PureAuthor: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Publisher: Spencer Hill Press
Length: 329 Pages
Paperback, via Amazon.com
Rating: 4.25 Brownies
Being destined to become some kind of supernatural electrical outlet isn't exactly awesome--especially when Alexandria's "other half" is everywhere she goes. Seth's in her training room, outside her classes, and keeps showing up in her bedroom--so not cool. Their connection does have some benefits, like staving off her nightmares of the tragic showdown with her mother, but it has no effect on what Alex feels for the forbidden, pure-blooded Aiden. Or what he will do--and sacrifice--for her.
When daimons infiltrate the Covenants and attack students, the gods send furies--lesser gods determined to eradicate any threat to the Covenants and to the gods, and that includes the Apollyon... and Alex. And if that and hordes of aether-sucking monsters didn't blow bad enough, a mysterious threat seems willing to do anything to neutralize Seth, even if that means forcing Alex into servitude... or killing her.
When the gods are involved, some decisions can never, ever be undone.
It's taken me a little while to get around to this review. I feel as though there is a lot to be said, but so little that can actually convey what an improvement JLA makes with this sequel.
So, I'll be completely honest here and say that I wasn't head-over-heels in love with Half-Blood. Granted, I wasn't expecting to be, and I actually enjoyed it more than I anticipated-- but even still. There was something about Half-Blood that kept it just a sliver away from blowing me away. I'm still not entirely sure what it is, or even if it's just one thing. Don't get me wrong, I really did enjoy it. I practically devoured it, even. Maybe I just needed to get into the characters more than I was allowing myself to, or maybe it all can be blamed on my post-Insurgent-novel-hangover.
Whatever the case, Pure did what Half-Blood came close to, but failed to do: Blow me away.
Everything is bigger and better in this installment. More action, new setting, character development, loss, wit; this novel improved on so many things, I can't think of all them to list. The characters blossom, becoming people you wish you knew in real the world. Alex is still the stubborn, mahem-inducing teenager she was before, but you get to witness her grow as a person. She deals with a lot of heavy stuff, (and some, uh, other stuff as well), and the impact is clearly displayed through her inner dialogue and actions. I loved that.
Other characters grew on me, too. I'd always loved Caleb, even while reading Half-Blood, and I loved him even more in this book. Surprisingly, I found myself caring for Marcus and Lucien, too. I thought for sure, by the end of the series, I would hate them. I also quite loved the group of students that stay and watch Alex and Seth train; they had little "screen" time, but they felt so incredibly real it didn't matter.
Now, I'll briefly discuss the love-triangle I hinted to in my review of Half-Blood. After reading Half-Blood, I become thoroughly worried that the series would turn into some drama-infested love/angst soap opera that just so happened to involve daimons. I am shocked to sit here and write, for the first and possibly last time, that I didn't mind the love-triangle that has formed throughout this series. In fact, at certain times I even loved it, watching Alex bounce back and forth. I think the main reason behind this is that Seth really grew on me this time around. His cockiness didn't simmer down, but it felt more playful this time. He also shows his care for Alex a lot more often, which was really nice to see. And Aiden. Well, I've always loved Aiden. Something about the way I picture him just makes my skin feel nice and fuzzy. I guess what I'm getting at is that the love-triangle is bearable, if not enjoyable, because I adore both of the guys. If Alex were to end up with either of them, I'd be content.
Wop, that was a bit of a rant. Anyway.
If you've read any of JLA's novels, then you pretty much know her writing style. Personally, I think she's one of the best at writing teen voices. It's almost as though I'm actually in Alex's brain at certain times, thinking just as she would, reacting just as she does. Pure doesn't disappoint in this department, either. Again, though I didn't think JLA could get any better at writing a teen voice, (meaning, I already thought she was outstanding), she does. Incredible.
To say that I really liked Pure would be a gross understatement. After reading it, I became a full-on Armentrout fan. This novel really knocked my shoes off, and I will be anxiously waiting to read Deity.