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Unchained - Nephilim Rising

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Between the pissed off creatures that want demon-hunter Lily Marks dead and the fallen angel who just...wants her, Lily is about ready to trade in forever for a comfy job in a cubicle farm.

The fact that she and Julian are civil to one another is enough to have her thrown out of the Sanctuary, but she can't shake her not-so-angelic stalker or how he brings her dangerously close to ecstasy.

Her forbidden relationship with Julian provides the perfect fuel for suspicion when a traitor is discovered to be working within the Sanctuary. Lily quickly finds herself hunted by well, everyone.

Her only hope is to discover the real traitor before she loses everything--and she'll need Julian's help. That is, if Julian is really there to help her...and not destroy her.

Yeah, being a Nephilim isn't everything it's cracked up to be.

400 pages, Kindle Edition

First published September 17, 2013

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About the author

J. Lynn

28 books12.1k followers
A pseudonym for Jennifer L. Armentrout.


# 1 New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Jennifer L. Armentrout Lives in West Virginia.

All the rumors you heard about her state aren’t true.

Well, mostly. When she's not hard at work writing, she spends her time, reading, working out, watching zombie movies, and pretending to write.

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5 stars
3,079 (33%)
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 749 reviews
Profile Image for jessica.
2,511 reviews31k followers
November 22, 2021
this is the second book JLA ever wrote and it definitely shows.

not terrible by any means, just not as good as what im used to when it comes to her books. there really isnt any strong development - it actually feels like this is the second book in a series because the world-building is so basic, the characters are pretty one dimensional so its hard to believe any of the romance, and the dialogue is awkward and cringey at times.

but hey, i guess all authors have to start somewhere, right?

and, for what its worth, i was entertained overall.

3.5 stars
November 26, 2013
The premise doesn't break any grounds: it's your traditional Urban Fantasy involving Angels and their line of mythology, with a rampant amount of sex---that's not actual penetration sex (more on that later). It was a very fast read; whatever problems I have with Jennifer Armentrout's books, it is never her writing. The writing is straightforward, the book is easy to read, and a fast, light one.

It was not a terrible book by any means, but it was far from perfect. In a good urban fantasy, as in any book I read, I want a rational, compelling heroine who does not behave foolishly, and is strong-willed, rather than bitchy and contrary. I also want compelling side characters, and an excellent plot. My problem is that this book:

1. Has a difficult, annoying, and contrary heroine, added to the fact that she is the only female in the story
2. Has an alpha-male Fallen angel love interest who is---frankly, a stalker
3. Has an unbelievable romance
4. Makes the characters' personal problems (and often, the sex) a priority over that of the actual plot

Summary: Lily Marks is a Nephilim working under a Contract for an agency known as the Sanctuary. The Sanctuary is composed of people like her---children of Fallen angels, who have heightened abilities, who have taken on an oath to hunt and destroy creatures such as demons and minions. The Sanctuary do not trust the Fallen angels at all, because they are evil and they are deceitful; some years back, one of the Fallen seduced and subsequently killed one of their own, a young woman named Anna. Her memory lives on still, and Anna's betrayal and murder by the Fallen is a lesson deeply ingrained within the minds of her fellow Nephilim as a symbol of the Fallen's capacity for treachery.

Despite knowing that, Lily has been embroiled in a complicated relationship with Julian, a stalker angel who has been trailing her since he saved her life when she was 17. Lily is now 26, still working for the Agency, and still behaving with the immaturity of a teenager. During a routine kill, Lily gets trigger-happy and slugs a cop. Lily, as well as the other Nephilims can sense another Nephilim when they touch them, and it turns out that said knocked-out cop (Michael) is a Nephilim himself. The rest of the book is devoted to (in order of precedence):

1. Lily's sexual escapades with Julian
2. The mystery of the traitor within the Sanctuary
3. Michael's training and personal discovery
4. Some subplot involving the Fallen and an US Senator who can't keep his dick in his pants

The Plot: I don't know if there was another series around the people of the Sanctuary, but for much of the book, I felt like I was a character looking in from a window. I feel like I was missing out on something, that I've suddenly jumped into the second book of a series without knowing it. The book and the premise of the Sanctuary was well-explained, but I never felt immersed in the plot. I felt like a stranger, if I may be so overdramatic.

