Book title: Half-Blood
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Series: The Covenant Series, #1
Publisher: Spencer Hill Press
Release date: October 2011
Format: Paperback, 281 pages
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.
A lot of people have compared Half-Blood to Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy. I have not read Vampire Academy, so I went into this book with no expectations regarding similarities.
In the world of Half-Blood, which incorporates Greek mythology, Hematoi are descendants of the gods, and are considered pure-blooded. A Hematoi + Hematoi = pure-blood offspring. A Hematoi + human mortal = half-blood offspring. Halfs are looked down upon by the pures, are basically the “lower-class,” and pretty much have only two choices in life: if they’re lucky, serve as Sentinels who hunt daimons, or, if they’re not as lucky, become servants in the homes of the pures. (The whole class system was interesting as well as depressing.) Also, for good measure: Pure + Half = FORBIDDEN!
In a nutshell, Half-Blood is about Alex (short for Alexandria), a half-blood, who is training to become a Sentinel so she can seek revenge on the daimons that killed her mother. Alex’s teacher is Aiden, a super-hot pure-blood Sentinel. So, yeah, now you’ve got the gist of it.
Alex was super reckless and quite a hothead, but I still really liked her and thought her sarcasm was hilarious. (Jennifer L. Armentrout writes wonderful snark that never fails to get me chuckling.) Still, Alex did some really stupid things, and her refusal to play by the rules of the world and the rules of the Covenant school made things ten times trickier than they had to be. She was an absolute risk taker. I understood her motives for taking those risks, but it was still frustrating.
I really liked Aiden. I loved his unwavering determination and faith in Alex. He was strong, he was patient. Aiden’s definitely a great guy. Too bad his and Alex’s romantic situation is supremely complicated because of the rules about how pures and halfs are forbidden to form ties.
Then there’s Seth, the current Apollyon, an extremely powerful half-blood whose role is to keep all the pures in check and the world balanced. (Yeesh, what a job. And, sadly, it’s one that picks you.)
Now, you may be saying, “Wait, wait, wait — are you saying that there’s a love triangle?!” And I’d have to answer, “Um, possibly.” I’m not sure. It looks like it’s headed that way. Nothing’s too triangle-y in this first book, thank goodness, but Seth’s an important character who is obviously going to be ever more present in the next book. I’m team Aiden all the way, though. Seth’s mysterious and really quite interesting, but I’m not a huge fan of his yet. Also, Seth now has his own spin-off series, starting with The Return, so it’s pretty obvious he doesn’t end up with Alex. (Whew!)
There’s also Caleb… who is awesome and quickly established as someone Alex has no romantic feelings toward and vice versa. The two are best friends and think of each other as siblings. It was amazing to have a relationship between a girl and a guy where they trust each other, confide in each other, stick up for each other, and have a super-tight bond that’s purely friendship/family love.
You may have noticed all the guys in Alex’s life… That’s because there is an incredible lack of girls at the Covenant. Now, that’s very likely due to the fact that it’s summer and only a few of the students are staying at the school over the break, but even so — I felt like I was in a reverse-harem anime sometimes. Even the people running the place are men: Alex’s uncle, the Dean, and Alex’s step-dad, the Minister. The only girls I can even remember are Lea and Olivia, and they were pretty sidelined characters who had nothing to do with the overall plot. I’m hoping Alex gets a best gal friend or a small circle of girls she hangs out with in the next book, because, as much as I do like these boys, there’s too much testosterone in the pages and I am dying for some kick-ass women to totally trample the men from time to time.
Half-Blood has a good plot, it doesn’t dilly-dally around talking about the flowers and the exact hue of the sunset, it’s got some creative world-building, it’s got great main characters, it has a few sexy scenes, and it really shows a lot of promise for where the rest of the series is headed. (SPOILER ALERT! JUST SKIP TO THE NEXT PARAGRAPH IF YOU HAVEN’T READ HALF-BLOOD! I also totally called that Alex was going to be the second Apollyon. But, then again, maybe it wasn’t even supposed to be a secret, since the giant clue was so giant and blatantly obvious. Also, I thought that Alex’s mom getting turned into a daimon was an interesting twist. I had an inkling that she didn’t die like we thought, but I didn’t expect her to become a daimon — and an evil and twisted one at that. I also thought her mom would last through the whole series as an antagonist… but then she died at the end…. OR DID SHE. We shall see. END OF SPOILERS.)
While I really, really enjoyed Half-Blood, but it didn’t wow me. I still am going to read the entire series because Jennifer’s books are addicting like that, but I didn’t completely fall in love with the story. (Also, a bit of a side note, there’s no major cliffhanger at the end of Half-Blood, which was nice, but everything is definitely still pretty messed-up and there’s going to be a lot of new problems that will need to get resolved. I can’t wait!) That being said, I do remember really enjoying but also not absolutely loving Obsidian, Jennifer’s first book in the Lux series — which grew steadily better and better with each book. Hopefully Pure, book 2 in the Covenant series, will completely hook me. I mean, I’m definitely hooked, but I’m not yet drooling on the floor. Although I expect to be, soon. ♦
So tell me…
Have you read Half-Blood? If you haven’t, would you be interested to? What was the last book you read that had a forbidden romance? How about a book that incorporated Greek mythology? Comment below letting me know! And, as always, happy reading!