Friday, 29 August 2014

Half-Blood

Alex was taken out of the Covenant, a strict boarding school for the Hematoi, three years ago by her mother. She has no idea why she left, but she knows if she goes back she’s sure to face a future in servitude to the pures. When daimons kill her mother, she has little choice other than to return. Will her uncle show her lenience and give her a chance to train to be a Sentinel? A position which will give her opportunity to seek vengeance.

I have mixed feelings towards Half-Blood. It was an enjoyable enough read, a way to pass the time but I found it all too easy to put down. I’ve seen Jennifer L. Armentrout mentioned enough across the blogosphere that perhaps I had higher expectations. Maybe I was expecting something new and different and instead I got something that seemed all too familiar.

In all honesty, Half-Blood felt like a vampire novel that refused to call them vampires. Instead, they are daimons, who feed of the life force (aether) of pure and half-blood descendants of the demi-gods. They appear to do this feeding by, erm, drinking the blood of their victims. And they can also turn pures into daimons, who then lose their souls, or at least any resemblance of humanity.

The idea of the pures and half-bloods seemed a little odd, considering they are all descendants of demi-gods. That means a Greek god got down and dirty with a human and created, essentially, a half-blood offspring. This all meant the mythology came across a bit forced just for the reason to be not writing about vampires. It’s OK to write about vampires!

Aiden and Alex’s romance was set up as obvious from the start. Are we meant to be interested in them because it’s not allowed? I couldn’t generate any enthusiasm for them and Alex was rather an abrasive character from the start. I’m not sure I‘d want to carry on reading about their forbidden love for a whole series, but there are aspects I liked more and would read on for. It all depends on the focus of further books.

I liked the idea of the Apollyon and the actual Apollyon himself. Mystical power and duty bound, there's future mileage there and the one character who did't seem to fit an obvious stereotype. Seth, despite his smaller part, came across as a more real character than Aiden who, quite honestly, was a bit boring. There's an element of high school roles too, with the pretty, popular, mean girl who Alex bickers with, but not in any way that endeared her to me. I just thought she was reckless for a large portion of the story.

I wished the book had gone more into the social structure of the Hematoi and the rather disturbing servitude of the half-bloods. It’s a missed opportunity to explore prejudice and segregation, instead relying on the core romantic relationship to highlight it. Really slavery should be a bigger motivator than smooching?

This edition also includes Daimon, a prequel novella covering the events running up to Alex returning to the Covenant. The main story was slow to start so I’m glad this material was separate. I've seen some reviewers say to read it first but I don’t think it adds anything new story wise.

Half-Blood is published by Hodder and this edition is available now in paperback and ebook formats. Thanks go to the publisher for providing a copy for review.

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Also reviewed @ I'm a Book Shark | On a Book Bender



Disclosure: I received a copy of this book free of charge for review purposes only. Receipt of a book does not guarantee a review or endorsement. My reviews are my honest opinion and are not biased for the purpose of personal gain.

2 comments:

  1. aah it is shame you did not enjoy this one! Now you have said it, I agree that the themes of prejudice and segregation should have been explored. Huge opportunity missed!

    Also, huge pet peeve: The pronunciation of Daimon. In the book it said it was pronounced Dee-mun. I wish it was spelt that way because I am saying it as Day-mun and it is pissing everyone off! :')

    Great review and I hope you enjoy your next read more!

    Alex @ The Shelf Diaries

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    Replies
    1. For ages I thought the book "Daimon" was about someone called Daimon. My brain's pretty lazy though and decided they were demons so I must have got it right by default ;)

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