Monday, March 25, 2013

REVIEW: OBSIDIAN ~ JENNIFER L. ARMENTROUT


Following the death of her father, Katy and her mother decide to leave the big city behind and give small town life a shot, and  so they move to a tiny town in West Virginia.  Doomed to a lonely senior year, Katy is thrilled to discover neighbours her own age and is determined to make new friends; but good intentions turn to dust as soon as Daemon Black opens the door.  He’s arrogant, off-the-scale-rude, condescending and infuriating.  It’s hate at first sight, and within five minutes of laying eyes on each other Katy promises herself and Daemon she would never knock on his door again. 

His sister, however, is a different story entirely.  Sweet, bubbly Dee bumps into Katy at the grocery store and the two become fast friends – much to Daemon’s dismay.  Katy doesn’t know what she could possibly have done to warrant Daemon’s unshakable dislike of her, but he makes it very clear that she’s unwelcome in their home, and that she’s not fit to be Dee’s friend.  Hurt by his attitude, but immune to his tactics, Katy refuses to let Daemon’s attitude destroy her precious new friendship with Dee. 

One night Daemon goes too far in his efforts to push Katy away, and when Katy’s emotional flight puts her life in danger, Daemon has no choice but to save her – no choice but to use his supernatural powers to save her.  Katy finally learns the truth; Daemon and Dee are aliens – and not the immigrant kind.

They are from the planet Lux which was destroyed by their sworn enemies – aliens from their rival planet, Arum.  It turns out that Daemon has good reason for dissuading Katy from being Dee’s friend: humans close to them tend to get hurt.  The Arum have also descended on Earth, their mission to find the Luxen and steal their powers, killing them in the process.  Katy learns that Daemon and Dee had a brother, Dawson, who fell in love with a human girl.  When Dawson was caught by the Arum, his girlfriend was taken as well, never to be seen again.  Daemon was not just trying to protect Dee, he was trying to protect Katy as well.   

While the Luxen can hide from the Arum, humans exposed to Luxen powers can’t.  When Daemon used his powers near Katy, it left its residue on her, like an aura – a shining beacon leading the Arum straight to her.  Knowing that if they were to capture her, the Arum would torture Katy until she gave up his and Dee’s location, Daemon is determined to keep Katy close until the glow wears off – he’s the only alien strong enough to protect her.  Even though they have come to some sort of understanding, Katy and Daemon still rub each other the wrong way; but she has no choice - the only way Katy can survive is by sticking close to Daemon – if she doesn’t kill him, that is.


Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout is the first book in the Lux series.  It is a young adult novel, and quite mature as far as these things go, realistic with young adult behaviour.  I like Armentrout’s writing style, and the story was cleverly presented.  The characters are strong and likable, even Daemon - The reader can see what Katy cannot – he is not fighting her friendship with Dee as much as he is fighting his attraction to Katy, and his cruel words and actions hurt him even more than they hurt her.

The only negative thing I have to say about this book is that it has noticeable similarities to Twilight; little things like girl moves to small town, there’s a group of teenagers who are unnaturally beautiful and there’s obviously something very different about them. New girl attracts the attention of the mysterious one – but his hot and cold attitude leaves her confused.  He can’t keep his distance when she’s in danger, however, and he saves her from the brink of death.  She suspects he has super powers, but he makes excuses, insisting she’s imagining things.  Eventually she learns his secret, much to the dismay of others like him. 

Having said that, Armentrout does poke fun at Twilight (more than once), and while small similarities are there, Obsidian is strong enough to make it irrelevant.  Apart from the similarities in the setup, the storyline itself does not remind of Twilight at all, neither does any of the characters.  Daemon and Katy also make for a much more interesting couple than Edward and Bella.  Daemon has more depth and Katy is tough as nails.  Thankfully Katy also doesn’t suffer from the “if-he-leaves-me-I’ll-die-syndrome” we were treated to in Twilight.  Katy’s world doesn’t cease to exist because Daemon Black doesn’t seem to be into her.  She brushes it off and goes on with her life.  Daemon underestimates her bravery and strength, and then overestimates his power over her.  Katy’s existence doesn’t hinge on having a boyfriend and she is not willing to settle for less than she deserves; not even Daemon’s intense green eyes can sway her from what is right.  Katy is also an avid reader and a book blogger!  For that alone I love her.  Also, there is no love triangle.  Thank you!

Obsidian is a very enjoyable read with interesting characters and an intriguing storyline.  The ending also isn’t quite what you would expect – always a good thing.  Predictability kills careers.  While reading Obsidian I was very much reminded of the TV series Roswell, which I loved.  From the blurb I’ve read on Onyx, the journey will only get more interesting from here.  This is definitely a series I will follow.

Obsidian is the first of what is to be a five book series of which Onyx (2) and Opal (3) have been published.  Origin (4) is expected to be released later this year, with no title or publication date on the fifth and final instalment available yet.  There is also a prequel entitled Shadows, which tells the story of Dawson and Bethany. 



Product information:
Title: Obsidian
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Number of pages: 400
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Year: 2011
ISBN-10: 1620610078
ISBN-13: 978-1620610077

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