Finished Date: January 9th, 2014
Series: The Alexa Montgomery series #1
My Rating: 5/5!
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My Summary **May contain minor spoilers**
Alexa Montgomery suffers under the strict tutelage of her Mother outside of normal schooling - in the arts of battle and combat. It's exhaustive, it's scary and it's painful. Her Mother turns into this unfeeling predator when it's time for one of her lessons. Alexa is also made to run to school with her younger sister, Nelly, every morning even though the bus passes by their house. It's annoying, but who'd dare bring it up against her Mother?
Unbeknownst to her, Alexa's being trained to come into her powers as a Sun Warrior, strongest of all the races but also hunted to extinction years ago. During an attack by Lamias - a breed of vampires that are ruled by instinct, who look beautiful though they have shark teeth, and are aggressive things that crave blood - Alexa makes the heart-shredding decision to save her sister by leaving her Mother and taking her sister into the woods and to a safe place her Mother pointed out to her just a day before.
With some help from a friend and a contact, they manage to arrive at Two Rivers - a lush and beautiful city behind tall walls surrounded by two rivers that curves around the walls. At Two Rivers, Alexa, Nelly and a friend meet Wolf-sons, Searchers and Brocken vampires. They are assigned to dorms with their respective species but since Alexa is the one of a kind, she is sent to live and train with the Brockens who serve as the city's warriors. Alexa's a sort of celebrity there, being part of a legendary race, but is she the only one that senses something is amiss in the city? Why is their form of entertainment gladiator-style blood sports? Why are there only healthy, young, good-looking people in the city? Many people she has come to meet seem to believe that she'll be some sort of savior - but what do they need rescuing from?
I. Love. Alexa. I wouldn't go so far as to say she is completely unique in her badass-teenager-who-can-kick-asses-three-times-her-size way, but she's cool. She had this way about her that was very relatable; Her anger and despair when shit hits her fan makes her more human and I come to empathize and connect with her.
Gordon's style of writing helps too. It's reminiscent of Jennifer L. Armentrout's style, that colloquial, witty, off-hand kind of feel, but with a little something more that makes it unique. Every chapter is jam-packed with tension and action, and it always ends in a way that compels your fingers to flip the page. It's addictive and you can never get enough of it. Right now I'm itching to pick up the next instalment, HALF BLACK SOUL, but I shall resist because it is midnight.
At the beginning, we are introduced to Alexa's borderline-tyrannical Mother - not to say that she doesn't care for her daughters, but she's just a little on the harsh and crazy side for a mother - and her sweet younger sister, Nelly. Nelly isn't trained to fight like Alexa, but she isn't oblivious to the things around her. She knows how hard Alexa's trainings are, and she's always there for her. She's like this little angel with a contagious smile and innocent way about her. The sisterly bond between them gives another dimension to this story and it was really heartwarming to see the kind of loyalty they inspire in each other.
The secondary cast that we are introduced to later on includes Wolf-son, Jackson, a classmate from her human high school, the handsome and charming boy that befriends and sticks up for her even when she was shunned by her other schoolmates (and who is funny and has this mid-western drawl); Kayden, the intense, stoic, protective Brocken vampire warrior that, believe it or not, is more kickass than our little Sun Warrior heroine; Tommy, rich, resourceful and laidback Brocken classmate; Camillia, mysterious Queen of Two Rivers; Daniel and some other Two Rivers citizens. Other than Alexa and Nelly, the other characters weren't developed quite as much as I'd liked, but I believe that we'll be given more insight into each of them throughout the series. But from what I've read so far, they're all growing a little on me.
There were certain loopholes and issues that weren't addressed in the novel, however. The biggest question that bothered me the most was, if there was a walled city (complete with two rivers as moats), why isn't it on the map, and is that even allowed in the US?? Wouldn't the government probe, and wouldn't the media be all over it like white on rice? There were also quite a fair bit of grammatical errors, but since BLOOD WARRIOR was self-published (salute to you, H.D!) and really the story was just so fast-paced and awesome that they didn't bother me as much as it would have it they appeared as frequently in most other novels. Testament to the brilliance of BW.
It's been ages since I've last read a YA UF novel that's hooked me so completely, and I don't remember ever shelving another self-published book as a favorite, but BLOOD WARRIOR definitely is. I've gotten very wary and cynical when it comes to love interests because I've been reading too many jerkfaces and insta-attractions recently, and too many typical aloof beautyfaces that they all just blend together, but I actually gave a damn about Kayden and Jack.
I wouldn't say that the introduction to BW was the best I've ever read, but the story itself is amazing. I was looking for a kickass heroine much like Alexa Hollen in Defy by Sara B. Larson cause I was suffering from AlexaHollenWithdrawalSyndrome, and BW had the closest blurb I could find at the time and it did not disappoint. (Though I still prefer Defy over BW, BW is good in its own UF ways.)
P.S. Y'know how the council that runs Two Rivers is made up of two men and three women? I mean, Go, Girl Power! It's usually a one female or all male party up on the foodchain, so hi-five, H.D!
I was so excited after I read BLOOD WARRIOR that I immediately wrote down my review for it (cause I didn't want the fresh feels to fade) and emailed H.D. to request for her to do a guest post and giveaway on the blog. I wanted to share this book with all of you cause even though it's been released for some time already, some of you might not know such a superbly crazy good book is out there (like me till now, sighzzz) so yeah, share the love and all.
H.D. is VERY generously giving away three (3) paperback copies of BLOOD WARRIOR to three US ABS readers. Giveaway is open to readers with a US address and ends Feb 26th, 2014.
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