a character and what her life was like for her in the mortal world. There's even some mentions of Aiden *winkwink*. It's also kind of heartbreaking to read about Alex with her mum and see what their relationship was like, not gonna lie!

Half-Blood is a humorous, fun, and un-put-down-able read, with a world and characters that are expertly built, engaging, and suck you in. The characters are as vivid as the world, and you connect to them so easily, the world...well...I kinda wanna live in it! Half-Blood entertains, while perfectly setting up the next book incredibly subtly and almost like an afterthought. Half-Blood is a must read, there's so much more to explore in the world created, and the potential for the story arc is astounding.



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