Thursday, February 2, 2012

Half-Blood by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Half-Blood by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Release Date: October 18, 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.  - Goodreads.com

This book, and the author herself, has taken some abuse on various review boards due to similarities between it and the Vampire Academy books.  I figured I'd not dance around that subject but would just get it out there immediately.  I don't want to turn my review into a rant, but at the same time, I feel the need to defend a little here.  So please indulge me.

I've read other unique and wonderful stories by this author, so I know that she is a talented writer and a fantastic storyteller.  She has no need to rip off others' ideas, becasue she has plenty of her own and writes them beautifully.  When you get right down to it, they say that there are really only 27 stories out there, and that Shakespeare wrote them all.  Everything else that has been written since then have all been variations of the same stories.  You could give two writers the exact same idea, and although there might be similarities, they would be two different stories, told differently.  That's what we have here.

So is this story similar to The Vampire Academy?  Yes, it is.  They're both set in a vampire boarding school where there are vampires, half vampires who train to be Sentinels (guardians), a slightly older than the heroine guy who tutors her to get her ready, and a character (her mother) who gets turned into a Daimon, which, for all intents and purposes, sounds a lot like the Strigoi in TVA.  That could all be told in one chapter... the rest of the story is unique.  The characters, although in similar situations, are completely different.  Their circumstances are different, and their reactions are different.

I'm a writer too, although unpublished in book length fiction.  I finished a story for NaNoWriMo this year that I was ever so excited about.  I was in the middle of the editing process and was taking a break to do some blogging.  I was trolling through hunting for upcoming releases when, lo and behold, I see a dystopian book that's coming out in 2012 that is almost identical to my idea.  I was so upset.  Had I heard about this other book when I wrote mine?  Nope.  But she wrote it before I did, and even got it published before I could even submit.  Big bummer for me.  I can either keep going with mine, or rewrite it to death trying to make it different.  My point is... I had no idea about this other story, and yet two storytelling minds came up with similar stories.  It happens.  Even though some basic pieces are the same though, I know my book is completely different from hers because I have a different mind and went somewhere different with it. 

Now if I'd read Half-Blood and found bits of dialogue and exposition that were basically exactly the same as something in The Vampire Academy, then there'd be something to gripe about here.  But there isn't.  Jennifer Armentrout wrote a completely different story, and it was incredibly enjoyable.  The heroine was strong, but had flaws, the hero was honorable and sexy, and the two really sparked when together.  I can't wait for the next one, Pure.


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