Wicked (A Wicked Saga #1), by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Published December 8, 2014
Format: paperback, provided by the author
Genre: new adult paranormal romance
To Buy: Amazon * Barnes & Noble
Rating: 5 STARS
(From Goodreads) Things 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.
The question in conjunction with reading WICKED was never "if" but rather "how many times?" I knew before I even got it that this was going to be a winner. Now, I've not LOVED every single thing Jennifer Armentrout has written, but I've LOVED enough to firmly establish her in my personal one-click circle. What sealed the deal for me before I even cracked the spine was that she wrote about faeries. And, not just any faeries. EVIL faeries.
Among us are born children into The Order, a group of people who can see the fae for what they really are - evil beings who suck the life out of unsuspecting humans. The Order keep the fae at bay and protect the gates into the Otherworld in order to prevent anymore of them from entering our world.
Although Ivy embraces her job and believes in the mission of The Order, she seems to be one of the few members of The Order that long for more. She takes college classes, even though a degree would do her no good. She doesn't see things as completely black and white either. She has befriended a brownie, which she should've killed, except he doesn't do anyone any harm. Ivy doesn't blindly accept everything that's told to her, and I loved that about her.
Order members don't live long. Their jobs are dangerous. Ivy's lost two sets of parents and her first and only love, so she's pretty jaded when it comes to relationships. She wasn't prepared for Ren, though.
OMG... Ren. He's the perfect blend of snarky and sweet. He doesn't baby Ivy or smother her or sugar coat things. He keeps his secrets until it doesn't make sense to keep them anymore. He's honest about how he feels and is willing to take chances since you never know what's going to come tomorrow. Where Ivy is overly cautious with her heart, Ren gives his freely and willingly. It is impossible not to love this guy.
Because, even though he's very real about his feelings for Ivy, he is still 100% male. He can come across as an ass sometimes. He doesn't hide the fact that he thinks Ivy's hot. And, he can fight evil like no one's business.
And, evil is definitely afoot. There are extra powerful fae called Ancients in town, and they appear to have a plan to open the gates to their world so that their prince can cross to our side. If the prince enters, that's bad enough. But, if the prince enters and finds a halfling - a person that is half fae, half human - the world as we know it could end.
The story is classic Jennifer Armentrout. The worldbuilding is done with broad, colorful strokes. There's an exciting plot arc that will carry through all the books. And, of course, there's a sweeping love story that will leave you breathless. All the things you've come to expect from one of her series are here, and then some. Because this one is new adult, which means you get a little more grit, a little more violence, and a lot more heat.
The ending is one big event after another. Just when you think you've recovered from one thing, something else happens. And, although there isn't a cliffhanger, per se, you're left with some HUGE - and I mean MASSIVE - loose ends that will all but guarantee that you will be marking the release date of the second book on every calendar you have. I have a sneaking susicion that the second book in this series is going to crack my heart wide open.