Thursday, 11 December 2014

Half-Blood by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Series: Covenant, Book One
Publisher: Spencer Hills Press/Hodder
Format: Paperback
Published: 15th December 2011
Number of Pages: 304
Book: Bought
Genre: Paranormal, Mythology, Fantasy, Romance, Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy, Thriller, Suspense, Action-Adventure, Greek Myths, YA
Recommended Age: 14+
Contains: Violence, Death, Swearing, Alcohol, Sexual References
No Drug References
Author's Site: Jennifer L. Armentrout

Warning: This review will be an excited rambling of a fangirl. 
You have been warned…

Could you kill the one you love?
The Hematoi descend from the union 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.

You will kill the ones you love.
Fate had been right about that...”
Once upon a time, the gods walked among humans.  They had children with humans, who came to call themselves the Hematoi.  The child of two Hematois are pure-bloods and have godly powers – and godly views of themselves. 
The offspring of a Hematoi and a human is a half-blood.  They have no powers and only two choices: to become servants for the pure-blood, with no free-will or thoughts... 
Or they can become Sentinels and hunt the Hematoi who have renounced the gods and taken to stealing aether, the godly essence.  Daimons. 
Alexandria Andros has just returned to the Covenant after her mother took her and ran.  Alex doesn't know why they left.  All she knows is the one she cares about most is gone and she has to return to her kind – to the Covenant, so she can train to kill the daimons that hunt her. 
Of course, her becoming a Sentinel depends on her catching up on the years she missed – and on the gorgeous pure-blood Aiden St Delphi. 
The main rule when you're a half-blood is this: Never fall for a pure-blood.  They're untouchable. 
Unfortunately, Aiden makes sticking to that rule damn near impossible...
Once again caught up in the power plays, politics and dangers of the Covenant, Alex must find out why her mother left before the secret destroys everything.  And that reason might not be the only shock that hits her, now that she's returned to her own world...
Have I mentioned how much I adore Jennifer Armentrout?  Only a million times?  Huh?  So few?  Well, I best sort that out, hadn't I?  I freaking love Jennifer Armentrout.  And I'm seriously peeved that I left reading Half-Blood for so long.  Why?  Because I freaking loved it.  It was so, so amazing.  It was funny, witty, so many layers of awesome, addictiveness and so very fast-paced.  I read the whole book in a single sitting, completely ignoring any company we may have had (rude, but when a book's this good you just don't care) and even the chocolate that was on the table.  And yes, it really was that good.  
I'm gonna start my crazy ramblings with Alex.  She was awesome – kickass, but also really untrained, strong as nails, but very vulnerable, funny and witty and just brilliant.  I loved her in Daimon and I loved her even more in Half-Blood.  I just loved all of her – how she isn't perfect, how she doesn't let the deaths destroy her but also doesn't just jump up and get over it right away.  She has to fight to carry on, but she does carry on, and I love her for that.  Almost as much as I love her for her snarky wit and sarcastic remarks!
And as for Aiden, our forbidden love...  Oh, yummy.  He is gorgeous.  I didn't think I could love anyone as much as I love Daemon Black, Jennifer's other hottie, but I love Aiden almost as much.  He's Daemon's complete opposite: more serious, less snarky; he has a really brilliant dry sense of humour, is all broody and worldly and protective and then there's the whole forbidden badboy thing.  C'mon, you gotta love that.  Plus, he's just Aiden, ok?  Those grey eyes...  Sigh.  I love him.
