Sunday, July 14, 2013

Book Review -Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Starting over sucks.

When we moved to West Virginia right before my senior year, I'd pretty much resigned myself to thick accents, dodgy internet access, and a whole lot of boring.... until I spotted my hot neighbor, with his looming height and eerie green eyes. Things were looking up.

And then he opened his mouth.

Daemon is infuriating. Arrogant. Stab-worthy. We do not get along. At all. But when a stranger attacks me and Daemon literally freezes time with a wave of his hand, well, something...unexpected happens.

The hot alien living next door marks me.

You heard me. Alien. Turns out Daemon and his sister have a galaxy of enemies wanting to steal their abilities, and Daemon's touch has me lit up like the Vegas Strip. The only way I'm getting out of this alive is by sticking close to Daemon until my alien mojo fades.

If I don't kill him first, that is.

So over the past year or so, my goodreads feed has exploded with Daemon obsessions and Obsidian avatars.  Being the self-admitted fangirl that I am, I finally decided to ignore the creepy cover and Twilight comparisons and see what all the fuss was about.  I expected to love this book.  I expected to swoon over Daemon so hard that real boys (yet again) would cease to exist for me until my great-book afterglow faded.  I expected to be rocking back and forth in a corner somewhere, eagerly awaiting Onyx’s delivery to my doorstep.  I didn’t get that.

Now, don’t give me that look.  That eye-rollingly, head-shakingly exasperated look that says Another one she doesn’t like?  This girl just doesn’t get it.”  Because I do.  I do get it.  Daemon is hot, his budding relationship with Katy has that agonizing, antagonistic, slow build-up that only the best have.  The passion between the two sizzles whenever they’re in the same room.  It’s for that very reason that Onyx is on its way to my doorstep as I type this.  But it’s because of all the problems I had with the general storyline and Lux race that I’m completely fine with the waiting.

See, here’s the thing.  The Lux are an alien species, right?  Like, that’s what they are.  Outer-space little green men without the “little green” part.  So why are they like gods?  My biggest issue with the entire novel is that the Lux race is too powerful.  Far, far too powerful.  They’re like Superman on steroids, with a less compelling backstory.  A major problem I have with so many paranormal heart-throbs is that they’re too…much.  Too strong, too invincible.  Daemon and his Lux brethren are like the epitome of this concept.  And of course Daemon himself is one of the strongest Lux there is.  I won’t give any nasty spoiler examples, but there was a scene during which Daemon explains his race to Katy.  And after every new unbelievable thing he admitted being able to do, I’d think, “Okay, that’s got to be it.  No way can he be even more powerful.”  But it wasn’t, and he was.  And when he really was done ticking off the list of his seemingly never-ending superpowers, his sister Dee comes in later and adds a few to the already overdone pile.  It just got to the point where I’d roll my eyes and remind myself that I’m reading this for Daemon, not the authenticity of his race.

On the other end of the alien spectrum, the bad guys, the Arum, they were too underdone.  Not to say they were completely flat, backgroundless villains, but the description we got for them was basically that they’re the ani-Lux.  Dark to their light, maliciousness to their benevolence.  And they chose Earth as a big ol’ battling ground.  I really would like to have seen more depth to them, more of that ambiguity that gives us the very best bad guys.

I had a few other issues with the plot, mainly the government’s involvement with it and how the Lux managed to live on this planet and stuff, but I’m scared to get too into that because I don’t want to give anything important away.  I will say, however, that the government’s involvement with the Lux rang as completely unbelievable to me, and more of a quick, stretched way to explain their lack of parental authority and influx of income.  From what I’ve read of Onyx’s synopsis, the government will have a lot to do with the next book, so I’m hoping Armentrout irons out some of the creases in her explanations.

Now with all that negative stuff out of the way, we finally get to the part of this review where I talk about the most important aspect of it; Daemon.  Anyone who tries to say they start this series for any other reason than that broody alien is lying, so he’s a pretty big deal.  I didn’t absolutely swoon over him, but I did like him more than you’d expect with all the problems I had with what he is.  But if you strip everything alieny about him away, Daemon is a perfect example of a good bad boy.  He can rival Taylor Lautner for scenes without a shirt on, but we never get tired of reading about those glorious pecs, do we, girls?  The whole novel, I was picturing him as a slightly younger Ian Somerhalder, which went a looooong way to add to his appeal.

Daemon is a jerk.  No, he’s more of a full-blown asshole.  For well over half of the novel, he is condescending and downright derogatory toward Katy, but there are moments of kindness and chemistry that break the nemesis thing their relationship has going.  One thing that actually did bug me about the romance aspect of this book, actually, is how many times they’d have those moments of kind closeness, only to go back to hating each other like they never even happened.  Until Daemon is sweet again, and Katy acts shocked and amazed Every. Single. Time.  As if Daemon hadn’t just admitted she was pretty and nice twenty pages ago or so.

So the romance wasn’t perfect, but it was very addictive.  The chemistry and underlying passion sizzles, and though it’s a bit drawn out, the love-hate relationship delivers its desired effect by keeping us tearing through the pages to get to that pivotal moment when they finally realize that hate borders on I-want-to-tear-your-clothes-off-and-do-the-dirty-deed love.

Most of my enjoyment from the book did come from Daemon Black’s presence in it, but the fact of the matter is that I did enjoy reading it, in a guilty-pleasure kind of way.  I’m going to at least give Onyx a shot, and if the chemistry between Daemon and Katy is as red-hot and slow-building as in this one, I just may end up seeing this series through to the end.  Despite the issues I have with its premise and believability.

If you’re interested in reading this book but haven’t already, you should give it a shot.  Even if you don’t love it, I’m sure you’ll at least find something that’ll make it worth your time.  But if you find yourself skeptical or unsure, it may not be the worst idea to skip this series and find your next romance fix in a series with a stronger plot to go along with the steaminess.

Obsidian - 3 out of 5 stars


  1. Huh, I think this is the most original review I've read of Obsidian. Haha, that sounds weird, but no one really ever comments on the lack of believability of the world building. I suppose you're right - but this is the kind of guilty pleasure series where most readers are easily able to suspend their disbelief. I hope it gets better for you :) Glad you gave it a shot anyway!

  2. I just commented on somebody else's blog that I've never read anything by this author even though I know she is much beloved. I did actually read the first 20 pages or so of this awhile back, but it wasn't really grabbing my attention and I had to get it back to the library since it had a line of holds. Maybe I'll give it another shot someday. Fabulous review!

  3. Nothing wrong with a bit of guilty pleasure reading. And if you are getting book two then it passed the Kelly test! World building isn't the be all or end all for me and I'm looking forward to checking this book out.

  4. My issue with this book was the stupidity of making them hate each other first, for no reason whatsoever, to, obviously fall in love a couple of pages later.

  5. I one hundred percent agree with your criticism of the Luxen (the plural even annoyed me, because it's not consistent, and I wasn't satisfied with the hint that Latin was influenced by their arrival here thousands of years before) and the Arum, and the entire scifi aspect, but strangely none of that really bothered me much as I was reading. I kind of thought of it as "soft" science fiction, or just YA paranormal and secondary to the romance and moved on. Right back to Daemon's abs. Unf.


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