The problem with this book's plot is that the actual plot (finding out the true traitor within the Sanctuary) was so utterly eclipsed by Lily's escapades. It was Lily this. Lily that. Lily eats a hamburger, Lily gets a Happy Meal, Lily is unhappy about the Happy Meal. Lily sips a Coke. Lily gives a guy in a laundry room a hand job. Lily goes out to kick minion asses. Lily jumps from rooftop to rooftop in an effort to unleash her frustration. Lily freaks out at Julian's stalkerish behavior (while being inexplicably turned on by him). Lily batting her eyelashes at her guardian and mentor and getting away with doing stupid things. Lily gives Julian a blow job. Lily gets fingered by Julian. (Note that there's no actual sex yet because the girl will insist on retaining her virginity for no known reason.) There is just so much unnecessary sex, I would swear that 25% of the book is composed of sexual acts that doesn't involve Lily losing her virginity.

Speaking of virginity, Lily does everything short of lose the actual V-card, and I'm pretty sick of it. I do not have a problem with sex. I do not have a problem with sleeping around. I do not have a problem with a heroine who is not a virgin, and the insistence that Lily remains a virgin despite all the sexual play she does with her lovers is confusing and utterly ludicrous to me.

The entire book is just eclipsed by Lily, her overwhelmingly selfish behaviors, her attitude, and her self-centered egotism. I wanted the plot to be centered on the traitor, on the senator, or hell, more on Michael's mystery. It is a pretty complelling mystery, and it could have been delivered so much better:
We have a traitor among us. Someone has been working with the Fallen to expose the names and locations of the vulnerable Nephilim.
Instead, I got Lily. And not much else.

The Premise: Simple enough, doesn't break any grounds where UF is concerned, and adequately explained. The Sanctuary is a place for Nephilim to train and fight against demons and minions, disguised as an actual security agency. They are powerful, they are incredibly rich, they have connections everywhere, including at the police department, to smooth over minor details like disappearing corpses and hundreds of mysterious deaths per week.

The Nephilim are children of angels who become Fallen when they mate with the daughters of men (seriously, why are angels so attracted to daughters of men, I don't get it, I mean, I'm pretty cute, but if I were an angel, I'd take a female angel---who probably look like a Victoria's Secret Angel---over me any day. Personally, I think angels are just into slumming).

Minions are normal humans who have had their minds possessed. They can survive a gunshot to the chest. They turn into mindless creatures, impervious to normal weaponry, and it takes skills and specially engineered weapons to kill them. It takes a Nephilim to destroy one. The Sanctuary, how it works, the Contract, the training, all were well-detailed and consistent. I had no problem with the very traditional angel-centered premise of this book.

The Characters: Ugh. You know the thing about first impressions? They stick. And my first impression of Lily was not a good one. For the first few chapters of this book, I pretty much knew I wasn't going to like Lily. She flounces the rules, she is impractical (fights minions in a miniskirt, jumps from rooftop to rooftop for fun). I am not slut shaming. I wear miniskirts, I wear short shorts. I don't care what she wears, but it is a matter of professionalism, and Lily is terribly immature for a character who is supposed to be 26 years old. Lily is the only female in the book who has a major role. There is no supporting female character. The entire fucking Sanctuary is filled with hot, muscled, Nephilim men, and Lily is the only female (not to mention the best and youngest fighter). Lily is also tiny and stunningly gorgeous. Thank god not everyone falls in love with her, because I was this close to calling Lily out to be a Mary Sue.

