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Spoiler-Free ARC Review: Onyx

The following review contains

my thoughts in a few sentences: I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little disappointed in Onyx by Jennifer L. Armentrout. Obsidian is a fast-paced, entertaining, and sexy story about a boy and his sister in hiding, and about the new girl next door who uncovers their secrets. That line of the story may be the typical paranormal book plot, but it REALLY worked as a whole. The first book is addictive, strong, and the paranormal element is a nice little side bit. But, my focus is, and will always be, Daemon and Kat’s relationship. I liked the slow-burn Sexy Times tension in Obsidian, and the promise of a challenge for Daemon to work up to in Onyx by Jennifer L. Armentrout. But, Kat’s OVERABUNDANCE of RESISTANCE got to be irritating and with an obvious plot device feel. It distracted me from everything else that was going on, and ultimately brought down my enjoyment of the book. HOWEVER. The last hundred or so pages do REALLY WELL for making up for that.

hooking first lines: "Ten seconds passed between when Daemon Black took his seat and when he poked me under my shoulder blade with his trusty pen. Ten whole seconds."

Entangled Teen • NetGalley • Paranormal Romance • 8/14/12 • $7.49

Onyx by Jennifer L. Armentrout
DON'T TO READ THE FOLLOWING SUMMARY if you haven't read book one.

Being connected to Daemon Black sucks…

Daemon’s determined to prove what he feels for me is more than a product of our bizarre connection. I’ve sworn him off even though he’s running more hot than cold these days. But against all common sense, I’m falling for him. Hard.

Our relationship issues aren’t out biggest problem…

The Department of Defense is here. If they ever find out what Daemon can do and that we’re linked, I’m a goner. So is he. And when a new boy shows up a school with a secret of his own, things get complicated fast. I need to choose between my own instincts and Daemon’s.

But then everything changes…

I’ve seen someone who shouldn’t be alive. Daemon’s never going to stop searching until gets the truth. What happened to his brother? Who betrayed him? And what does the DOD want from them—from me?

No one is who they seem. And not everyone will survive the lies.

Kat, Dee, and Daemon are back!

By the end of Obsidian, things are far from resolved and yet Armentrout gives it a clean break that doesn’t make the book feel half-baked or unfinished. Set after the events of the first book, though not directly after, feelings of satisfaction and excitement surge with the awesome characters’ reappearances, which blend in so well with what we’ve learned of them in Obsidian. Daemon is all flirty and attentive, Kat is doubly resistant of the cockiness, and Dee is squashing the urge to barf between the two of them. All the sexual tension is MAKING HER SICK, ya’ll.

The opening is instantly true to the characters, and it honestly feels like no time has passed since the first book began. WHICH IS CRAZY. Because it’s been MONTHS. And maybe that was part of the problem for me. Getting my hands on this book became my TOP priority, and so maybe Onyx by Jennifer L. Armentrout was bound to fall a tad short in certain areas. But in regards to the Black twins? I doubt disappointment could ever come from them.

Especially with SEVERAL flaming reminders of Daemon’s sexy charm and Dee’s internal struggles with fellow alien boys – we all know this series is about aliens, yes? – and external cheer. Kat, however, kept bothering me for most of the book. Maybe it’s her harsh snubs against Daemon and his valiant attempts to win her, that telltale “paranormal book” heroine indecisiveness, or the fact that JUST BECAUSE she’s in with the “in” crowd now she thinks she knows best and how to handle herself. I didn’t like her Miss Know-It-All personality switch.

Freaky alien mojo, Kat’s EVIL RESISTANCE, and the DOD did what now?

