Starting over sucks. When we moved to West Virginia right before my senior year, I’d pretty much resigned myself to thick accents, dodgy internet access, and a whole lot of boring…. until I spotted my hot neighbor, with his looming height and eerie green eyes. Things were looking up. And then he opened his mouth. Daemon is infuriating. Arrogant. Stab-worthy. We do not get along. At all. But when a stranger attacks me and Daemon literally freezes time with a wave of his hand, well, something…unexpected happens. The hot alien living next door marks me. You heard me. Alien. Turns out Daemon and his sister have a galaxy of enemies wanting to steal their abilities, and Daemon’s touch has me lit up like the Vegas Strip. The only way I’m getting out of this alive is by sticking close to Daemon until my alien mojo fades. If I don’t kill him first, that is.
Ah yes, Obsidian was my first Armentrout book back when I started reading more excessively. Before, I had always stuck to the classics but found myself bored with books for quite some time before The Hunger Games and the likes started reinvigorating my love for written stories. I realized that young adult was a great genre for me because I was still trying to figure out what to do with life, and dystopian and sci-fi stories reminded me of the TV shows that I grew up with watching. One of my favourites back in the 90s was Roswell, that short-lived drama on High School alien and human interactions, so when I found Obsidian in my recommendations right after joining Goodreads, well, I had to try it. And even though Twilight had made me super cautious when it came to any type of romance book, I still held hope it could be something I liked, because, uhm, hello? Aliens.
Armentrout’s Lux series starts out with Katy and her mother moving to a small town in West Virginia after losing her father to cancer. With sucky internet access and basically no real postal service, Martinsburg is right down hell for a book lover and blogger like Katy. When her mother convinces her to get out there and make an effort with their new neighbours, Katy’s in for a real awakening, because the boy next door, as gorgeous as he might be, is nothing but rude and irritating. His sister Dee however welcomes Katy warmly to the neighbourhood, and even though older brother Daemon does everything to sabotage a growing friendship between the girls, even he can’t stop finding himself coerced into spending time with Katy and getting to know her. But then there’s that fact that has the two siblings hiding a huge secret of government conspiracy proportions concerning an alien species and their mortal enemies, and that Katy is suddenly thrust into with all hell breaking lose in town. And alien races aren’t as fun to have around as you might expect.
Now, Obsidian’s storyline featured loads of young adult tropes – new girl in town, single-parent-household, single parent who’s always off to work, hot boy-next-door, secrets surrounding his family, antagonising behaviour but sexual tension between girl and boy, biology lessons, car shredding etc. – but unlike books I had read before, what made me entirely lose myself in the characters was the fact that for one, Katy wasn’t a damsel-in-distress or a pushover, or any of the things I had feared. Katy was strong and consistent, funny and kind, and definitely wore the pants in her relationship with Daemon. Daemon on the other hand, too gorgeous for his own sake and an extra-terrestrial pain-in-the-ass, had some hilarious lines, and I loved how real he came across as. Yes, he was described as physically perfect, but the boy had some serious issues that made him act the way he did, and despite the entire bad boy trope, I felt for him. All the worries and weights on his shoulders, even though he turned out to be from an alien race, were relatable and gave him dimensions from the very get-go. He was authentic in a way I hadn’t experienced in a long time. I hated Daemon, but the more I got to know his history, the more I realized how steady his character development was. Armentrout did an amazing job with her two leads, because I totally bought their I-hate-you-but-I-am-so-attracted-to-you play and didn’t become annoyed by it. It wasn’t illogical for them to turn to each other despite their initial rivalry. I liked that Katy fought her own way through the story, and even though Daemon assisted her somewhat, Katy grew on her own and not because of Daemon, which I think is a great message to put in a young adult sci-fi romance. She showed bravery and determination, and she loved books, for God’s sake, so I quickly fell in love with her even more than I did with Daemon. Armentrout clearly wrote Obsidian to clear up the prejudices this genre seems to garner, and managed to do so wonderfully. She incorporated everything you would normally get bored with because you’ve read it all before, but she managed to not make you notice it at all. I honestly never realized how familiar the plot of the whole thing was until I was done reading, because, well, the characters and writing just sucked me in and I didn’t care.
I didn’t enjoy the secondary charaters as much as I did the two protagonists, because they felt too contrived or were just plainly annoying or boring or storyline agents, but what speaks for Armentrout’s writing in this one is that the banter between her characters was simply amazing. I laughed out loud so many times reading this, and didn’t realize I had finished the entire book in one sitting until there were no more pages to flick through. Yes, Obsidian isn’t the most original work in the book world out there, but it was a brilliant realization of all the tropes circulating around in it. It’s fun and light and yet encouraging and exciting, and as far as books go, that’s what I want from them. Be it romance or fantasy, poems or new adult books. This is one of those books that I reread every time I’m in a book slump, because I’m 100% sure it will raise my mood and never be boring, because those characters utterly, completely roped me in and continue to do so every time anew.