Monday, December 10, 2012

ARC Review: Opal by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Title: Opal (Lux, #3) 

Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout 

Rating: 4 Stars 

Release Date: December 11th, 2012

Opal is, without a doubt, the best novel in the Lux Series by far. Not only are the stakes amped up immensely, with the arrival of Dawson, the death of Adam, and Katy's slow acceptance of her powers, but the characters are all far more grown up and well-developed. Gone are the days of playful bickering, of laughter and happiness, of dumping pasta on the head's of utter idiots. Instead, constant training, plan-making, and serious espionage are at hand, all with the classic dash of Armentrout's typical humor, amusement, and romance. If this is Armentrout's growth as an author, I simply cannot wait to see what she comes up with next. 

Opal opens up normally enough - or as normally as things can be in Katy's life. Dawson is back, but he's a different person and estranges himself from his family. Dee avoids Katy like the plague, Will still hasn't been heard from, and there's no sign of Blake. Until, suddenly, he arrives back with a proposition, agreeing to reveal the location of Beth, Dawson's girlfriend, and divulge the secrets of how to break her out if the Luxen will help him break out Blake's friend, Chris, as well. Dawson, as expected, is all for the plan, but Daemon and Katy can't help but feel uncertain...can Blake really be trusted after all? 

One of the best aspects of this book was, hands-down, the character development. Daemon, especially, is far removed from the arrogant alien he was when we first met him. Now, he's as attentive and caring as Dawson was in Shadows, all while retaining his ego, vanity, and alpha-male-persona. Still, he is incredibly like-able now and his relationship with Katy takes on a very realistic edge. Although both Katy and Daemon have their faults and both of them want different things from their relationship, with Katy attempting to retain her individuality and strength while coming to accept that she needs to depend on Daemon at times too, their journey into forming a balance between their expectations and learning to trust and compromise with each other is wonderfully written. Furthermore, fans of the pair will "ooh" and "aah" plenty of times for Daemon sure knows how to pull out the romantic gestures and let me tell you, things get hot in this one! ;) 

In addition to Katy and Daemon, however, I loved Dawson. I'd already given my heart to him in Shadows, but seeing his gradual return to his usual self, his interactions with Dee, Daemon, and especially Katy, all just about mended my broken heart together. Dee, despite her initial cold-ness in the beginning of the novel, slowly begins to thaw and change as the story progresses and her realistic reaction to Adam's death was also very well portrayed. Furthermore, I am thrilled to report that as a villain, Blake doesn't fall short of development either. It is easy to see him as a black-and-white individual, but Armentrout slowly peels back his layers and reveals to us the gray that our angry judgement clouds over. It's kind of brilliant, if I do say so myself. 

Yet, as with every Lux novel, the pace is heart-pounding. At times, the build-up to an event itself made me want to run around in circles from anticipation and the constant action was thrilling. Opal is slower than the other two novels, in a sense, since there is a greater emphasis on character and growth after all the events in Onyx, but this never bothered me. It never felt as if the story lagged or fell back in any part or even as if the romance took over, so I can ultimately pleased with the overall package that is Opal. Fans of this series are bound to be more than a little satisfied with this installment and begging for more since the cliffhanger ending of this is deadly. If you thought Brennan's ending in Unspoken was bad, think again! >.< Nevertheless, that qualm aside, Opal is a sequel that can't be missed, no matter what! 


    And this is a legit cliffhanger. Not loose ends, not unresolved questions, it's HFSLJKDFHKALFHDJLAF HOLY SHIT!

    And this: "Opal is, without a doubt, the best novel in the Lux Series by far."

    YES! I mean, in structure, in character development, in everything, but I think JLA's writing has improved, and she has grown as an author, which is EXCITING ♥

    Wonderful review as always, m'dear!

  2. Yup, I'm with you. I was NOT a fan of Obsidian, and I certainly wasnt a fan of Half-Blood, but the longer she writes, the better she becomes. Characterization in this one was nothing short of amazing, and I really enjoyed what she's done with Blake. Like you, Dawson was my favorite too, my heart just ached for him.

    The cliffhangers, however, are not my favorite thing, no siree Bob. I honestly don't see the point. It's not like she needs things like that to keep her readership, Daemon pretty much takes care of that for her. But I can see how it could be necessary for the next book, so I'm ready to forgive her for it now. Yesterday, I was SO not.
    Amazing review, my darling. I don't even need to write my own, you've said it all.

  3. *slaps hand over eyes*


    Agh. Keertana, slip on a boot and give me a kick up the ass, okay? I STILL haven't read Onyx. I have a copy on my ereader, SCREAMING at me every time I walk past it and conveniently avert my eyes.

    I don't know why I haven't felt that insane itch to read it, but all this love I'm seeing for Opal lately... uh, I think I need to catch up. Plus, I can't deny I'm long overdue for a dose of sexy asshole Daemon :D

  4. YAY!!! I'm so glad to read your thoughts on this one Keertana, I've debated continuing this series. While there were times I enjoyed Daemon in the first book, his asshattish-ness was frustrating for me until the very end when we got a couple scenes from his POV. Then I heard Katy was a bit tricky in the second book, but I'm so glad there's really great development and growth in this third book. I'm happy to keep reading if I know they start to figure out how to balance things:) Beautiful review as always!

  5. I'm happy to hear that you liked Opal, Keertana. I wasn't a huge fan of either of the first 2 books so I'm unsure whether I want to read Opal. I was tired of Katy and her stupid decisions in Onyx. Anyways, it's good to hear that the characterization is so much better in this installment. I want to read this book just for what you said on Dawson. Lovely review! :)

  6. Yay! This was a 4 star read for me too. I completely agree about Daemon. One of my favourite things about Armentrout's books is her ability to create characters I cannot help but fall for. I loved the change in his personality, but also appreciated that it wasn't drastic and he still retained his usual cockiness. ;) great review, Keertana!

  7. My biggest issue with the previous books were the characters. So I am SO glad that all that constant bickering and ridiculous behavior is done. I had hesitated in continuing, but no longer! I'm ready to rush out and buy this now!

  8. I am slowly becoming a fan of this awesome series too, Obsidian didn't really rock my boat, but Onxy was a lot better. Also there's nothing more I enjoy then seeing character development through a series, I can't wait to see how Katy and Daemon are in this book. Although I was quick to grab a copy of this I quite scared now about the cliffhanger, you know me though I won't be able to put this book off any longer! Fab review Keertana! :)

  9. I have only read book one and book two Katy's character changes were not a hit with fans so I am happy to hear that you were pleased with the developments of Daemon and Katy, I really need to get back into this series. I didn't read cliffhanger either....

  10. YAY for character development! I was impressed with how much better Onyx was than Obsidian so I'm glad this steps up the game even more. It sounds so good!

  11. This series! It's EVERYWHERE! Gah, why, haven't I started a Jennifer Armentrout book yet? Rather irritating, I must say!
    Great review, Keertana. :) I'm pleased about the better character development, after I've heard that Daemon can sometimes act like an asshole, despite his swoon-worthiness. ;)

  12. I was rather disappointed with Onyx, so I'm very glad to hear that this book is the strongest in the series! I'm very much looking forward to character growth and spending time with Dawson and Blake again. I'm VERY nervous about the cliffhanger, however. That's why I haven't jumped right into reading this book yet. But I know I will succumb soon.


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