One would think when one’s life becomes crowded with aliens, one would take a step back and say to oneself, “Hey, listen, Self, maybe we’re in over our head. I mean, the guy next door is hot, totally, but is INDISPUTABLY AN ALIEN. And he has superpowers NOT OF THIS EARTH. And they might’ve rubbed off on me. I don’t think we can handle this. We are talking to ourselves, after all.” But, noooo, Kat tries to become all confident, independent, and self-assured and that just FAILS. The smart and sassy heroine I began to love in Obsidian suddenly vanishes and I’m left with a hat for butts. Her character gives way to petulance, temper tantrums, and frustrating confusion WHICH MAKES NO SENSE since she’s suddenly a know-it-all-do-all girl. I tried to sympathize with her, because, you know, Daemon was a shizzface jerk, though an extremely good-looking one, in Obsidian, always running hot and cold and EFFING WITH HER MIND, and I guess she’s entitled to make an ass of herself once she finds herself in love with said jerk. That didn’t mean, however, that I was accepting of it, that I had to like it. Because I didn’t.

Meanwhile the dreaded DOD, which stands for government alien patrol, have decided to make a very suspicious appearance in Onyx by Jennifer L. Armentrout. After the awesome climactic turn of events toward the end of Obsidian, something, something BIG, has caught their attention and they want answers. The stakes have certainly hit a boost with the DOD’s hunger for power and interest in Kat and Daemon’s intriguing closeness and, of course, CHEMISTRY. Just what the heck are they looking for? What kind of decimation of Daemon and Dee’s race are they actually responsible for? And what do they truly know about Daemon’s brother, Dawson, his disappearance, and the disappearance of the girl he loved?

An un-love triangle, Dee’s sex dilemmas, and HOT alien boys

Blake Saunders from good ol’ blistering California makes an abrupt appearance in Onyx by Jennifer L. Armentrout to rock the very fragile boat, falling in line with the overly done Second Book Love Triangle plot thread. He’s a surfer, he’s cute, he’s *cough* normal, yeah, yeah, yeah. WE ALL KNOW he ain’t got NOTHING on Daemon Black. But, Kat and her irritating determination to prove to herself that her feelings for Daemon are fabricated rather than fully formed on their own pursues this enigmatic guy, and only succeeds in verifying that no one gets his romantic sparks on like Daemon. She doesn't even get a tingle, not a flutter. How very expected disappointing, I'm heartbroken.

And Kat, surprisingly, is not the only one with some entertaining DRAMA on her hands. Nope, Daemon’s cute, sweet, and exuberant twin sister has her own love dilemmas all revolving around a certain adamant alien boy REALLY stuck on her. Is there romance a product of expectations or ACTUAL DESIRE? Well, Dee gets her Sexy Times on just fine in order to be sure. Daemon and Kat aren’t the only ones who know how to do the Amazing Chemistry Thing.

Daemon Black screws up the stoic jerk act—finally

Yes, Daemon Black needs his own especially specific mention. I don’t even understand my fascination with this douchey bad boy. What is with some of us girls and our love of total buttholes? Because that is what Daemon is, initially in Obsidian. But THEN.


Even though Daemon acts like a jerkface for most of Obsidian, what sets him apart from the REALLY BAD bad boys of no return and the authors who get it wrong is his innate and underlying compassion and kindness. OF COURSE he hides it with loaded sentences, cockiness, and snark but the flashes are there, enough to see the real guy underneath. So, in Onyx by Jennifer L. Armentrout the arrogance is still there, but now Daemon’s making an effort. He’s not mean or terrible to Kat; in fact, more than not he shows off his sweet side, strutting his stuff, tempting her with half-bitten cookies—I’ll leave that to your imagination—and crowding her at the kitchen sink. In being her willing body pillow. In reading her book blog. Oh, man, does Daemon do quite the 360 and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t finish this book with utter elation over his persistence.

A bumpy road goes steady

Although Onyx by Jennifer L. Armentrout’s middle got uncomfortable with all that unlovable paunchiness and all those hard bumps, the beginning is grand and the final hundred pages really make the difference. Things kick up for our romance even as the same happens with the plot! The mysteries tangle up so that they’re all of a piece and in need of solving. Suspicions are confirmed. Baddies surface and shake up trouble so that everybody’s sunk in it. And a surprise appearance sets the characters world quaking with disbelief and fear.