Lily is so terribly bitchy. She is a jerk to everyone, she has a powerful guardian in the leader of the group, and thus feels like she can pretty much bat her eyelash at him and get away with doing dumb things. Lily is incapable of holding a normal conversation without snapping at someone.
“It wouldn’t hurt you to shut up.”
“Jesus! I’m trying to have a freaking conversation with you! You know, a normal one people have every day. Hey, how are you and all that shit. Is that so hard?”
...and she has a temper that is more grating than endearing. Lily also has a tendency to talk with her fist.

Lily is also a dumbass. She puts herself on the line, and she puts the Sanctuary in danger for her knowing acts of defiance. Lily is involved in a very, very complex relationship with an asshole of a Fallen angel named Julian. He pretty much stalks her, and she is falling in love with him. She does this with the full knowledge that Julian is dangerous. That Julian may be betraying her. That Julian is not to be trusted.

But no. "He is different." "Julian is different." Different. Different. Different. Lily trusts Julian for no fucking reason besides the fact that he claims to be different, and the fact that he professes to care for her, despite what happened with Anna. I just do not understand how her trust can be so easily won when Lily is so hardheaded otherwise. Anyone can claim to be different. Trust has to be earned, and I don't believe Julian earned it, and I look down upon Lily for going against her typically distrustful nature for the sake of someone whose entire Fallen race has been shown to be deceitful. Not to mention her involvement with Julian has caused her to become the suspect herself. Lily would risk her reputation, she would risk her friends, her comrades, fellows-in-arms at the Sanctuary, who took her in when her mother died, for a guy she barely knows? Lily knows what she's doing is wrong, and yet---does it anyway.
She didn’t have Julian—she couldn’t have Julian. It wasn’t like he was another Nephilim or even a human—a human would have been better choice.
A rabid opossum would have been a smarter choice.
To be fair, Lily does have her moments of awesomeness, such as this one particular scene:
Lily sighed wearily. This wasn’t going as planned. “Michael, sit down. Luke, shut up.” It was a sad day for Nephilim around the world when she played mediator. “If you guys want to pull out your dicks and see whose is bigger, can you go ahead and do it so we can move on?”
The Romance: Just unbelievable, we have a hundreds-of-year old ANGEL, for fuck's sake. A Fallen angel, but still, an Angel, and out of fucking nowhere he swoops in and saves Lily and then pretty much stalks her and teases her and taunts her like a sadist, and manipulates her sexual emotions for years, and then falls for the girl for no fucking reason? Well, color me incredulous.

Overall: a fast read, but not a good one. It needs more plot, less Lily, and less sex.
Profile Image for Carol [Goodreads Addict].
2,312 reviews24.7k followers
October 30, 2013
This is one of those books that I need more stars. Five just doesn't seem enough. I loved Unchained that much. There aren't enough adjectives to describe this book but some that come to mind are Fabulous, Sweet, Sexy, Heartbreaking, Heart Stopping.......and the list could go on and on.

First, our heroine is Lily. Lily is brave, snarky, loyal and yet she has that sweet, and a little bit naive side to her as well. You see, Lily is a Nephilim. She has always known that this is the life she wants, the life as a Nephilim. But, lately, when she sees couples together holding hands or just being together, she is beginning to feel like something is missing. She will never be able to have that life of a white picket fence. But, is there something else out there for her that she is missing?

Then we have Julian. Oh Julian. "sigh" Julian is a Fallen Angel. And there is only one thing that Julian wants, and that is Lily. But, the problem is, that one of the main priorities in the life of a Nephilim is to kill Fallen Angels. But, Julian keeps showing up when Lily needs help. And, he has saved her life more than once. So somewhat of a truce or perhaps even a friendship develops between them. But this is against everything that the Nephilim stand for.

I only have one complaint about this book and that is that I kept getting confused with the definitions of Dead Heads and Minions. But, this is just one small speck in an otherwise Awesome book.

