Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Publisher: Spencer Hill Press
Length: 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.
Protagonist: Alex is a really head-strong, driven, stubborn, and strong heroine. As this book continues she develops into a much more level headed character and while she's not yet a fully developed, with some definitely rough edges, this is only the first book in a six book series after all. I really liked the character of Alex she was snarky and wasn't afraid to stand up for herself, or anyone else for that matter.
Romance: So there is a bit of a love triangle in this book, though it's mostly just hints at what I'm positive will eventually come. For this book though the main love interest is a guy names Aiden, which is really, really bad, not bad for the book mind you, but for the situation it puts the characters in, for the book this type of forbidden romance is pure gold. Let me explain, Alex is a Half-Blood and Aiden is a Pure, two things that are not supposed to mix, and if they were found out by the higher ups, the results would be bad for both of them. I liked Aiden, he was a good character and the romance between him and Alex developed really well, it didn't feel too insta-love-y and how it develops over the course of the book is very mature and balanced.
World-Building: Okay this will probably be the only place I'll say anything bad about the book and the only place I'll bring this next topic up. This book is EXTREMELY similar to the Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead a series whose first book was published a good 4 years before this book. Now I'm not only talking about world-building elements, such as how Pure are pretty much Moroi, Half-Blood are Dhampir, or Daimons are Strigoi, but character personalities, and even scenes that appear to be pulled straight from VA. Now, while this book does have a lot of differences as well, such as the harsh laws forbidding Pure/Half-Blood relations, The Apollyon, and certain spoilery world-building elements and that from what I hear this series evolves into it's own thing as the series progresses, it's hard for me to deny that the author, at the very least read VA before writing this book, and I've given a lot of thought as to what this means to whether or not I'll continue this series, and I'm going to give the author the benefit of the doubt, and continue, but for those fans of Vampire Academy, just beware that this book may cause small fits of rage due to the similarities.
Predictability: Now, because of the thing I mentioned above, it wasn't really that hard to deduce most of the things that happen in this book, also the foreshadowing is fairly straight forward. However this was never really a bad thing, it was nice to know how the bigger things would turn out and I was much more interested in seeing how the characters would react to the various twists thrown their way. Now I will say that the really small, moment to moment type stuff, those weren't always so easy to guess and so every once and a while there were little surprises to enjoy.
Ending: The end of this book has a lot of exposition and really does a lot to not only set up things for the next installment in this series, but also for where the series might lead later on. It has a sort of plateaued ending as there's nothing too shocking or surprising that would lead to an initial need to read the next book other than how good this book is. In fact I read this book for a second time to review it and I haven't yet started the second book once yet.
So I've given this book a lot of thought, nearly two years worth given that the first time I read this was July 2013, and found that, at least for me, 4 stars really illustrates how good this book is. While I can forgive the extremely similar world-building, and even the similar character personalities, it was the fact that there were nearly exact scenes from Vampire Academy that led me to knocking off a star for this book. I will continue with this series though, look for my review of Pure (hopefully) on Friday, March 20th.