Half-Blood (Covenant #1) by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Published: 18th October 2011
Publisher: Spencer Hill Press
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.
The first thing that struck me about this novel was its similarity to the Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead. It’s fairly similar on several counts; the three species, all separated from general humankind and existing within a hierarchy (Pures, Halfs, Daimons); the main character, Alex bore a resemblance to Rose Hathaway; her trainer Aiden, a younger, non-Russian Dimitri Belikov; the school where the pures and halfs were taught side by side being the main ones. Not to say that’s a bad thing, I’d personally rather an author took inspiration from such an amazing series over ones more readily used.
I found the concept really interesting, the idea of the descendents of the demi-gods still existing and still obeying their long-absent gods. In fact, this is definitely my favourite mythology-based book to date. It wasn’t too overly reliant on any particular myth yet it exploited the nature of the mythology perfectly, and built on it to create a believable and realistic world.
I found Alex kind of annoying initially-the first thing she does when she gets back to the Covenant is start a fight despite being threatened with servitude-something she claims to fear yet is constantly on the brink of as a result of her behaviour. Her overconfidence in her abilities was also really irritating- but like all similar characters she quickly became someone you loved and rooted for. Alex’s relationship with Aiden developed nicely, again reminiscent of Rose and Dimitri’s relationship. I’m always a fan of the exploitation of the tension that arises from physical activity between a couple who had an instant attraction-I think it’s a very believable way to develop a romantic plotline, along with the fondness and inevitable closeness that comes from a mentor mentee bond. Aiden and Alex were very much the stars of the show, the other characters felt underdeveloped in comparison, though I would like to see more of Deacon in the later books.
The romantic plotline was clearly central to the book, but I really enjoyed the non-romantic side of it. Aside from some overly-obvious foreshadowing which gave away a key plot point I found the rest to be interesting and attention grabbing and I was desperately reading this to find out what happened. There was a great sense of tension and anticipation that resulted from reading this book, which, despite the flaws mentioned, made it a gripping read. It’s hard to write that level of suspense into a book and Ms. Armentrout did it spectacularly. The plot itself was satisfying, plenty happened, it definitely didn’t suffer from first book syndrome and yet it’s clear to see where the rest of the series will go, without it being too predictable.
If you’re a fan of the Vampire Academy series, you with either love or hate this this book as a result of its obvious similarities-even though I did notice them (which is probably just down to my familiarity with what is one of my favourite series’) it definitely didn’t detract from my enjoyment of the book at all.
I definitely give this 5/5 and I cannot wait for the next instalment, Pure.
To celebrate the release of this fantastic book, I have a set of SIGNED bookmarks to give away! The winner will get a Half-Blood, Daimon AND Pure bookmark, as well as a bookmark for Jennifer's 2012 release CURSED.
Giveaway is INTERNATIONAL and will close on 24th October! To enter, simply leave a meaningful comment about this review along will an email address/twitter username to contact you on if you win!