Sunday, March 8, 2015

Wicked (Wicked #1) by Jennifer L. Armentrout

SummaryThings are about to get Wicked in New Orleans.

Twenty-two year old Ivy Morgan isn’t your average college student. She, and others like her, know humans aren’t the only thing trolling the French Quarter for fun… and for food. Her duty to the Order is her life. After all, four years ago, she lost everything at the hands of the creatures she’d sworn to hunt, tearing her world and her heart apart.

Ren Owens is the last person Ivy expected to enter her rigidly controlled life. He’s six feet and three inches of temptation and swoon-inducing charm. With forest-green eyes and a smile that’s surely left a stream of broken hearts in its wake, he has an uncanny, almost unnatural ability to make her yearn for everything he has to offer. But letting him in is as dangerous as hunting the cold-blooded killers stalking the streets. Losing the boy she loved once before had nearly destroyed her, but the sparking tension that grows between them becomes impossible for Ivy to deny. Deep down, she wants… she needs more than what her duty demands of her, what her past has shaped for her.

But as Ivy grows closer to Ren, she realizes she’s not the only one carrying secrets that could shatter the frail bond between them. There’s something he’s not telling her, and one thing is for certain. She’s no longer sure what is more dangerous to her—the ancient beings threatening to take over the town or the man demanding to lay claim to her heart and her soul. (Via Goodreads.com)

Pages: 372

Release Date: December 8th, 2014

Rating: 5/5 Stars

Review:
     If you have read at least a couple of my reviews, more than likely you picked up on the fact that I absolutely love Jennifer L. Armentrout. She is both a phenomenal author and person. I have had the honor to meet Jennifer four times and I have read nearly all of her books. The more times I meet her and the more books I read of hers somehow makes me love her even more, which is crazy because I absolutely adore her already.
     Wicked is Jennifer's newest release and her first self-published novel. It amazes me that a New York Times and an International Bestselling author like Jennifer would decide to self-publish. Off the top of my head, I can think of at least five different publishing houses she is signed with. One reason I adore her as much as I do is because she is able to write any genre and has a wide range of publishing houses under her belt. She is very diverse. 
     The best way to describe Wicked is a "grown-up" version of The Mortal Instruments series. The book is based in New Orleans and it follows Ivy Morgan, who is a member of the Order. The Order is a group of humans that hunt fae and send them back to their realm in the Otherworld. 
     I have only read two other fae series, The Iron Fey and its' spin-off series, The Iron Fey: Call of the Forgotten, and out of the two, I only enjoyed The Iron Fey: Call of the Forgotten series. I am not a huge fan of series that revolve around fae. I can't exactly put my finger on what I do not like about the fae but I think I despise them as much as I do because the series that include them are executed poorly. But, Jennifer has caused my feelings towards fae to take a 180 degree turn. With her writing style and the use of her one-of-a-kind plots, she can turn anything boring into a book you can't put down. I really wish she would write my study guides for Academic Decathlon, because then I might actually read them.
     I swear when Jennifer L. Armentrout writes a new book, she has a checklist that she must include; at least one hot male character and a fiery hot romance. Without a doubt, she quadruple checked her checklist when it came to Wicked. Wicked features heart-racing action, a swoon worthy male character, a fiery hot romance that takes your breath away, and an ending that leaves you wanting more. 
     I have no idea how to compare Jennifer L. Armentrout's books anymore. I finished reading The Return a couple months ago and named it my favorite Jennifer L. Armentrout book, but after Wicked, I am not so sure which book by Jennifer is my favorite. We are only three months into the new year and I am already struggling to choose my favorite Jennifer L. Armentrout book, and she has a ton of new releases scheduled for this year. My top five books of 2015 are going to be a mess... 
      I would highly recommend checking out Wicked, especially if you are a big fan of The Mortal Instruments series or any of Cassandra Clare's books based in the Shadowhunter world. I also highly, highly recommend reading any other Jennifer L. Armentrout book. She has written books in so many different genres, I guarantee you will be able to find one that suits you.
     
