Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Review: Apollyon by Jennifer L. Armentrout

About the book: 

Fate isn’t something to mess with… and now, neither is Alex. 

Alex has always feared two things: losing herself in the Awakening and being placed on the Elixir. But love has always been stronger than Fate, and Aiden St. Delphi is willing to make war on the gods—and Alex herself—to bring her back. 

The gods have killed thousands and could destroy entire cities in their quest to stop Seth from taking Alex’s power and becoming the all-powerful God Killer. But breaking Alex’s connection to Seth isn’t the only problem. There are a few pesky little loopholes in the whole “an Apollyon can’t be killed” theory, and the only person who might know how to stop the destruction has been dead for centuries. 

Finding their way past the barriers that guard the Underworld, searching for one soul among countless millions, and then somehow returning will be hard enough. Alex might be able to keep Seth from becoming the God Killer… or she might become the God Killer herself.

Pages: 343
Published by: Spencer Hill Press (April 4, 2013)
Genre: YA paranormal mythology + romance

PLEASE READ: This review will contain spoilers for the Vampire Academy and Covenant series so BEWARE if you haven't completed the Vampire Academy series or haven't all ready read Apollyon. The Vampire Academy spoilers stop after the numbered bullets if you'd like to read my actual review of Apollyon. Please note that there is a slight spoiler, but I give fair warning before it and you can skip right over it to the next paragraph to continue.

Here's the deal:
 I read Apollyon in June and I wrote a review soon after. I never posted it because my feelings started to change as I thought more about this book; they started to change even more after I heard a rumor that Jennifer L. Armentrout, whom I've grown to admire as a writer, based the Covenant series after the Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead. I've been skeptical to believe this rumor because I know authors come up with similar ideas all the time. No story is completely original, especially since books tend to follow similar plots and character plots, etc, but no story is the same either. Except, when I started analyzing these two side by side, I was finding way too many comparisons to be--what I think--strictly coincidental.

If you've read the review I wrote for Half-blood, the first book in the Covenant series, then you know I did note similarities between the heroines of this paranormal series. Here are some more:
  1. The first book of each series begins with a strong heroine who has been away from their school. They're brought back by a guy who is extremely good looking, older than they are, off limits, and are typically pretty serious, tough guys. Once at the school, rumors fly around them about why they were gone. The heroines are behind in their schooling/training and may not graduate until the good-looking male interest of the story offers to train them individually so the heroine can graduate on time. They have some close encounter/sexual tension moments while they train and the love relationships bud from there. The love relationship is a struggle between what's right and wrong and if you should listen to your heart or head throughout the entire series.
  2. The heroines and love interests just know each other in a way no one else could ever understand.
  3. The Elements (fire, water, air, earth, and spirit) are used in both series.
  4. They both have three different races with a 4th special twist: Moroi/Pures, dhampir/halfs, Strigoi/Daimons, and the spirit-users/Apollyons. (And even though the Covenant series revolves around Greek mythology, the Daimons resemble vampire-like creatures? Are those in Greek mythology?)
  5. They have a best friend whose funny and just a great guy. Later on, he is killed by Strigoi/Daimon but he doesn't completely disappear from later books.
  6. They have petty enemies that land them in trouble/breaking rules throughout the book and as the series goes on. The enemies' parental figure(s) dies and the heroine and the enemy slowly start to not hate each other--even like each other. 
  7. The heroines are natural fighters who are sarcastic and kind of stifle their emotions. become more fierce and badass (although I don't think Alex reaches Rose's level, which I mention in my Half-blood review) with each book.
  8. A love triangle sprouts with a guy who handsome, cocky, and makes the heroine form a hate-love relationship with him.
  9. A lust charm/drink is used on the heroine and puts her in a compromising position.
  10. The heroine turns to a special text to learn more about the special exception to their race.
  11. The way Dimitri pulls away from Rose and blames himself after he has been "unawakened" and recalls how he took away Rose's freewill vs. the way Aiden pulls away from Alex and blames himself after taking away Alex's freewill with the elixir.
  12. Someone is trying to sabotage the heroine, but I guess there's always someone trying to kill the m.c. in an action series. I'll let that one slide.
Those are the similarities I can rattle off right now without taking time to stop and think of more. So yes, many MANY similarities between the two. I'd be lying if I said these discoveries weren't a turn off for me when it comes to Covenant and Jennifer L. Armentrout.

My Review:

However, I DID still enjoy this book. If you've read my other reviews for Covenant, then you know that I love the mythology, the action, and the characters because they are wonderful and intriguing and funny. The romance and the antagonism were perfect so they kept me wanting more. Those elements have stayed the same throughout the series and that's where I've always come to love the author's writing.

Particularly for Apollyon, Alex's insensibility in the beginning made me really dislike her; despite that, I must say that Alex has made a considerable amount of growth and it's especially visible in this book. Seeing that sense of wisdom and strength in her, seeing the maturity was so lovely! 

(This paragraph contains slight spoilers) Speaking of maturity: Alex and Aiden. Anyone wanna shriek with me? Eeeeeeeep!!! Jennifer's wonderful craft of sexual tension between Alex and Aiden throughout the entire series results in perfection in this novel. I couldn't smile larger at their growth. *Sigh + love-sick grin* 

(Spoiler-free!) Apollyon took me a while to get through (set it down multiple times and picked up another book instead) because it was slower paced and kind of boring at times. I mean, they're at the edge of war and I should have been on the edge of my seat the entire time, but apart from Alex's little stunt around page 100 and the very end, there really wasn't much action. After 4 books previously chalked full of action, this was a bit of a let down. However, everything the characters were trying to accomplish in order to prevent further chaos from happening made me nerve-wracked in a way that almost hid my disappointment at the lack of action. Everything about the ending had my muscles tense and I was NOT expecting the book to end where it did! Cliffhanger? Yeah, I'd say so!

So... final thoughts for the series? Comparisons aside, Covenant is truly amazing. The characters, the mythology, the action, the sexual tension: all wonderfully done. It gives me the feels and the suspense. 
Rating for ApollyonI'm going to go with 3 stars. I did really like the book, but the slowness damped the plot and I'm also still very conflicted with the VA vs Covenant issue. :(
Will I read the sequel? Yes, because the ending of Apollyon (the last two chapters) was really good and it was a cliffhanger so I must know what happens next!
Would I recommend these books? If you are looking for a great paranormal/mythological-themed book with a love triangle and plot twists, this is what you are looking for! But if you are a Vampire Academy fan like myself, or you have strong feelings about copycat books, then I'd be very hesitant. If anything, I'd recommend you read VA first, then try Half-blood and see how you feel afterwards.
Sexual content: medium-high (sexual references and a few love scenes, but they're very mild on the description.)
Have you heard of Jennifer's Lux series? It's about aliens. But they're hot aliens. Check out my reviews for the first two in the series HERE

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