Lily is out on her patrol one night when she senses another Nephilim. He is a cop, Michael, but the problem is that Michael doesn't seem to realize what he is. So after knocking him out, she and the others take him back to the Sanctuary where they all live to begin the process of teaching him about what he is and training him so that he can make a choice about whether or not this might be the life he would want.

But, it seems there is a traitor amoung them. And Lily is the first one to be suspected due to her relationship with Julian. Can she trust Julian enough to help her to discover who the traitor is? Or could Julian be deceiving her?

This book has a lot of heart stopping action scenes but also some very sweet and sexy scenes. I was engaged from the first page until the last page. This is the first book in what seems like it is going to be a trilogy but I didn't feel like it had a cliff hanger. I loved the ending, actually. But I can't wait for the next book to come out. I was so surprised to read in the Acknowledgements that JLA actually wrote this book in 2008. Well, let me just say that I am so happy that it is out. Awesome, just Awesome. Oh wait, I think I said that already. Oh well, this book is just that...Awesome.

Note: This book does contain mature content so is not for the under 18 reader.
Profile Image for Kayleigh {K-Books}.
1,005 reviews9 followers
October 1, 2013
Unchained Review on K-Books

First of all let me just say how insanely excited I am that I have finally read this book. I heard about this book back in 2011 when I first discovered the genius that is Jennifer L Armentrout. I had just devoured a review copy of Obsidian, the first book in her YA Lux Series followed by Half-Blood, the first book in her YA Covenant series, and I could not wait to get my hands on more... including this adult Urban Fantasy book. Two YEARS later and I have finally read it and I couldn't be more happy.

Lily is a nephilim, the offspring of a fallen angel and a human and she will do anything to stop the evil that goes on in the world, caused by the fallen angels. But not everything goes to plan. Enter Julian, the fallen angel who is infatuated with Lily... and the one person she can't seem to resist. She is attracted to the one thing that she is supposed to hate. But there are more things going wrong than Lily could imagine. Someone is feeding secrets to the Fallen and Lily is number one suspect. Can she pursue her forbidden relationship and clear her name?

Unchained is a really good start to a promising series. Truth be told, it isn't my favourite JLA book. No where close but it is enjoyable. Unchained was the second book that JLA ever wrote and you can tell. Jen's writing style is as addictive as ever but where as through her Lux series and Covenant series you can see how much she has grown as a writer in the past few years and so, to me, it was obvious that this was one of her earlier books. This by no means hinders the book whatsoever. I was still completely in awe of Jen's superstar writing skills.

Lily is possibly one of my favourite female protagonists of all. She is snarky and kick-ass and does whatever the hell she wants, be damned of the consequences. Who wouldn't love a heroine like that? She was everything I wanted in a Urban Fantasy heroine. I just loved her!

Unchained was a great start to an Urban Fantasy series but I feel like it just lacked the sparkle and magic that I have come to expect in JLA books. I wasn't completely hooked right from the start like I usually am and it took me quite a few chapters to really get into the story. This may have been because of it being an earlier work or it may have been because I don't read a whole lot of Adult Urban Fantasy. I'm definitely more of a YA fan. Once I got 'into' the story I found it unputdownable and by the end I was in love with the story. I can't wait to get my hands on the next installment in this series.

If you are a fan of Adult Urban Fantasy series then I urge you to pick this one up. It's a great unique storyline and it's full of fantastic characters that will take you on an awesome fantasy-filled adventure. Although it didn't blow me away like other JLA books I still enjoyed it and it will definitely be placed on my 're-read' shelf in my kindle ready for the other installments coming.

"I see you as Lily. I see you for who you are, even though you don't."
Profile Image for Rachel Reads Ravenously.
1,804 reviews2,158 followers
February 2, 2016
DNF at about 100 pages in.