     





     The cover of Wicked is the perfect fit for the novel. Not only is the cover as gorgeous as the story itself, it also relates to the story. As much as I love underwater covers, they typically do not apply to the story. But, I loved that the cover of Wicked symbolizes Ren and Ivy's relationship. Ivy mentions that Ren makes her feel like she is underwater several times throughout the book and I love that the photographer was able to capture that. For the cover reveal, Jennifer put together a blog post and included pictures that went behind-the-scenes of the shoot and she also mentioned that the covers for the other two books in the trilogy where also shot during the same photo shoot. I am really excited to see what the other two covers look like and I am glad that all three covers should match since they were taken at the same location with the same models. (Click here to view Jennifer's blog post)
     I loved the characters in Wicked because they all had fun personalities and niches. Whenever I meet Jennifer, I can always tell she puts a little piece of herself into each and every one of her characters because when I have conversations with her, I can see her characters doing or saying the same thing. It is rather magical to watch her characters come alive through her. Before I begin to gush about how much I loved each character, I want to address something. I was ecstatic when Ivy (and of course Ren) mentioned that not only is Ivy a ginger, but she also has blue eyes. I have yet to come across a character in any book that is both a ginger and blue eyed. As a ginger with blue eyes, I was so excited that I finally fit the description for not only a bad-a** character, but a Jennifer L. Armentrout character. 
     I loved being able to connect with Ivy over the fact that we are both gingers. I understood her anger when Ren would call her Merida or somehow offend her hair because I get that on a daily basis as well. But, it was nice to be able to view her situation as a bystander. The jokes Ren came up about her hair had me constantly laughing so hard that I almost cried. I will admit that some of the things people come up with about me are hysterical, as well, but I usually take them the wrong way because I immediately view them as an insult like Ivy does. Wicked gave me the perspective that I should lighten up on these sort of jokes  because they are a form of teasing, they are not meant to hurt me. 
     Jennifer definitely knows how to create an A-list fictional boyfriend. Ren has bypassed countless fictional characters to his current position as my #2 favorite fiction boyfriend. It is crazy that he has bypassed so many contenders because he has beaten out characters that I have known for several books while I have only read one book featuring Ren. For example, Ren pushed Adrian Ivashkov from spot #3 to spot #4 and I have read eleven books that feature Adrian. Let that sink in for a minute. 
     Anyway, I loved Ren's character because he is witty, compassionate, intelligent, and can handle a stake. Not only that, but I tend to love male character that have a dark and depressing back story; Ren easily fits into that category. That fact made the ending of Wicked SO much harder. I have no idea how Ren is going to react when he discovers that Ivy is the halfling he was sent to find and kill. He still blames himself for Noah's death and he has such deeply rooting feelings for Ivy, this will not end well. 
     In the back of my mind, I do wonder if Ren knows that Ivy is the halfling. When he explained to Ivy about the Elite and halflings he said they ruled out Ivy, but how could the Elite be so sure Ivy was not the halfling unless they were to nick her with the thorn stake. I would never rely on the fact that her parents appeared happily married because, apparently,  they were not since she ended up as a halfling. If I was the Elite, I would want solid evidence by nicking her with the thorn stake in order to rule Ivy out as a possibility. I do not like to think that Ren was hiding this from Ivy, but Ren does not seem like the person to go along with loose evidence. I wonder if the Elite planted Ren to get close to Ivy in order to see if she is the halfling and Ren has fallen in love with her and has stopped his mission. 
     Another crazy theory I have, is that Ivy is pregnant. How else do you explain the prince "healing" Ivy. From the description we got of prince, he does not seem like the type to save others. Since the portal is opened, the only way to keep it that way, it for the fae prince to have a baby with a human and fae have been too quiet. The only way to explain that is if the prince already got someone pregnant because the fae have no desire to go back to their realm, they should be doing everything in their power to keep the portal open. 
     On a lighter note, Tink was the perfect comic-relief. His entrances into a scene were always laugh worthy and his courage for being the size of a barbie doll was admirable. I remember when Jennifer started posting pictures on Facebook that were of troll dolls and would mentioned Tink's name. So, going into Wicked, I was under the impression that Tink was a troll doll, not that he was actually obsessed with them. You can imagine my surprise when he turned out as nothing of the sort. My favorite scene with Tink was when Ren "broke" into Ivy's room and Tink was in the doorway with a mini frying pan ready to attack. Normally, a break-in scene would be very suspenseful and nail-biting but I was laughing the entire time and excited to see what Tink would try to do next.       
    I thought it was really touching that Jennifer used the names of some of her close author and blogger friends in Wicked. Not that Wicked did not already include touches of Jennifer since she wrote the book, but it really gave Wicked a more personal touch that rarely any authors give their books.
    Wicked was the perfect blend of romance, action, suspense, and comedy that has you highly anticipating the next novel. I can't even describe in words how much I need Torn, the second book in the trilogy, after the heart-stopping conclusion of Wicked. I can't wait to be reunited with the characters in Torn and kick some more fae butt. After this review I really need to look up a synonym for love because I used it in every other sentence... 













(Drew Leighty, Me, Jennifer L. Armentrout)
Photo taken last weekend at ApollyCon

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