Armentrout has made it so that the anticipation for the next book KILLS. And now that the Sophmore Book Curse has run its course, the excitement for the third book is downright unstoppable.

Rating: Sud-Kissed
"What are you doing?
“Taking you to bed.”
I was half transfixed by him as he placed me on the bed, moving the covers back without touching them. Such a handy ability when the hands were full.
Daemon tugged the comforter up, hesitating as he stared down at me. “Do you feel better?”
“Yeah,” I whispered, unable to look away. With him standing over me, his eyes such a stark contrast with the darkness, he looked like something straight out of my dreams…or the books I read.
His throat worked slowly. “Can I…?” There was a pause and my heart stuttered. “Can I just hold you? That’s all…that’s all I want.” (289)

Want to read Onyx?
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Got something specific in mind? Dare I believe I might NOT have covered something you wish to know? If so, let me know down in the comments section. Don't be shy!


Nea Barabea said...

Awww, so glad you liked it!! Your review is made of awesome!! :) :) Love the comment about talking to yourself to get away from the alien neyt door! :D And OMG I didn't know Touch was somehow similar!! I need to read it! :) Amazing review Asher! Can't wait to read this book <3 <3 <3 

YA Book Queen said...

Bummer that Kat gets to be a bit frustrating in this book, but I'm glad that the last 100 pages ended up being strong. Thanks for the review! :)

Sam @ Realm of Fiction said...

Amazing review! You make me want to re-read this book! That quote at the end is one of my favourites. :) I'm glad to hear you loved the beginning and end especially. And I agree - the nest book is set to be amazing! :D Let's hope it doesn't disappoint. 

Brodie said...

ASHER KNIGHT! (I really like capslocking that and yelling it in my head. Anyway!).

Real shame to hear you had issues with Kat in this book, especially since you were loving her in Obsidian (me too!). I'm REALLY hoping this attitude won't get too me too much while reading or I can overlook it, because squeeeeeeeeee! You have me SUPER EXCITED TO READ THIS.

"What is with some of us girls and our love of total buttholes?"  - YEAH. PLEASE ANSWER THIS! Seriously. Why is Daemon so goddamn... *fans self* Oh. Right. BECAUSE THERE IS A SOFT, SQUISHY TEDDY BEAR HIDING UNDERNNEATH HIS ASSHOLEISHNESS! <3 Oh hell, I'm crazy excited to see this side of Daemon. Begin to peel back those... Mmmmm... sexy layers <3

And okay. Seriously. I read that quote and got to the part where he stumbled on the, "Can I.." and I moved in real close to the screen and made a silly little high pitched 'awww!". I LOVE ME SOME UNCERTAIN DAEMON!

Thanks for killing me, Asher. Your incredible reviews are crazy good at doing that :D

Giselleco said...

Lol at sick from sexual tension! Dude, Daemon is hot and infuriating enough I totally believe it! I'm super excited to read this one I loved Obsidian and this sounds just as hot! I hate assholes in YA, I really do, but Daemon is so much fun. He's a really great character. When we both want to slap and kiss him, I have to applaud JLA for her great character building.  >.< Fab review darling!!

Lauren M said...

Yay for Daemon finally opening up a little! I haven't read Obsidian, but I had heard that Daemon was kind of...a bad boy. :P And while bad boys are okay, I like them to show a softer side, too. I'm glad Onyx was (mostly) enjoyable! Awesome review, Asher. :) 

Sarah said...


Aaaaassshhhherrr, this book PISSED ME OFF. I couldn't put it down, but KJDFGJAFSDL. KATY *STABS*

So many STUPID character choices and I just wanted them to TALK and and and and and... I seriously feel like I'ma hyperventilate O__O


AND I LOVED IT. And I seriously seriously seriously don't remember the last time I was THIS conflicted about a book :O