Well I never thought I'd see the day where I couldn't make it through a JLA book but here we are. This honestly didn't read at all like her books usually do. The writing felt fairly awkward the entire time.
It could also just be me and my reading slump. Maybe I'll come back to this another day.
Profile Image for Jurate.
42 reviews69 followers
September 19, 2013
I will begin with confession... When I started to read , I looked at the end of book to know who is the bad guy... I always do that and then I always regret it
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But still always do that...

So, anyway , about book...
This is Julian
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And this is my Lily

At first I didn't get about all Nephilim stuff ...
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But I read further and clearly it became much more interesting .

I liked Julian's and Lily's relationships.
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No mather all their difficulties and differences they still stay together.

The sex was HOT
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The chemestry, tension , forbidden fruit is always the best part
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“For eight years I’ve waited for you to realize that. I’ve waited for you to see yourself for who you really are. You’re Lily Marks, a beautiful, extremely clever woman whose capacity for compassion sets you apart from the Nephilim. It’s not your fighting skills or how good of a warrior you are. It’s the fact you look at me and see a man rather than a Fallen.”

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I liked the main books idea. There was lots of action , a little bit drama , humor, sarcasm and of course Julian.
It was my first book about angels. After this one , still have many many questions, I will wait for the second book.

Profile Image for Krissysch.
260 reviews31 followers
August 11, 2021
Puuh, das war das mit Abstand schlechteste Buch, das ich von der Autorin gelesen habe (und das obwohl ich ihre Bücher normalerweise liebe). Klischeehafte Story, gar keine Emotionen, blasse Charaktere, zu viel Sex und dafür gar keine nachvollziehbaren Gefühle.. Nicht mit ihren anderen Büchern zu vergleichen..
Profile Image for Kaila.
728 reviews13 followers
March 15, 2017
4.5/5 stars
RE-READ: March 2017

“It was like a date - a weird, twisted date that would probably end with them killing something”

This book has been a long time favourite of mine. It's one of the books that transitioned me out of the YA genre and into the world of adult romance...and for that, it holds a dear place in my heart. Unchained is pure escapism, it's fast, full of drama, sexy and funny! I enjoy myself so much reading this book and it always leaves me smiling. You can be guaranteed that I'll be re-reading this book again in the near future.

Lily has is a born and breed demon hunter, it's practically all she knows. She's a part of the Nephilim race which are half-angel, half-humans and basically protect humanity from the evil fallen angels, their minions and the trail of possessed humans that they leave in their wake. She has never thought of how much she's been missing out on until Julian, the fallen angel who seems to be following her points it out. He's been protecting her for the last eight years but Lily can't seem to understand that one of her sworn enemies might not actually be as evil as she's been lead to believe. Torn between her feelings for Julian and her loyalty to her race, Lily must decide which is more important: love or duty.

I'm just going to come right out and say that I lowered my original rating if this book from five stars to four stars (actually 4.5). I still loved this book but I don't think I enjoyed it as much as I remember when I first read it in 2015. I can't give a clear reason for not liking it as much but I suspect that either my tastes have just changed or the mystery wasn't as fun since I knew the plot twist. There's a mysterious, unknown betrayer in the Nephilim which is a major plot throughout the book but since I already knew who it was, I couldn't enjoy the revelation and anticipation as much.

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In saying that, this book still had all the elements that I remember and love. It was a very light and fast-paced book with a lot of action, romance and witty banter. This is just one of those super fun reads that never fails to make me smile and laugh. Lily was a very snarky and sassy character which is always fun to read! I'd still consider this one of my favourite Jennifer L. Armentrout books which is especially impressive because this is one of her first books written.

“I see you as Lily. I see you for who you are, even though you don't.”

I'm not going to lie, the romance is by far my favourite part of this book. Julian is one of my first ever book boyfriends and I still love him after all this time. Sure he had some stalker-ish tendencies but I'm going to look past that by saying that he only wanted to protect Lily. He is a very supportive and respectful lead male whilst still being hot as hell and totally panty-melting. I loved him from the beginning and enjoyed his dark and brooding side as well as his more caring and humorous side. He was always there for lily when she needed him most and even when she pushed him away, he supported her. Talk about perfect boyfriend material!

