I have to apologize again for being M.I.A. I got a cold that really kicked me on my butt. I fell behind on my reading and I really wanted to read both Half-Blood and Vampire Academy before doing a review on either. I’ve heard a lot of talk around the blogosphere and on Goodreads. There are a lot of strong opinions around both these books because of their similarities. Vampire Academy being the one published first, a lot of hate went down on Half-Blood. I’m not one to join in on accusations and heated feelings. I do admit that these books both have strong similarities when it comes to the world both authors built. However, when I read both books I also saw a lot of differences. The main difference I saw was in the journey each heroine takes on. Yes, when you get down to the bare minimals of each protagonists’ journeys they are the same. But, a ton of other novels share this same framework. There is only so many essential storylines out there. Books are unique based on their worlds, characters, and events, not the very basics of the storyline (hence the Harry Potter vs. Star Wars comparisons). I think that with these two novels, a lot of people focused on the similarities–the ground floor of the storyline. This started the uproar. Personally, I understand how a fandom or someone so in love with a series could be offended when something similar appears. I get it. But when I read both these novels, I felt like the two main characters were going on similar, yet totally different journeys. Both faced hard obstacles, had forbidden loves, and were connected to someon
e else. However, their personalities where different; the style of writing was different; and the ultimate goal was varied. Ultimately, I enjoyed both stories a lot. The genre they fall into is a favorite of mine and their storyline structure is one I really like. In the end, it’s up to you whether you want to hate on the similarities or accept them and move past it.
Half-Blood by Jennifer Armentrout is the first book in the Covenant series. The series follow Alexandria, or Alex for short. She is a half-blood: part mortal, part Hematoi. What is a Hematoi? A Hematoi (pronounced HEM-a-toy [thanks Armentrout!]) is a half-god–the result of when a god and mortal have kids. What makes the Hematoi high up on the chain of command in the human world is their godlike powers that came from mommy or daddy. Unfortunately none of this power is transferred on to a Half-blood. I mean Half-bloods are a step up from mortals, but no real special power exists in them. Plus, they’ve pulled the short string in this world and can only exist in two roles–as a sentinel or as a
slave, I mean servant. Sentinels are warriors that hunt daimons (pronounced DEE-muns). These pesky things are the bad guys. They like to “eat” people, but especially Hematoi. I mean the half-bloods taste better then the mortals, but the Hematoi taste really good. SO Sentinals like to kick their butts so that they don’t hurt anyone.
Alex is training to be one of these badass “soldiers” when her mom decides to take her away from the Covenant. Half-blood begins three years later when Alex returns to the Covenant after being
found “rescued” by the hot pure-blood Hematoi Aiden. She has just lost her mom to the daimons and took down two others in her attempt to survive. But she’s far behind in her training and her pureblood stepfather wants her to stay at his house instead of going back to training. Luckily super hot Adien comes to Alex’s rescue and decides to help her catch up in her training. Along with trying to catch up with the rest of her class so that she can become a sentinel, Alex has to deal with the death of her mother, learns about a connection she shares with a guy named Seth, and struggles to fight her feelings for Adien. Can she prevail in it all?
Alex was a great character. I’m all for strong female leads that can kick some butt. I mean she definitely lost her edge during her absence, but she was strong all the same. I liked the way she was a fighter and “one of the guys.” She had a great tomboy feel that could also be feminine. I connected with Alex during her emotional points in the novel and in the way that she took on responsibility. She hid her emotions from almost everyone and that triggered a connection in me since I tend to do the same. She was reckless and sometimes I wanted to yell at her to not be so stupid, but then It’s like yelling at the wall since I’d probably end up making the same decisions she did. Overall, I enjoyed watching her character grow throughout the novel and the change you saw in her by the end. Her strength definitely grew–both physically and emotionally. I think this really helped portray a strong female main character that is sometimes lacking in novels and movies (although we have Katniss now).
I enjoyed Alex’s friendship with Caleb. It’s nice to see a platonic friendship between a guy and a girl. I really loved the love interest in Adien. Forbidden love is an old technique (cue Romeo & Juliet), but definitely still a favorite of many. The YA romance lover in me just loved this. It pulled me in right away and I desperately wanted to know if they’d end up together; how their relationship would develop; would there be competition? Cue in Seth who seems like he might be a second person of interest in the love department for Alex–although it might only be me who can see this possibility. There could always just be misleading foreshadowing happening. But who doesn’t love a love-triangle these days?
Additionally I enjoy Armentrout’s writing style. I fell in love with her Lux series and wasn’t surprised to find myself really liking this series as well. I do have to admit I’m more pro-Luxen then pro-Half-bloods, but I still really enjoyed this novel. Armentrout has a way of drawing you into her characters and the story surrounding them.
What I would have liked to have seen more of in this story was power-distinction like the original gods tend to have. I feel like these distinctions would somehow be passed down to the Hematoi. If not, then more of an explanation on the whole “descendant of a god” thing. I also would have liked to have seen a different type of bad guy. The daimons, although sinister, didn’t seem to fully fit the world. They seemed to vampire-like. Although this does give a unique spin on how vampire came into existence if you look at it that way. Immortal beings surviving by draining humans with immortals’ blood within them. Anyway I understand why they were the bad guys within the story because they whole “transformation into evil creature” was necessary to this world. I just wished it was somehow more relateable to the gods storyline.
Overall, I would recommend picking up this book for a read. It’s a great paranormal romance and anyone who likes The Vampire Academy, Twilight, The Mortal Instruments, and even Romeo & Juliet would enjoy this series/novel.
*I own the Kindle version
The Blurb via GoodReads
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.
My Grade: A-
Amazon Rating: 4.4/5 stars (328 reviews)
What did you think about Half-Blood? Are you pro-Alex or pro-Vampire Academy? Will you pick up Half-Blood and decide for yourself? Did you pick up on the Seth-possible love-triangle too? Leave your thoughts below!
P.S. Sentinel just came out on the book shelves of Barnes & Noble not too long ago and I’ve been staring at it longingly, but I’m no where near that far into the series yet 😦 Hopefully soon I’ll be able to take it home! How far are you in the series?