And the forbidden romance, fight training and exchanges of witty remarks...  Forgive me while I swoon.  I just love these two together – damn all the stupid rules!  They should be together!  Or, failing that, Aiden can be mine.  You know.  Worst Case Scenario (For Alex)...
Oh, and I must mention Aiden's brother Deacon, who is equally brilliant – he absolutely kills me!  He reminds me a tiny bit of Adrian Ivashkov – he's snarky, always drunk, funny and sweet.  I loved him and really really want to see more of him!
Then there's Seth, who I can't figure out but who intrigues me.  Caleb: who's so sweet and who I love.  Marcus: again undecided.  Lucian: I hate him (lying, smarmy, enterbadwordhere).  Rachelle: My heart breaks.  All of them are just so brilliant – and so awesome!
And the world...  I had this whole rant in my review of Daimon where I just ramble about how this world is like Vampire Academy's world and how completely, amazingly different it is too.  I mean, sure, VA has vampires and that's totally awesome.  But the Covenant series?  It has gods, people!  Freaking Greek Gods.  It's like Percy Jackson meets Vampire Academy meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  Camp Half-Blood meets St Vlads.  It is totally freaking awesome!  I love the idea of daimons, of Hematoi, of half-bloods, of the Apollyon, all the legends and gods and myths.  They are so freaking awesome and I would so move to this world if I could, enter the Covenant and train to be a Sentinel – under Aiden St Delphi, of course! 
Ok now, I'm gonna admit this upfront: I did see some of the twists coming.  One thing in particular about Alex I guessed pretty early on.  But others?  Um, no.  And I adore Jennifer's habit of just killing people off.  Not enough books do that.  But if you kill my favourites (Alex, Aiden, Caleb, Deacon) I will cry.  A lot.  Just sayin'.  The point is, the plot was awesome, twisty, action-packed and so very addictive.  I rushed through it and instantly picked up Pure, which I'm a good way through even as I write this!  I loved the plot to pieces, and I loved Alex's voice just as much – it was just so Alex, you know? Funny, witty, sarcastic, kinda vulnerable at times.  I loved it!
Ok, sometimes this is similar to Vampire Academy – in all the best ways.  But that... that isn't why I love the Covenant series.  Because it's just so much more than 'similar-to-VA'.  It has its own characters, its own smouldering romances, its own kickass plots, its own I-wanna-move-in-right-now world, and it's very own addictiveness that runs through all Armentrout books.  It leaves me needing more – always more – and thanking the gods that I have the next couple of books.  Trust me, I’m already ordering the others!  
Half-Blood has left me craving Pure and the world of the Covenant series the way daimons crave aether – i.e., I have no control and will go on a killing spree if I don't get another hit right now.  Ok, I don't really think daimons kill when they don't have aether.  They probably die or something...  Point is: I'm stopping this crazy, rambling review right now so I can get back to Pure.
If that and freaking ignoring chocolate isn't a sign of how amazing Half-Blood is, I don't know what is.  I don't think I'll threaten you again.  I think I did that twice in my review of Daimon.  Wait 'til Pure.  I'm sure I'll be titanium-wielding and element controlling, ready to force everyone in the world to read Jennifer's books...
And on that note: Happy Reading!

