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

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE - CAPITOL COUTURE

To tie fans over until the November release of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, some stunning photos have been released, including posters promoting Katniss and Peeta's victory tour, and "Capitol Couture" portraits of some of the characters.

Victory Tour promotion

Victory tour promotion

President Snow

The Hunger Games' host, Caesar Flickerman


The girl on fire, Katniss Everdeen

Peeta Mellark

I realise this is promotion, but I can't help thinking it makes absolutely no sense for Gale to have a Capitol portrait 

District 12 mentor, Haymitch Abernathy

Katniss' stylist and friend, Cinna

District 12 escort, Effie Trinket

The Capitol's golden boy, Finnick Odair, District 4's winner of the 65th Hunger Games 

The Capitol's bad girl, Johanna Mason, District 7's winner of a previous, unspecified Hunger Games 


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Thursday, March 7, 2013

REVIEW: FATED ~ SARAH ALDERSON


What happens when you discover you aren’t who you thought you were? And that the person you love is the person who will betray you? If your fate is already determined, can you fight it?

Evie Tremain is a shadow of the girl she once was.  After the death of her father and the betrayal of her best friend and boyfriend, all Evie cares about is saving enough money to move to New York, and her only priority is working as many shifts as she can.  All that changes one night when Evie is attacked by creatures she could never have imagined truly existed – that’s when Evie finally learns the truth.  She was adopted at birth because her biological parents were killed protecting her.  Evie is the last in a long line of demon slayers, and an unwilling participant in a war between Hunters and Unhumans.  A prophecy predicts that Evie will be the Hunter to end the war, severing Earth’s connection to all other realms – making Evie the Unhumans’ number one target.

Lucas Grey is half human, half Shadow Warrior demon, and a member of the Brotherhood – the group of Unhuman assassins tasked with killing Evie.  Orphaned by Evie’s mentor, Lucas has only revenge on his mind when the Unhumans descend on Riverview, California.  Aided by the power to merge with the shadows, invisible to humans, Lucas has the best chance of getting close enough to kill Evie – but he finds himself protecting her from his Brotherhood instead.  Confused by his instinctive actions, Lucas convinces himself he only protected Evie because he has something better in mind.  Lucas, being half-human can risk getting close to Evie – with her skills undeveloped and not yet at full power, Evie won’t be able to sense his Unhuman side.  Lucas moves to Riverview to get close to Evie, learn all the Hunters' secrets and kill Evie before she can fulfil the prophecy.  The only problem is, instead of focusing on his mission, Lucas finds himself secretly aiding Evie in her training, time and time again protecting her from threats known and unknown.  Is it possible that despite his orders, despite his oath to the Brotherhood, despite Evie being his sworn enemy, Lucas has gone and fallen in love with a demon slayer?


Having so enjoyed Sarah Alderson’s Hunting Lila and Losing Lila, giving both books a rare 5/5, I was very excited to start her new series.  The sad truth, however, is that Fated did not grip me half as much as the Lila series did.  For some reason I just did not instantly connect with Evie and Lucas as I did with Lila and Alex.  I also found their chemistry a tad unbelievable – just the whole scenario surrounding their relationship came off a little forced and unnatural at times.  Initially I also didn’t find Evie a very likable character.  While I have understanding for her emotional turmoil, I found her weak and whiny.  I can say, though, that Evie does improve throughout the book, and as she gains confidence and strength she becomes more interesting and more likable.  I do like Lucas as a character; his motivations and intensity are very believable.  I did not like the supporting characters, however, whereas I loved all the supporting characters in the Lila series – so much so that I can’t wait for a reunion novel. 

I think my mistake was going into this series expecting a second Lila series, comparing it right off the bat - probably not fair to the author.

The book is not bad, though, and if this is your first Alderson read you’ll probably enjoy it.  But if, like me, you’re hoping for something on par with Lila, I think you might be disappointed. 

The storyline has promise, and the sequel, Severed, is sure to be more interesting, but ultimately this book just didn’t hook me as I like my books to do.


Product information:
Title: Fated
Author: Sarah Alderson
Number of pages: 310
Publisher:  Simon and Schuster
Year: 2012
ISBN: 9780857074348

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