I hereby declare that Jennifer L. Armentrout should be a national treasure. We must protect her and her kickass writing and storytelling abilities. Every book released by this woman should go into it’s own special section of the library. I know I’ve said it a million times before, and I’ll probably say it a million more times: Jennifer L. Armentrout is wickedly talented (pun 100% intended). There are so many unique elements of her stories and characters that set her apart and above the rest of the pack. Not only that, she’s extremely proficient at writing both Young Adult fantasy, New Adult romance, and even Adult romance. Not only does she write all of these genres, she excels at it. Most writers are talented in one genre, and mediocre at best in a second. Not JLA though, and Wicked, the first book in her Wicked trilogy, is further proof of that.
After finishing A Court of Thorns and Roses I was in a bit of a faerie hangover. I needed more faerie stories. Imagine my surprise, then, when I was browsing the shelves at Half Price Books and stumbled across Wicked. My shock left me speechless; a JLA book that I didn’t know about?! Impossible! Wicked has been out since December 2014, but for some reason I had literally never heard of it. I’m guessing the majority of readers haven’t, which is a damn shame. Wicked is a wickedly good read. It’s the story of Ivy Morgan, a not-so-average college student. While she wanders the halls of Loyola University in during the day, when the sun sets she takes to the streets of New Orleans to hunt fae who have escaped from the Otherworld. Change is in the air though, and it’s set in motion with the arrival of sexy, sassy, and mysterious Ren Owens, a hunter from Denver. Together, he and Ivy begin to uncover an even darker part of the Otherworld, that threatens the future of both fae and humanity.
Ivy was awesome, from page one. Hell, from the first paragraph, I knew I would like her. One thing that usually makes or breaks a book for me is the protagonist, especially if it’s told in first person. I’ve thrown countless books out of my TBR pile because I could only make it through the first chapter, thanks to an annoying protagonist. The only exception is if the series has raving reviews, and I continue reading out of curiosity. This happened with Throne of Glass, City of Bones, and even Bloodlines (Sydney Sage is now one of my favorite female protagonists now though). Ivy was the exact opposite. She was fresh, funny, witty, and bluntly honest. She felt very real, and I felt I could relate to her (aside from the job occupation, obviously. This world needs more kickass heroines, and JLA provided us with another phenomenal one in Ivy. Granted, shit’s about to go down for her considering that plot twist at the end, but I don’t think it will change my opinion.
JLA has a rare talent that I feel is part of what makes her books so damn good. She’s capable of creating make protagonists that have baggage, and are sassy and naughty, but never full of themselves. They carefully tread the line between confident and cocky, but never cross it. It doesn’t matter if it’s one of her YA Fantasy novels or a New Adult contemporary romance; the males are never overly cocky, but they still have that signature swagger and sass. Ren is no exception. In fact, I think he may be my favorite of all of her male characters, simply because he fulfilled this trope of JLAs to the fullest. He makes naughty yet charming comments, and seems to have a perpetual smirk. At the same time though, he is extremely respectful and sweet. I mean seriously, he brought her a flower because he saw it and reminded him of her eyes. And he does it without coming across as cheesy or corny and like a player. How many guys do you know who would not only do that but admit to why? Oh that’s right, none. That’s why book boyfriends will always be better. Especially JLA book boyfriends. Oh, and he drives a truck. What kind of Texas girl would I be if I didn’t appreciate that fact?!
Okay, I know I don’t normally do this, but I just had to include this. Often, my mind conjures up random, imagined faces for main characters. I read too much to try to find a different actor or model for each character I read, like some people do on Goodreads. There are two exceptions to that. Alex Pettyfer will always be my Jace Herondale, and young Aaron Taylor-Johnston will always be my Will Herondale. Always. Now, I guess, there are three exceptions. I’ve always been slightly obsessed with Teen Wolf, and this season I was especially obsessed with the Marrish ship. Reading Wicked, I couldn’t help but picture Ivy and Ren as Lydia and Parrish. I mean seriously: girl with a fiery temper to match her hair, and a boy with a devastating dimple and gorgeous green eyes? Sound familiar anyone?
What makes Wicked so special and unique is that it seems to be a New Adult fantasy novel. It combines the older college- aged characters (with steamier romance scenes) with a world of fantasy, full of fairies and hunters. If you’ve ever read either J. LA’s Lux series or her Fall With Me series, imagine those combined, except instead of aliens there are faeries. Pretty fucking awesome, am I right? There were a variety of things that contributed to this awesomeness. First and foremost, is Tink. Tink is awesome. I imagine him a sassier fairy version of Dobby, which to be honest is a pretty cool idea. I pictured a little mini Jack Frost floating around Ivy’s house, to be honest. With wings, of course. Icy blue wings. I also especially loved the setting in this book. JLA has a unique ability to make the places she writes about come to live; u can vividly picture the locations (and characters). wicked is set in New Orleans, a city full of magic and life, and a place I’ve always wanted to visit. Having it as the setting for this magnificent story made the book all the more intriguing and captivating.
The only thing that makes me nervous is that every time the crown prince of the fae world was mentioned, my spidey senses started tingling. I smell a potential love triangle in the next two books, and that crushes me. The only thing that gives me hope is that the Lux series never contained a love triangle, and neither have any of her new adult contemporaries. She seems to understand that there can be enough obstacles in a relationship to keep it interesting without throwing in a third party to break it up. So maybe, just maybe, there won’t be a love triangle. Based off of what goes down in book one, we know for sure that Ivy will have to interact with the prince at some point, probably at multiple points. However, based on JLA’s tendencies, I don’t think she’ll necessarily fall for him. I don’t doubt we’ll see more of the fae world, including fae royalty, in the upcoming books.
This book was filled with all the feels. The betrayal that occurs at the end of this book crushed me. The plot twist that is LITERALLY THE LAST SENTENCE almost killed me. This book created so so so many feels. I need the next book, Torn, and it’s already been postponed once, which makes me really nervous. I have faith in JLA, though, to finish out this series. She’s done so with every other one so far, so I have faith. Right now, it’s scheduled for “early 2016.” Maybe February will be the most rocking month ever, and we’ll get Glass Sword and Torn in the same month. Fingers crossed. That’d be more exciting that meeting Jensen Ackles…I think. In honor of JLA’s obssession with Supernatural (that I share), I’m not going to rate this book using stars; instead, here’s a gif of Dean that shows my excitement levels about this series: