Written by Jennifer L Armentrout
Published December, 2014 by Self Published
Genres: Faeries, New Adult, Urban Fantasy
Purchase: The Book Depository | Booktopia
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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.
And the award for the most predictable book I’ve read in 2016 goes to…. *sigh* Wicked, despite being set against the gritty, historic streets of New Orleans is the epitome of ‘predictable, tropey urban fantasy’.
“The fae went down, and before he could retaliate, I went all Van Helsing on his ass.”
I should’ve heard the warning bells clanging as soon as I realised this one was self-published by Jennifer L. Armentrout. Having heard rave review upon rave review about JLA’s romances, I decided to pick this one up and give it a go (the premise sounded exciting and that cover was gorgeous!) However, I have read JLA’s The Dark Elements and was less than impressed with that one (totally frustrated with how that series completely threw away all its potential).
Ivy is our main character, and although Wicked is firmly ‘new adult’, I couldn’t help but feel as if Ivy Morgan acted no better than a fifteen year old. Sassy, headstrong and gullible, Ivy has trust issues when it comes to letting people get close to her. You see, like the majority of YA/NA paranormal heroines, she’s lost everyone close to her and fears what losing someone else she cares about will do to her. Orphaned, with only her ‘supreme butt-kicking skills’ to get her through the day, Ivy constantly bemoans how no guy would ever find her attractive when her stunning best friend Val is around.
Sound familiar? I know, right.
“I’m a lot of things, but today I’m your fucking saving grace.”
I was so, so hoping that Wicked would provide me with some surprises. Having not delved much into New Adult, I thought that maybe – maybe – there was something awesome waiting just around the corner for me within the pages. No such case. It seems that all it takes these days for something to be ‘new adult’ is simply having a lot of swear words and some graphic sex scenes. Maturity in characters? Nada.
I could see the ‘twists’ coming from a mile away and it was as if JLA just dove toward them, not caring that she was leading her readers down that well-trodden road.
Ren, as a love interest, was iffy. He tried to be this amalgamation of alpha-male-bad-boy and sweet-caring-sensitive-guy and it was just a weird mesh. He was constantly ‘groaning’ and making all sorts of guttural sounds when it came to Ivy’s beauty, all the while sheltering a wounded soul. I just got this weird vibe from him – like he was trying to be too many characters instead of one. It also irks me when human men in paranormal fiction call human women ‘females’. It’s just odd.
“Why in the world was I going to college? I could be in bed, all cuddled up and shit, dreaming about hot men with abs covered in powdered sugar.”
Aside from the screamingly obvious plot; there were so many pop culture references it became suffocating. We were constantly tossed ‘snarky’ and ‘witty’ lines about Supernatural, Harry Potter, Twilight, etc. and it just threw me every time. I didn’t find it hilarious, or relatable, and it just seemed like JLA was trying too hard to nail the fact that these characters were modern ones entrenched in pop culture. I don’t need names of franchises, etc. to make me believe that.
And is it normal for people to swear so much? I mean, come on, I’m not a hermit…. And I’m a firm believer that when used right, swearing can be all kinds of emotive and useful in dialogue… but Wicked just went beyond any semblance of normalcy. Basically everything was ‘fucking sweet’ or ‘fuck-sticks’ or ‘fuck that shit’ and I believe there was even a ‘fuckity fuck’. ALL THE TIME. Again, I couldn’t help but feel that it was just trying too hard to be all ‘edgy and New Adult’. Even the cute little fairy guy was swearing his ass off and instead of being hilarious it was just wrong.
Sigh. As for the bigger plot of the ancient fae being loose and about to wreak havoc on New Orleans? I really couldn’t care less. Ivy was busy mooning over Ren and buying sugar for her live-in brownie, Tink, that I never really felt the urgency of the supernatural/fantasy plot. Just thinking about the next book exhausts me, because I can already guess how it’s going to play out and I don’t think I can bear it.
Why am I even continuing with Torn, the next book in the series?