I actually loved the fallen angel and Nephilim politics and history and it was one of my favourite aspects about the book. I'd say that angels are my favourite paranormal beings and I just find them so darn interesting. I've read a lot of reviews saying that they didn't like this aspect of the book, but it's actually one of them any reasons why I love it! I really enjoyed the simple but well-developed magic and paranormal system in the book. Usually it takes a whole series for me to fully understand a paranormal world but Jennifer L. Armentrout made a world that was interesting and fun but still simplistic and easily understood. The author has put her own fun and quirky spin on angels and nephilim and their place in our society.

This has been one of my favourite paranormal books for a long time and I'm a little sad that I don't want to rate it five stars anymore, although 4.5 really isn't much of a drop. I still really freaking love the book; it's a light-hearted book with humorous banter, plenty of sexy times, a sweet as hell romance and one of my all time favourite leading heroes.

“For eight years I’ve waited for you to realize that. I’ve waited for you to see yourself for who you really are. You’re Lily Marks, a beautiful, extremely clever woman whose capacity for compassion sets you apart from the Nephilim. It’s not your fighting skills or how good of a warrior you are. It’s the fact you look at me and see a man rather than a Fallen.”
Profile Image for Plamena.
166 reviews
September 23, 2013
5 STARS!!!!

From the moment I started reading "Unchained" I knew I would love it.

J. Lynn/ Jennifer Armentrout is an amazing author. The stories and the worlds she creates in her books are so perfect that you can never forget them. This book is no exception. The plot was VERY interesting. The book was full with action, suspense, heartbreak, mystery and lots of steamy moments!! There were fallen angels, demon-hunters and possessed humans.

Lily is a Nephilim and hunts (and kills) demons and fallen angels. But what happens when you fall in love with the enemy?? Or better yet..what happens if the “enemy” is not who you think he is??
Julian is a fallen angel and let me tell you...he is my NEW book boyfriend! I loved him! :)))))) He was pretty much perfection!

Ohhh...and the best thing about the book: NO CLIFFHANGER!! But I’m warning you...when you start this book, make sure you block out a lot of time to read because you will not want to put it down!

Can't wait for the next one <3 :) <3
Profile Image for majo .
652 reviews278 followers
July 29, 2018
I really enjoyed the "forbidden romance" between Julian and Lily, but I didn't care at all about the other characters. I know this book was one of the first written by Jennifer L Armentrout and to be honest, it really felt like that. But I'm on a mission to read every book ever written by this author (because I love her), so I had to read it. It was an okay-book. I enjoyed it while it lasted but I don't think it will stay with me in the future.
Profile Image for Jessie Potts.
1,179 reviews103 followers
October 16, 2012
What's it about: Lily Marks is a demon hunter, which means she's ticked off a ton of creatures. Add to that that she just can't shake her fallen angel, and she's in a whole twisted world. She and Julian aren't supposed to be civil to one another, yet alone want each other. When a spy is discovered in her organization, Lily will start to question not only who she is, but whether Julian is there to help or destroy.

Why you should read it: J. Lynn is the pen name for Jennifer Armentrout, and she has yet to disappoint. While the blurb above sounds action-packed, this is a Jennifer novel, so of course there are more plot twists, more messed-up romances and a heck of a lot more action. Her characters are butt-kicking but realistic, and you'll want Julian for yourself. He's dark, he's sexy and he's all trouble.

For more awesome recs check out the HEA Blog
Profile Image for Fanny.
2,115 reviews54 followers
June 29, 2017

Revisando mis libros pendientes recorde que esta era una de las pocas novelas de Jennifer L. Armentrout que no habia leido, no recuerdo exactamente porque no la lei antes, quizas porque la sinopsis no me llamaba la atencion pero es Jennifer, por lo que me dije que merecia la pena comenzar esta lectura.

