Stacia (the 2010 club)'s Reviews > Half-Blood

Half-Blood by Jennifer L. Armentrout
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's review
Oct 15, 2011

did not like it
bookshelves: young-adult, paranormal-romance, frustrating, controversial-fanfiction
Read from October 15 to 18, 2011

More VA similarities come out here and here. And that's not even my entire list of similarities. I just got tired of marking them all (because there were so many) when it started getting down to them both having rose necklaces as a significant thing and other random little details sprinkled throughout just about everywhere.

*edit* July 2012*. Sigh. Eff it. I really didn't want to have a star rating on this book because of my mixed feelings (good and bad) but since I'm not risking having yet another review sent to the void, I will award a star rating.

*edit* March 2012. I have since removed my star rating because I don't know the fair way to rate this book anymore. If you've read either Half-Blood or Vampire Academy (it doesn't matter which one) this review will basically be spoiler free because you'll know what's going on from reading either book when I do my comparison. If you haven't read VA, then I'd suggest skipping this review altogether and picking up a copy of Vampire Academy. Do yourself a favor and read the original before deciding whether or not to read this. It's the only fair thing to do. Mead deserves credit for creating this world.

*edit* January 2012. After having three different discussions about this book in the past few days, I'm tempted to erase my entire review. I wrote it with hope that there must have been a reason for the similarities. Now, I'm pretty sure that the author isn't claiming this as fan fic, when that's what it reads as. I tried to see the positives. I really did.

~ Original Review from 2011 ~

This has got to be fan fic?

I can't imagine that someone would blatantly rip-off the entire premise of Vampire Academy without it being some form of fan fiction. I would say at least 85% of the story was ripped from VA books 1 and 4, and the other 15% was given a Percy Jackson-like twist.

I read the book because I was craving a Mead fix, and missing Dimitri something fierce. And this book delivered on that at least! Actually, I forgot after a while that we were dealing with offspring of the gods because when you have races like pures (moroi), half-bloods (dhampir), and daimons (strigoi), as well as jobs like sentinel (guardian), servant (blood whore), and lazy upper class (royals), all taking place on a remote island school (remote vampire academy), it's easy to forget that we're NOT reading VA. Did I mention that there is a Rose, a Dimitri (right down to being the guardian/sentinel trainer), an Eddie, a Mia and a semi-ish Adrian character? Okay, well there you go. It's VA. Did I also mention that there was a crazy strigoi daimon hunting our lead female? Yep. Crazy, I know.

*edit* to also add that there were similarities between Alex/Aiden's scene and the lust charm scene in VA 1, as well as Rose/Alex wanting to train with real weapons instead of fake. I'm going to stop now before I start thinking of every single scene that was similar.

BUT...I actually liked the story. I was engaged the entire time and never bored once. However, I'm not sure if this was because I already knew what was going on, so I didn't have to learn anything about the world, making it easier to get into right away. Heck, I may have even liked it a little bit better than VA book 1 (blasphemy, I know, especially considering how much of a Mead fangirl I am) because a lot of the world building was pushed back in favor of more action. If I was rating this book based on story alone, I'd easily go 4 stars because I enjoyed it that much. However, since there was nothing NEW about the story (oh wait, (view spoiler)), I can't in good conscience go that high. So I'm thinking 1 star for originality. Not even one thing about the mythology was new. I'd read it all before in other books, and some of it felt like I was rehashing Percy Jackson (especially the part with the oracle).

So uh...yeah. I really liked the book! I can't wait to read the next one! Let's hope it branches off into something completely different so I can go higher on the rating because I really did like the author's storytelling, fresh characters errr...writing style. Yeah, that!
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Comments (showing 7-56)

Angie Wow, that does sound like VA! It has a prettier cover though. :P

Stacia (the 2010 club) It is pretty, but for some reason I thought the book was indie from the cover being so simple. Maybe it is, I don't know. I'm not crazy about most of the covers for Mead's books though, so I have to agree with you. I have to beg people to read the Succubus series because the covers are so bad, but once they read it, they love the books (and Seth of course!).

Mariya I also had a problem with the exact VA reselmblance! I was excited to read it b/c I wanted something similar to VA! But when I read it I seriously wanted to put the book down and drop it b/c I felt like this was an exact copy of VA! And it was a disappointment and I swear I thought many of the same things you did. I just couldn't give it a high rating b/c of that. It was very disappointing that a lot of the scenes were exact copies of VA and many readers failed to realize that.

