Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Storm and Fury by Jennifer L Armentrout ~ Review

Eighteen-year-old Trinity Marrow may be going blind, but she can see and communicate with ghosts and spirits. Her unique gift is part of a secret so dangerous that she’s been in hiding for years in an isolated compound fiercely guarded by Wardens—gargoyle shape-shifters who protect humankind from demons. If the demons discover the truth about Trinity, they’ll devour her, flesh and bone, to enhance their own powers.

When Wardens from another clan arrive with disturbing reports that something out there is killing both demons and Wardens, Trinity’s safe world implodes. Not the least because one of the outsiders is the most annoying and fascinating person she’s ever met. Zayne has secrets of his own that will upend her world yet again—but working together becomes imperative once demons breach the compound and Trinity’s secret comes to light. To save her family and maybe the world, she’ll have to put her trust in Zayne. But all bets are off as a supernatural war is unleashed…

HUGE spoilers in this review.  Read only if you have read the book or at your own risk.

First of all, I have always been firmly a Team Zayne camper.  I believe completely that if I had never read the Dark Elements series, I would adore Storm and Fury.  I also believe that if I had been Team Roth, I would adore Storm and Fury.  Neither are true though.  So, I don’t love Storm and Fury.  There I said it.

The beginning of this book drags.  Sure, it starts with a kissing scene but that quickly breaks down into an assault.  Justified on Trinity’s part and totally not so on Clay’s part.  But after that it’s pretty slow.  A lot of Trinity trying to get information and Misha trying to keep her in line.  Yeah, good luck with that.  She is a strong soul who pretty much does what she wants.  Sure, she’s trying to stay safe at the community of Wardens so she does most of what they want her to.  But she is 18.  She is an adult.  And she is the unknown being that we are not told about until half way through the book.  There are hints and it was pretty obvious (though I didn’t know the name they were using).  So, though she does have a protector, she doesn’t need protecting, really.  She reminds me of Alex from the Covenant series by the same author but Trinity hides her bada$$ ways behind the secret of who she is.

Once the group from DC shows up, things pick up some.  There is a connection between Trinity and Zayne from the start, even a touch has them noticing.  But Misha, Trinity’s protector, warns her off being around him.  Yeah, that was a hint right there.  I already knew Zayne from Dark Elements.  He’s not a bad guy as Misha suggested so I was suspicious of Misha from there on out.  There are some other puzzles to try and figure out: a demon attack, a ghost that was obviously killed by an upper level demon, a warden attack on Trinity (though that was is pretty obvious).  I do like to puzzle things out but unfortunately, I did puzzle most of it out before it was revealed.  That’s disappointing.  
There is one piece of information that is necessary remember for future reference.  Trinity had a crush on Misha for about 5 minutes (her words).  They kissed once.  It became clear she only loved him as a brother but it did open up the talk from her guardians that she can’t have that kind of a relationship with her protector.  It “messes” with their bond somehow.  (Spoiler ahead) Yeah, HUGE read flag went off right there.  I KNEW, KNEW then that something would happen to Misha and Zayne would take his place because yeah, lets make sure they CAN’T be in a relationship.  Let’s put him right back in the place he was with Layla.  Caring for someone and unable to act on it.  Actually, this whole story is to put him back into the place he was before with Layla only this time with Trinity.  Even the ending did that.  I’ll get to that later.  I am hoping that he gets a better ending, though.  But the pain he has to go through AGAIN will not make me happy.  (End spoiler)

Getting back to the connection between Trinity and Zayne, they keep running into each other.  A kiss happens and Zayne struggles but books it.  Yeah, my first thoughts were that he still loves Layla. It seems like it’s been about 6 months or so since the whole Dark elements storyline ended.  So, he’s definitely not over her.  Trinity, of course, takes it differently.  She thinks he doesn’t like her.  Isn’t interested in her.  And here’s a point I need to make.  I realize that romance (even ones about gargoyles) stories need that element that keeps the couple apart.  But it is the talent of the author to craft that in such a way as to not feel contrived.  AND I know that in YA books, that usually ends up being misunderstandings.  But this one is so clearly her misunderstanding and drawing the worst possible conclusion that it’s ridiculous.  I get that they can’t see each and fall into each other’s arms… end of story.  That would be boring.  But it kind of makes Trinity seem even less mature than she is.  I mean, she’s dealing with this vision issue and she’s all kinds of mature about that.  She knows what she is and that she’s a weapon waiting to be called on by her father and she’s got that handled.  But a boy DOES kiss her back and has the physical reactions of a very interested boy and then he runs.  She assumes he isn’t interested.  Please.

Once things truly hit the fan, she’s leaving to go to DC with Zayne.  Saw that coming.  (Spoiler ahead) AND “the hit the fan part” was an upper level demon taking her protector.  BUT seriously people, why would Bael not just take Trinity at the same time.  She is who they are really after.  She was standing right there.  That threw up a red flag.  Something is not as it seems.  My suspicions about Misha continue.  He’d been distant and letting Trinity go off a lot right before this.  What was he up to? (End spoiler)

Yeah, so Zayne has moved out on his own in DC, which means that Layla gets to stay with him at his place alone.  This is YA, yes?  I’m thinking it has more of a NA feel especially after a certain scene in Zayne’s bed.  NOT that I’m complaining one bit about that, just wondering.

After they arrive in DC and are pretty much alone, things unraveled for me and this plot.   (Spoiler ahead) One is that Misha was taken by an upper level demon.  That can’t be a good thing for him.  Trinity can still feel him through their bond.  He’s alive but he can’t be well, right.  Except that finding him takes a really, really long time.  At first, I was like okay they have to spend time looking and running down leads.  But when one lead takes a WEEK to get access to, I really started wondering.  WHY would an upper demon take her protector and not use him to get to her for days and even weeks.  He couldn’t last that long under torture.  There is one attempt to take her but it’s quickly put down by Trinity and Zayne.  Then nothing.  RED flag.  I started thinking about what could be happening with Misha.  Then I remembered how he wanted to be with a girl warder at the pit (a meet up place for the teens and such) when they were back at the community.  And how he had got really distant the closer it got to when he was captured.  And it struck me that he had to be on this.  And of course, that meant he’d have to be stopped.  Add that to the dreams that Trinity was having where Zayne was down and she was left to protect him and I knew.  Misha had turned on her.  She would have to kill him.  And her dad would show up and assign Zayne to be her new protector.  That would put him right back where he was with Layla in the Dark Elements series.  He would have to take care of her but not touch her.  And I was pissed.  Because hasn’t Zayne suffered enough?  Is this the only way for him to “get over” Layla and move on?  It is the perfect way to build a three-book story but my feeling for how much Zayne has suffered keep me from caring about that.  I just want a resolution not a drawn-out experience where Zayne is duty bound to protect but not touch.   (end spoiler)

(My thoughts on the rest of the series…so yeah, spoilers)  AND, I can see the rest of the books unfolding.  This Harbinger will have to be dealt with (and I’m pretty sure I know who that is).  Trinity will stay in DC to help.  They will try to stay away from each other but there will be a couple of slip-ups here and there or they will refuse to be kept apart but only in private.  Either way it will be more pain for Zayne.  But there has to be a story, right?  Yeah, I get that.  But Every Last Breath was so completely brutal for me to read that I’m not dealing well with him suffering.  I will read the rest because I need a solution for Zayne.  But my passion for this series is not there.  I don’t want to help others discover it and I don’t want to shout about it on social media.  (End spoiler)

(Yeah, more spoilers)  I did have another HUGE issue with this book.  Layla and Roth.  I think I would have handled this book so much better without them being in it.  I get that a lot of fans of the Dark Elements love those two and would freak if they weren’t in this one too.  But Layla.  I outright hate her.  She had the absolute GALL to think that she and Zayne could be FRIENDS.  Um, no.  Just no.  You can’t hurt someone that badly and expect them to want to be around you and share stuff with you.  Even if he gets over her, which he says he has, you don’t want that reminder every time to see them.  But Layla is that selfish.  She wants to keep her friendship with Zayne and she’s upset with him because he’s not going for it.  Add Roth spilling his guts to Trinity about things Zayne’s not ready for her to know.  I just hate them both.

(HUGE spoilers) As for the ending, it’s a rewrite of the Dark Elements.  Abbot, Zayne’s father, was never supposed to bring Layla back but Trinity.  Zayne was always supposed to be her protector, thus the connection between them.  The whole mess with Layla and Zayne was never supposed to happen.  And Trinity’s father was aware of the “mistake” and had let this happen or done nothing to fix it.  Now the fates are setting things right.  And that just pissing me off again.  I already don’t like Trinity’s father but this just makes it worse.  Zayne had to suffer the consequences of that choice.  Abbot’s not even around to yell at.  Though I do think he was the unexplained warden spirit that Trinity encounters.  (She can see and communicate with ghosts and spirits.)  I guess the bottom line is that I just can’t accept the conflict that Zayne has to go through to get his happy.  I would be fine with it if I didn’t know first hand what he’s already gone through, but I do know.  A short note that he got over Layla and moved on to a successful relationship with Trinity probably would have been enough for me.

(This is the safe part of this review.)

As you can tell, the characters invoke feeling in me.  That is a characteristic of this author for me.  Unfortunately, I can’t just leave the feeling from Dark Elements at the door when I pick up this book.  They color my reactions.  But it is because I react so strongly to these character that prevents me from rating this book lower than I did.  Obviously, the characters matter to me.  So that says something about how well they are written.

The story itself was not as good for me.  I felt like I guessed too much and there were too many slow spots.  I’m sure I would have liked it more if Layla and Roth didn’t show up as much as they did, if at all.  I did enjoy seeing Bambi.  And I liked the hint that Roth would get her back.  She does belong with him.

I also like Peanut.  He’s fun to have around.  This author is good at having a side character in her books that brings some humor and interest to the story.

I did enjoy the banter between Trinity and Zayne.  That’s a trademark for this author.  She does it often and well.  The rest of the writing was what I would expect from this author, though I didn’t expect to guess so much right.  That’s not my normal experience with her.

I’m positive this book will be a success with new fans and those that loved Roth in the Dark Elements.  I will read on because I need resolution for Zayne but I don’t expect to enjoy that experience.  Of course, others feel differently.  My co-blogger Jess loves this book as do many of those who review for this author regularly.  Just not me.  And I won’t apologize for that.  I feel what I feel.  I’m not going to sugar coat it just because this author is a favorite.


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