Honestamente no creo que este sea su mejor trabajo ni tampoco es mi libro favorito pero partiendo de que es uno de sus primeros libros, no esta del todo mal, obviando algunos detalles que me parecieron que no terminaban de pegar con la trama, es una novela que cumple su funcion de entretener y mantener tu atencion, la primera mitad se me hizo bastante densa, en parte porque habia mucha informacion junta pero la segunda mitad tiene mejor ritmo, ademas de que es en el momento en el que la trama se anima y se vuelve muy atrapante.

En rasgos generales me gusto la lectura, fue interesante y entretenida, no me hubiera molestado que la autora hubiera continuado escribiendo mas libros sobre el mundo de Lily pero tambien quede satisfecha con el final que tuvieron Julian y Lily.

3 Estrellas!
Profile Image for katnissbraid..
394 reviews34 followers
June 24, 2014
After finishing this book I was so sorry because I really like Jennifer L. Armentrout, she's funny, talented and I loved the first books of Covenant and Lux but these late works? not so much. Then I've read that this book had been written in 2008 so actually it comes before the novels that I actually loved. So I feel much better. The fact is that the story is too much chained (yes, I use my puns really well) to others urban fantasy books, I can find lots of the Richelle Mead's works too. (especially georgina kincaid) so I couldn't really enjoy her light and funny style, that I will always love. Also the characters weren't really enjoyable, Julian is a stalker and not the good kind, Lily should be a badass but she's always saved by someone else, Luke & Nate are plain and obvious (really, the rat thing for me was pretty obvious from page 150...), I liked Michael but his POV was too similar to Lily's one. So, I'm sorry JLA but this one wasn't as good as the others.

pre-reading thoughts:

Non penso Jennifer L. Armentrout abbia una vita sociale, devo dirvelo. Ma non può fregarmene di meno perchè ddfvfdvdfvdfvbfdb. *piange* *si strappa i capelli* amo come scrive è una delle mie autrici preferite senza dubbio e boh questo libro lo voglio. ORA.

Please mommy Jennifer give me this book, i'll cook cookies for you everyday.
Profile Image for Shraddha.
244 reviews64 followers
Want to read
May 22, 2012
Okay. I want to read this. Why? Just two words.
Jennifer Armentrout. One of the best authors of the millenia.
I cannot wait for this!
Profile Image for Beth.
3,127 reviews262 followers
September 5, 2018
Unchained was nothing like I expected but I'm looking forward to learning more about the Nephilim world.

With all first in this series, Unchained required some in depth world building, character introductions and developing and all the general goodness you need when discovering a new world the author has created. Lynn capitalizes on this introduction by vividly painting a world in the reader's imagination.

Enjoyable, entertaining and setting the scene for things to come, Unchained is the spring board for what I am sure to be an amazing series by J. Lynn.

I received this copy of Unchained from Entangled Publishing, LLC - Select. This is my honest and voluntary review.

My Rating: 4 stars
Written by: J Lynn
Series: Nephilim Rising
Sequence in Series: 1
Print Length: 400 pages
Publisher: Entangled: Select
Publication Date: September 17, 2013
Sold by: Macmillan
Genre: Romance

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Unchained-Neph...
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Itunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/audiobook...

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Profile Image for Britney.
203 reviews142 followers
September 22, 2013
Epic, Sizzling, Intense, Mysterious, Perfection

Mind. Blown.

Just when I thought J. Lynn couldn’t possibly get any better…she goes and gives us Unchained.

I was surprised to hear that she wrote this book back in 2008. This book is very different from the rest…for the better!

I could shout from the roof how much I loved this book. I am a huge fan of angel books. I love them! So when I found out that not only is this a new series by J. Lynn but one involving angels, I was thrilled! I had high hopes and expectations..

Unchained surpassed them by a mile!

I loved everything about this book! I can’t believe I am saying this but I think this is my favorite book by J. Lynn / Jennifer Armentrout *gasp!* Big words but true.