But I did like the story as well and will continue to see where it goes.

Stacia (the 2010 club) Someone just told me they thought you couldn't get paid for fan fiction. If this is the case, then I'm not sure how this book was able to be published. Do you know if this is indie?

Argh. Now part of me wants to go a 2 star rating. I'm so torn because I did like the book, but how do I reward a copy?

Mariya It was published to a smaller publishing agency/comapany. I mean sometimes I can tell by the covers and I can tell by the other books from the publishing company as well.

I mean I'm a blogger and I didn't want to completely rip on the book and stuff, but did include a paragraph on how it bothered me, but I have never ever in my life read a book that was an exact copy of another. I mean ever. I may have read small things that were the same but so many scenes were exactly the same, not just the scenes, but the characters as well, except the VA are developed better.

I enjoyed some things, but I was highly disappointed in this! A lot of my friends loved it but I'm sorry I can't just love a book that copied one of my favorite series. Gave away my copy. I'll read the next of course to see where the story goes.

Stacia (the 2010 club) I'm curious if the author could be sued for copying?

Ezmirelda Lol, you thought it was fan-fiction too? :) I always thought that fan-fiction was great, but if you're going to get itpublished you need permission from the author first. Jennifer did not have any permission from Richelle or Richelle'spublisher to use her ideas.

Mariya I'm done with the series. I didn't really like much about this series. Only goo thing is Seth for me, but I so did not like the second book. UGH!

message 48: by Ezmirelda (last edited Jan 13, 2012 04:33PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Ezmirelda Mariya wrote: "I'm done with the series. I didn't really like much about this series. Only goo thing is Seth for me, but I so did not like the second book. UGH!"

You read the second book(Is that out already...?)

How was it?

And to your other comment - I'm a blogger also. I didn't even bother to post my reviewon my blog because i dislike putting negative reviews on there. I tend to like most books I read so that hasn't been a problem until now :/

Ezmirelda Stacia ~ resolute wrote: "I'm curious if the author could be sued for copying?"

Umm yeah, she could be sued. J.K Rowling got sued every other year because people kept bringing up these tiny little similarities in her books. (All false, of course)

But Half-Blood has real stolen work--not the fabricated kind people make up in order to get money off J.K. This book was clearly plagairized.

Stacia (the 2010 club) It makes me feel a little guilty for liking the book. I had similar complaints with book 1 in her other series, though it was not quite as in -your-face.

Mariya It's not out til April. and I really didn't like it. Me and this series just aren't connecting. I post negative and postive on my blog. I feel I need to let the readers know honestly how I felt. Though sometimes I get nervous posting when the review is negative.

I mean if you liked the characters and everything from book, you'll probaly like book 2, but I had several problems with it that I just wanted to throw the book across the room. Not really VA problems, but events that happened, characters and such.

Ezmirelda Stacia ~ resolute wrote: "It makes me feel a little guilty for liking the book. I had similar complaints with book 1 in her other series, though it was not quite as in -your-face."

I felt guilty for liking it too--hence my 3 stars vs. 1. I couldn't help but give credit to the one thing she hadn't quite stolen which was her unique voice.

Ezmirelda Mariya wrote: "It's not out til April. and I really didn't like it. Me and this series just aren't connecting. I post negative and postive on my blog. I feel I need to let the readers know honestly how I felt. Th..."

I guess things get a lot tougher for the author when she tries to use some of her own ideas. :/ I'm really just reading the next book for Seth. I feel like I already know the story bethind Alex and Aidan.

I look forward to reading your full review on it! Has it been posted yet?

Mariya yes.

Joan{missing the vampire bunny slippers!} Love your reviews!!!!!!! :D They always crack me up! :D
I couldn't agree more!

message 40: by Jen (at last!) (new)

Jen (at last!) It's so funny you said all this in your review b/c the cover lured me in and then I read the summary and said to myself, "Hmm, that's an awful lot like Vampire Academy." So, I opted to skip it. Which is a bummer since I dig on mythology. :/

I'm glad her Lux series isn't a blatant rip off of anything(really).

message 39: by Stacia (the 2010 club) (last edited Mar 28, 2012 07:14PM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Stacia (the 2010 club) My feelings about this series are so conflicted. I think it's a fun read if you're missing VA because Alex and Aiden's relationship is a mirror of Rose and Dimitri.

Although, I do get frustrated when I see people read these books and they haven't read Mead first. It never fails...people get so excited about how creative and fun the books are and inside I'm thinking :'s Mead who came up with most of this! You need to understand that before giving away too much credit!

So,yeah. I think the books are okay to read if you've read VA because at least you can judge fairly. I don't recommend them to anyone who hasn't read Mead first.

message 38: by Jen (at last!) (last edited Mar 28, 2012 07:41PM) (new)

Jen (at last!) Yeah, I was introduced to Ms. Mead a few years back bc a coworker said Dimitri was 100x's better than Edward Cullen(which intrigued me). So, I can spot a copycat a mile away. Lol. I loved VA's world so I'd hate to see a rip off. Plus, I think it would bug me. Unless, you can say the storyline is engaging enough to make me ignore the glaring similarities. Lol.

I really like the author's writing style. Man, I'm torn.

message 37: by Taryn (new)

Taryn Very honest and nice review, Stacia. I LOVED the VA series and consider it in my top favorite series ever, which is saying a lot since I normally don't like YA. I have actually refused to read any other Richelle Mead books because I adore VA so much and I can't imagine liking any of her other series that much.

It's pretty sad that someone has copied an author like this- again. Why can't people just come up with their own ideas? I'm thinking you liked this story because it's so similar to VA..? I definitely will not be reading this book. Thank you!

message 36: by Stacia (the 2010 club) (last edited Jul 31, 2012 01:13PM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Stacia (the 2010 club) I didn't get a notification for your comment Taryn, not sure why. I only noticed this when I got a like on the review from someone else...odd.

Aww, it's too bad you won't give any of her other series a shot. I love everything Mead writes because she's just awesome like that. She is hands down my favorite author. Her talent goes far beyond just VA. I have a hard time going back and forth between VA and the Georgina Kincaid series in deciding a favorite because they're both equally good. Seth is my favorite Beta male ever. Only Mead could make a non-alpha as sexy as he is. Plus, the sex is verrah nice in that series...much steamier than in this one.

Then there's always Bloodlines, which is the spinoff to this series. I don't like it as much as VA but at least Adrian and Eddie are in it (and Dimitri in a cameo in book 2).

Noémy I agree. Her succubus series is the best I love it so much you should definitely check it out if you like urban fantasy :D

Stacia (the 2010 club) Mead could rewrite a dictionary and I'd probably read it. I can't wait for her Age of X series to come out!

Noémy ;D ha me too ! Pfff I just love everything she writes and waiting for her books to come out drives me crazy! Age of X sounds awesome !!

Ezmirelda Noémy wrote: ";D ha me too ! Pfff I just love everything she writes and waiting for her books to come out drives me crazy! Age of X sounds awesome !!"

Wait, what is "Age of X" O_o She's writing another series?

Noémy Ezmirelda wrote: "Noémy wrote: ";D ha me too ! Pfff I just love everything she writes and waiting for her books to come out drives me crazy! Age of X sounds awesome !!"

Wait, what is "Age of X" O_o She's writing an..."

Yep. An other adult one ;D Only this one is coming out at the end of 2013 I believe so we still have a loooong way to go !

Kajol Hey Stacia! Great review!

I just mentioned your name while I copied that suggestion about reading VA first for those who haven't already read it on my review for the second installment in this series, Pure, so I hope you don't mind. :)

Stacia (the 2010 club) Oh sure, that's fine. :)

Kajol Thanks! *wink*

Stacia (the 2010 club) Yeah, it's a strange feeling.

message 26: by Angie Elle (new)

Angie Elle I'm late to this party, but wow. I just read the synopsis of the book, and it sounded exactly like a rewrite of VA. I checked to see if any of my friends had read it and sure enough...

Thanks for the review, Stacia. I'll be skipping this one. If I want more Rose and Dimitri, I'd rather read fanfic.

Stacia (the 2010 club) I understand. :)

message 24: by Merna (new)

Merna Half-blood has a rating of 4.26 and Vampire Academy has 4.21. Fairly close, but still how the hell did plagiarized book get a higher rating than the original? It makes me angry.

Stacia (the 2010 club) I've been to angry and back a few times over this series now. I get that the books are fun reads, but I don't think copying on this level is excusable. The similarities are not weak enough to call it accidental coincidence.

The reason this book is rated higher is because it's an easier read and faster to get into. VA book 1 had several weak spots and suffered from a lot of info dumping before anything started happening, whereas this book started off right away with action and hot-guy-up-in-your-face. Series vs. Series though, VA is much stronger overall.

Twizzie Acctually, its okay to start a book off of someone else's idea. Im a writer. It cant be EXACTLY the same but it can be similar in some places and have different characters. But I think that when Jennifer Armentrout was writing this, she had recently just read Vampire Academy and got her mind stuck on it. Thats what happens to me. It's happened a lot in the past year. I start writing after a i read a couple books to gather some info and then I had created something almost similar. She probably didnt notie it until after publishing. If your a true reader, you would look past that and see it as a good book. I do.

Noémy Twizzy ~MusicNote1000~ wrote: "Acctually, its okay to start a book off of someone else's idea. Im a writer. It cant be EXACTLY the same but it can be similar in some places and have different characters. But I think that when Je..."

Sorry this is not my review, but I completely disagree : I personnally don't think it's okay to write a book based on someone else's idea like you said. Or else, it's a modern retelling of a classic for example. I think a true writer should have some integrity and actually be upfront and acknowledge being inspired by another. It's nothing to be ashamed of after all. Pointing it out doesn't make us less of a reader. Quite the contrary.

Stacia (the 2010 club) Agree to disagree. I also write, and I understand that similarities happen. It's damn near impossible to write something that hasn't been done in some form already. However, there's a huge difference between writing "vampire book number 10,000" and a book which takes an entire world setup (from the class system to the school to the way fight training is handled) and most of the main character personality types and only switches a few details. If Seth didn't exist and the characters were vamps instead of descendants of gods, there would be hardly any distinguishable difference.

This is closer to the original than many fan fiction I've read.

message 19: by Casey (new)

Casey So I'm coming to this discussion late in the game, but couldn't just ignore my reaction.

I read Half-Blood first. I was a fan of Armentrout's Lux series, so I easily transitioned to this series after. I enjoyed the Covenant series and the unique world it was bringing to YA.

But then I bought the VA series this week. I cracked book one yesterday at lunch, and my jaw hit the floor.

I've had some frustrations with Ms. Armentrout's approach lately to writing in general (her self-published NA book was not at all original, yet garnished a massive publishing deal that a lot of these lesser known indie authors deserved long before her.)

Regardless, I can't even comprehend how she could write this and feel at all proud of what she's written. The honest truth? I find Half-Blood a more engaging read than Vampire Academy; there were parts of VA that are just a bit slow and lengthy. But there is absolutely no mistaking the similarities.

My frustrations are only growing, because it has almost ruined the plot of VA for me. There is no longer the delighted notion I felt reading Half-Blood because I can already guess what is going to happen next. I'm almost horrified.

Has Armentrout ever even remotely addressed this? I would have, at the very least, expected her to make more of an effort to distinguish her series, but it seems like she couldn't even take the time to make that effort.

Stacia (the 2010 club) From what I know of, she's never fully addressed the issue, other than to insinuate her feelings have been hurt that anyone would assume she'd write something unoriginal.

If you're surprised at the similarities now, it only gets worse. You would think that it would start being more original as it goes, but book 2 of both series have identical major incidents happen (view spoiler). It's almost embarrassing to read.

message 17: by Jill (new) - rated it 2 stars

Jill Big yes for this review. This book is awfully similar to VA. Feels like reading it for the second time around, w/ diff. names and terms.

Stacia (the 2010 club) Pretty much. :(

message 15: by QiJia (new) - added it

QiJia 치쟈 Honest review , Stacia =)
I guess I'll be reading this series only when other books are unavailable

Stacia (the 2010 club) Haha. I never run out of stuff to read, so I'm guessing you don't either!

message 13: by QiJia (new) - added it

QiJia 치쟈 Stacia (lost interest) wrote: "Haha. I never run out of stuff to read, so I'm guessing you don't either!" *Grins* you know me well ;)

DearReader yes there are similarities, no doubt, but the series goes in a completely different direction with the following books. I can strongly recommend this series and JLA!

Stacia (the 2010 club) I was able to pick out almost identical scenes between Covenant and VA in most of the other books as well (even if it didn't match up book by book, there would be a scene in 3.5 that was the same as one in book 4 of the other series, etc.), other than the very last book (which had a scene that was nearly identical to one of Richelle Mead's other series, so there was that...).

So it never ended up working out for me, sad to say.

DearReader It is sad, because I think the series is great, but there you go.
I personally didn't find striking similarities in the sequels, I mean you can hardly rate a book just by the similarity of one scene. That seems hardly fair. But then again you can do whatever you want. I don't mean to upset you,I just disagree with you on this.
but nevertheless I can really recommend JLA :)

Stacia (the 2010 club) I'm not upset with you. I rarely get upset with people, ever. I'm just worn out by having had this discussion multiple times on various reviews for this series because I always feel like I'm having to defend my position.

Other than possibly finishing up the Lux series at some point (just because I got far enough into it that I might want to see how it ends), I'm done with this author. It's a personal path I'm taking because I feel like her contemporary writing is generic/cookie cutter (nothing new), and her paranormal writing (lux has eerie similarities to another series as well) is copied. It makes me feel very uncomfortable when I read her books, so I'm backing away.

Covenant is not just a one scene/one book similarity. If I hadn't continued to find similarities in the following books, or if the author had just stuck to little comparisons like how both main characters had a rose necklace that was important to them, or how both main characters pouted about not getting to train with the "real weapons" at first, then I would have chalked it up to vague coincidences.

But when every single race has a double in VA (pures/moroi, half-bloods/dhampir, daemons/strigoi), almost every single character and role has a double in VA (down to the student/teacher fight training and the male best friend (view spoiler) in a similar fashion). Covenant starts the same way as VA - Dimitri/Aiden track down Rose/Alex and drags them back to the school (in a remote location).

When you have people turning evil the same way (stealing life force instead of blood), an entire book dedicated to someone being "out of it" (view spoiler) and Seth's communication with Alex was not all that unlike Adrian's dream walking with Rose, etc....and that's not even the half of it. I always joke that one day I'll write a guide listing out all of the comparisons between the two series because it's not just a few things.

It really is not a coincidence to me. This author drew a major part of her inspiration from VA and rearranged it to fit into a mythology storyline, which is nothing short of copying and borderline plagiarism in my book. And since she denies it, that upsets me more than if she'd just labeled the book as fan-fiction and given Mead some credit.

I look at it from a writer's standpoint. I put a lot of work into the things that I write and it bothers me bad enough when I've had reviews copied in the past. That feeling would be a thousand times worse if someone took my story ideas and claimed them as their own. If I were Mead, I would feel horrible that all of my imagination, hard work, and time spent was making someone else money now.

DearReader Well, as I said, you're certainly entitled to your opinion. I just don't agree.

Noémy Stacia (keyboard abuser) wrote: "I'm not upset with you. I rarely get upset with people, ever. I'm just worn out by having had this discussion multiple times on various reviews for this series because I always feel like I'm having..."

I agree wholeheartedly with everything you said, but then you know how I feel about the Covenant series as well. I did use to like her writing at some point - it is fun and she's good at romance and i'll never deny that i've enjoyed some of her books in the past but as much as I didn't want to use the "P" word when I first read Half-blood, I don't have any remorse using it now : I never trusted her when she said that she had never read VA prior to writing her own series. And I, too, kind of resent myself a little when I open one of her books. Because, yes it is entertainement but there are limits and I just love Richelle Mead's stories so dang much.

Though I have been debating reading the new series JLA has published via Harlequin Teen, I had to remind myself about the horrid experience I had with Wait for you and the fact that in spite of the multiples books she has released in just 2 years, her stories/plot/characters really are too much of the same. It's comforting I guess and the adage of "what you see is what you get" certainly rings true when it comes to this author in particular, but as a reader it's just not very...ummm...stimulating enough. But I do understand her appeal of course. As far as this whole 'situation' is concerned again, as a reader, I just wish she had been honest from the beginning. Some YA authors never had problems admitting that they had been heavily inspired by Twilight after all...

Just know that you are not alone ;)))))

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