The Return by Jennifer L. Armentrout

4 Stars

I’ve been a fan of Jennifer L. Armentrout for a while now, ever since I picked up a copy of the first Lux book a few years ago. And while the Covenant series is probably my least favourite of her many series so far, I always had a major soft spot for the character of Seth who was, as far as I’m concerned, by far the most interesting character in an otherwise reasonably flat line-up.

Ergo, I was incredibly excited when I learned about this spin-off series, which focuses on Seth’s path to redemption as he carries out his services to the Gods and deals with the repercussions of the events at the end of Sentinel (Covenant #5).

Spencer Hill Press, 2015

Spencer Hill Press, 2015

The Return’s premise is quite intriguing: all of the Titans have now escaped Tartarus and as part of his debt, Seth is sent by Apollo to retrieve his daughter, Josie –a bound demigod originally created as a backup plan to take on the God Killer – and bring her to the safety of the South Dakota Covenant. Once all of the six remaining demigods are located and united, their powers will unlock and they will be able to take on the Titans.

Of course, this is all rather a shock to Josie, who’s spent the past twenty years believing she’s a plain old human.

Told from both Seth’s and Josie’s perspectives, we get insight into the way Josie is handing her newfound identity, Seth’s feelings as he deals with his past and the pair’s growing attraction to each other. I enjoyed being able to get inside the heads of each character – the only frustrating thing was the lack of character identification as the narration changed. Given Seth and Josie had very different voices it usually didn’t matter, but there were still occasions where I found myself a couple of paragraphs in before I knew who was narrating.

While the preceding Covenant series was written for the Young Adult age group, this series is for an older audience – aimed at the ever-growing New Adult (18-25) age range. And it works fantastically – as with Ms. Armentrout’s previous NA Urban Fantasy release, Wicked, the action and the plot do not suffer in the slightest at the hands of the romance (which can be a danger when writing for older audiences).

Even though this is a spin-off series, it’s not essential to have read Covenant before hand. Ms. Armentrout does a wonderful job of filling in the back-story without resorting to the classic info-dump. And while there are certainly a few cringe-worthy references to the past series (clichés all spin-offs seem to be guilty of), this book and, no doubt, the series to come could easily stand on it’s own. I certainly enjoyed it more than the Covenant series, but then again I am a huge sucker for a great antihero.

I own this book

Reviewed by Ash Bye

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