What made this book so amazing?

1. Lily! Wow. She kicked ass! I totally have a girl crush on her. She was sarcastic, funny, blunt, strong, beautiful, loyal, compassionate and the girl could seriously kick some ass. Hands down one of my top favorite heroines.

“I’m going to start from the beginning. All I ask is that you don’t interrupt and you silently pray Luke returns with a milkshake quickly, because they make me happy. And you want to keep me happy.”

2. Julian *swoon* I fell completely head over heels with Julian. He was patient, strong, loving, protective, possessive and sex on a stick! Damn. He was yummy. I loved how he waited so long for Lily. He never gave up on her and he was there every time she needed him since the first time he saved her, eight years ago. Call me crazy but I swooned over the whole “stalking” thing. Lol. He followed her to protect her and bide his time until she looked at him the way he looked at her. The thing I loved the most is how Lily was it for him!

“For eight years I’ve waited for you to realize that. I’ve waited for you to see yourself for who you really are. You’re Lily Marks, a beautiful, extremely clever woman whose capacity for compassion sets you apart from the Nephilim. It’s not your fighting skills of how good of a warrior you are. It’s the fact you look at me and see a man rather than a Fallen.”

3. The sexy times were HOT!! I mean, damn, I thought Obsession had some steam but Unchained totally surpassed it. Here is a lil taste ;)

Then his lips settled over her nipple, sucking long and hard. “Julian,” she begged in a heated whisper.
Answering her plea, he pressed his hand against her, slipping one finger into her wetness. Her back arched off the bed as she ground her hips against his hand. The feeling of him- his finger inside her- had her thrashing.
He slipped in two fingers, and the fire in her core flared. His name was like a sinful prayer on her lips, urging him on. Julian’s mouth glided from one breast to the next and then back to her lips. She felt the thick length of him against her and sparks flew. Her fingers dug into his skin as he pressed his entire body against her.

4. Loved Michael and the dual point of views! I can’t wait to see more of him in the next book. He is going to be a great character! You can already tell he will kick ass.

The newcomer looked down expectantly at Lily as they passed, as if he thought she would say something. Micah, on the other hand, shoved his middle finger in her face and mouthed, “Whore.”
Lily started to rise, but Michael was faster. Without thinking of the consequences – like getting his ass handed to him – he snapped the offensive finger backward. Micah let out a howl of pain that made Michael quite happy. “Try to act like a goddamn gentleman.”

5. THERE IS NO CLIFFHANGER!!!! That’s right, I said it. No cliffhanger :)

My list could go on and on but what it all comes down to is… I FREAKING LOVED THIS BOOK!!!!!! Ahhhh it was AMAZING. Every single fan of J. Lynn/ Jennifer Armentrout’s will love this book and those that don’t know of her, they will love her after reading this. I HIGHLY recommend this book to everyone.


The following was posted on J. Lynn's blog about Unchained

Five things to know about Unchained.

1. I wrote it around 2008. It was the second book I ever wrote.

2. Unchained is an Adult book. It is NOT YA or NA

3. Out of all the books I’ve written, I think I had the most fun writing this one.

4. This is how I picture Julian (couldn't get pic)

5. Unchained is a digital only release. No print.
Profile Image for Jess-i-ca ~Sometimes a Gif Witch~.
797 reviews744 followers
November 4, 2013
This was a decent angel book.....You have Lily who is demon-hunter bad ass and has this unmistakeable attraction to Julian who is a Fallen angel.

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She's not supposed to be near him but they always wind up together and he has saved and healed Lily twice from the wrath(touch) of evil Baal.

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They forbid Lily from seeing Julian any more because of her relationship with him and force her to be grounded to the Sanctuary.

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She refuses and unfortunately is suspected of being a traitor against the Sanctuary.

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She is set out on proving them wrong and helping defeat the real bad guy who is helping Asmodeus. