Series: Arum #1
Published by Entangled on May 31, 2013
Also by this author: Onyx, Origin, Shadows
He’s arrogant, domineering, and... To. Die. For.
Hunter is a ruthless killer. And the Department of Defense has him firmly in their grasp, which usually doesn’t chafe too badly because he gets to kill bad guys. Most of the time he enjoys his job. That is, until he’s saddled with something he’s never had to do before: protect a human from his mortal enemy.
Serena Cross didn’t believe her best friend when she claimed to have seen the son of a powerful senator turn into something... unnatural. Who would? But then she witnesses her friend’s murder at the hands of what can only be an alien, thrusting her into a world that will kill to protect their secret.
Hunter stirs Serena’s temper and her lust despite their differences. Soon he’s doing the unthinkable—breaking the rules he’s lived by, going against the government to keep Serena safe. But are the aliens and the government the biggest threats to Serena’s life… or is it Hunter?
It’s no secret that I love Jennifer L. Armentrout, so I was beyond excited to immerse myself into the same world as her beloved Lux series, except from an adult standpoint. Couple that with the fact that our hero in this one is an Arum instead of a Luxen and my curiosity was most definitely piqued. I pre-ordered the book from the iBookstore and started reading immediately that weekend. This book takes place in the same world as the Lux series and takes place between Lux books two and three, OPAL and ORIGIN. There are some crossover characters from her beloved young adult series, but this is most definitely an adult book.
I think that the most fascinating aspect of this entire story to me is the fact that an Arum is our anti-hero. For the first time we were able to see the universe from an Arum’s perspective as opposed to the perspective of a Luxen. The lore immediately drew me in and the complicated web that Armentrout weaved kept my interest from page one. She added a lot of unknown facts to the original lore of the Arum and Luxen and I can honestly say that I love both races equally despite the fact that her series obviously tend to favor a certain species over the other. Whereas I originally thought the Luxen were aliens trying to save their diminishing race it now almost seems like their leeches trying to suck the life out of the universe. The different viewpoints in regards to this war were not only done well, but convincingly. It allows the story to start off quickly and to never slow down. I could not get through it fast enough and I’m shocked that I got through it so fast.
I also have to say the characterization was dead-on. Hunter is very much your kick-ass guy. He’ll kill you, he’ll threaten you, he’ll take what he wants and leave without hesitation. He’s brutally honest, he knows he’s attractive, and he hates way more than he loves. He’s full of sarcasm, arrogance, and confidence. But somehow he’s an Arum with a heart. Granted, it’s buried deep, but it is sure as hell there. To put it simply he’s a sexy alpha-male. Serena is strong and feisty despite her small stature. She’ll get in Hunter’s face, stand up for what she believes in, and fight until the very end. I respected her characterization a lot for that and their differences made way for an awesome romance with a lot of truly entertaining bantering.
But the romance is also something I question. When I finished the book and took a breath to think, I realized this book really only spanned a few days, possibly two weeks unless I got the counting wrong. Point is this book most definitely lasted for less than a month. So while this was not a case of in-your-face insta-love, it did exist. I was a bit put off by the fact that Hunter just took what he wanted and Serena went right along with it. He knocks her out consecutively (even if it was by accident) and when he’s not knocking her out they’re doing something sexual every night. There was not a non-sexy night in this. And while I get that that appeals to some people I can’t say I was a fan of the execution. By the end of the novel I really believed in their romantic bond, but I desperately wanted more emotions behind it. While the emotion was given to me via the alternating perspective chapters and Hunter’s possessiveness and journey to realizing loving someone isn’t a weakness, I just wish the relationship progression was smoother. I like depth, not sex sex sex. If Hunter wanted it, it happened. It ended up bugging me that the concept of willpower was unheard of in this novel. Serena’s habit of rolling over to Hunter’s every sexual whim went against her characterization of being strong and independent and made her slightly hypocritical–that’s the real problem that I had. Then again, that’s just how the entire situation came off to me and hypocrisy is one of my biggest pet peeves.
Upon writing this review I also realized that this book is now to be a series. JLA herself originally told me that OBSESSION was meant to be a stand-alone and I think it was perfect that way, but I’m curious to see how Hunter and Serena’s relationship progresses now that he realizes that he has a heart and is capable of loving and being loved despite the fact that he’s an alien, and a not very kind one at that. This may just be a stand-alone that can make one amazing series!
As always, Jennifer L. Armentrout is addicting and her characters are easy to love. I don’t think that she can ever truly disappoint. This book is great for fans who read her Lux series that also read adult work. If you know anything at all about JLA, you know what she’s capable of delivering.