Star Rating:
4½ Out of 5

Read this book if you liked:
Lux by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
Percy Jackson by Rick Riordan
Anti-Goddess by Kendare Blake
The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare

Challenges It's Taking Part In:
Happy Reading


Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Death Bringer by Derek Landy

Series: Skulduggery Pleasant, Book One
Publisher: HarperCollins
Format: Paperback
Published: 29th March 2012
Number of Pages: 604
Book: Bought
Genre: Paranormal, Fantasy, Comedy, Urban Fantasy, Thriller, Suspense, Horror, Action-Adventure, Mystery, Children's, YA, Children's-YA Crossover
Recommended Age: 9+
Contains: Violence, Death, Swearing, Very Mild (And Hilarious) Sexual Innuendos 
No Alcohol or Drug References
Skulduggery Pleasant Site: Skulduggery Pleasant


Meet Skulduggery Pleasant: detective, magician, warrior.
Oh yes, and dead.
The Death Bringer has risen.  Skulduggery and Valkyrie have seven days to uncover the Necromancers’ secret before it’s too late.
The clock is ticking.  Lord Vile is loose.  And after this one, nothing will ever be the same again.

"On Sunday the world changes."
"On Sunday the world is saved."
"Yes," Skulduggery said, "well, we’ll see about that..."
The Death Bringer has been chosen – but it's not Valkyrie Cain (for once)...  The Death Bringer, who is meant to bring about the mysterious 'Passage', which is meant to make the world better and solve death.  Too good to be true?  Almost certainly...
Lord Vile, the previous candidate for Death Bringer, has also returned.  He's also a notorious war criminal.  Not good.
And meanwhile the Sanctuary is going through massive changes, the Faceless Ones fanatics are stirring again, Tanith is missing, China's being blackmailed and Val is having some serious boyfriend troubles...
I'd forgotten about Death Bringer – forgotten, repressed, same difference...  All the  Skulduggery Pleasant books get progressively darker as the series goes on.  But this one... it just breaks my heart every time.  So very many things go so very wrong and... uh!  I can't read Death Bringer without getting this horrid spasm in my heart.  And yet even as these painful little twinges were happening, I was laughing my head off.  Because Derek Landy has a serious gift.  Hell, he has gifts plural; mad gifts. He's so gifted that his freaking gifts have gifts, and they too have gifts, and then they...  You get the picture, right?  My point is I adore Skulduggery Pleasant
Skulduggery... you understand so much more about him in this book – why he is who he is, why he's like he is.  And... to begin with it's a little disturbing but then... then your heart breaks in two.  Oh, Skulduggery!  I just want to give him a hug, even if it would be a little bit of a painful hug – you know, all the bones.  He is a skeleton, after all.  Ok, sorry: these jokes suck...  Moving on: he's so amazing, he's so funny and he's so damaged.  I love him.
As for Valkyrie: she annoyed me in this one.  She was just... selfish.  And also a little mean – poor Fletch!  However, she was also badass and funny and real and good at heart.  Come on: what teenager isn't a little self-involved?  And also the poor girl's had a hell of a lot to deal with, especially for a sixteen-year-old.  You just have to see her with Skulduggery or her uncle or her parents or her baby sister to see what a good person Val really is.  I really love this girl – flaws and all.
Speaking of Fletcher Renn – break my heart!  Poor poor Fletch...  I really felt for China in this one too: she's done some bad stuff but she's trying to make amends.  She has friends for the first time ever and she doesn't want to be alone anymore.  I want to give her a hug too.  And then there's Caelan...  Um, he creeped me out.  He was also unintentionally hilarious – with his cliché gothic proclamations of "eternal" and "burning passion".  Ha!  Seriously: so funny!  But my fave supporting character?  Val's dad: that man seriously kills me!  
Once again, and as always, Landy's writing is second to none.  It's not the most elegant, but it's adrenaline-fuelled, action-packed, hilarious and surprisingly emotional and deep for a MG fantasy book featuring a skeleton detective.  I love Landy's writing – so, so much.  And as for the plot for this one: Unpredictable.  Awesome.  A roller coaster.  Non-stop.  These are just a few of the words that pop to mind.  Awesome in particular, since Derek Landy is undeniably awesome.  Oh, totally twisty is another phrase – because damn!  Death Bringer is just full of twists!  Seriously: this book is as unpredictable as a rabid dingo on drugs!  Does it get any more unpredictable than that?
To sum it up, Death Bringer was the most awesome book out of the most awesome series.  I know I say that with each new book, but it's true.  Death Bringer was emotional, hilarious, addictive and a perfect escape.  I wish I could live in this world, with these people – even if I died or was just in the background.  Because I love them all that much.  Love Derek Landy and SP that much.  And I really, really want you all to read this series if you haven't yet.  I mean, you've been listening to me gush about this series for six books: when are you going to take my advice and read this amazing, amazing series?!
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go and reread Kingdom of the Wicked.  Ciao!

Oh: P.S. This should be Derek Landy's catchphrase: "Be off with you.  I have a book to write, characters to kill, and a party to plan." That is literally the most Derek Landy thing ever, even if it came out of Gordon’s mouth.

Star Rating:
5 Out of 5

Read this book if you liked:
Skulduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy
Percy Jackson by Rick Riordan
Department 19 by Will Hill
The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare

Happy Reading