Monday, June 9, 2014

Review: Obsidian (Lux #1) by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Title: Obsidian (Lux #1)
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Publication date: May 8, 2012
Rating: ★★★

Summary (via Goodreads):

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.

Obsidian reads like your typical YA novel – the narrator, Katy Swartz, is a teenage girl who loves books and even has her own book blog (and a shirt that says, "My blog is better than your vlog"). Basically, she's your average girl. Realistic. Accessible. Down-to-earth. Socially awkward at times, with a wicked sense of humor, to boot.

"I sort of felt sorry for her, being that she was related to such a tool."

Then there's Daemon, who is something of an enigma. Aside from his unfortunate name, Daemon is flawless – aren't they all? – with long dark eyelashes and brilliant green eyes. He's essentially Ian Smolderhotter Somerholder… Minus 17 years. (Geez, is Ian Somerholder 35 already?! I feel like it was just yesterday that I was watching Season 1 of Lost.)

What's compelling about Daemon is that he constantly seems charged, in more ways than one. There's the obvious – a physical tension between him and Katy that weaves its way throughout the book and makes you chew on your fingernails and think things like, "nOW KISS!!!1!!" even though you know the guy's just a jerk and will probably screw it all up as soon as you turn the page.

But beyond that, there's also something else, something more emotional and much more subtle, as Daemon seems to battle between what he's really thinking and what he's at liberty to say – who he wants to be and what he thinks the circumstances demand. I think Katy sees this, too. It's in his eyes, his posture... And this quality redeems him, ever so slightly.

At times, Daemon gives me Edward Cullen vibes. (I'm sorry, but it had to be said. And by the way... does Dee remind anyone else of Alice Cullen?) His protectiveness can feel stifling. He can be controlling and manipulative. And he has a smug know-it-allness that makes me rage. Fortunately, Katy seems to be capable of taking care of herself, at least where he is concerned. Sure, she swoons a little. But never does she chalk it up to love. In fact, she makes it clear that lust and like are very different things.

"My palms itched to have a close encounter of the bitch-slap kind with his face."

That's one thing that really works in Obsidian: Katy is a strong, realistic female protagonist. Yes, of course she still has weaknesses – she is, after all, only human. But I am intrigued by her reactions and responses to the situations she faces. It's a mix of loyalty to her friends; fear and bravery; intensity and even a little bit of unexpected snark. She is very much her own person.

I liked Steph's review on Goodreads because it sums up my thoughts quite well:

Another reviewer said, "It was as if the author felt obligated to fix Twilight catastrophe and tried make it right again" and I completely agree with her. I'll even take it a step further and say it was like Armentrout woke up one day and said, "I'm going to write a book using all the tropes and clichés people usually hate and they're still gonna love the shit out of this book."

Obsidian is kind of a funny thing. It doesn't read as a particularly sophisticated book – certainly not something I'd come back to again and again. But truth be told, I don't think it's meant to be. Obsidian is compelling and exciting and dreamy and infuriating. All of the characters are empathetic and flawed. And they don't resign themselves to being just the tropes that you recognize from other books you've read and TV shows you've watched. They come alive and take charge of their fate and don't let the hackneyed literary gods have their way. And that makes all the difference.


  1. Ah, 3 stars. I definitely agree on the Edward Cullen vibe, but I liked TWILIGHT better (3 stars, I think, vs 2 stars for this one). Part of it was that I was so annoyed with Daemon constantly calling her "kitten," hah. BUT I was curious enough about the hot sexy alien thing to keep reading all three books. But per your rating, yeah--I would not read this one again.

    Looks like this is your first post on a brand new blog? Congrats! Your header is so pretty.

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

    1. Daemon was definitely a frustrating character. I think he said and did things that boxed him into a certain "type" and overshadowed some of his more shining moments. I can't help but hold out hope for him though... :)

      Thank you, yes, it is a brand new blog. I've always liked reading & analyzing books/characters, so it finally occurred to me that maybe I should get plugged into the book blogging community!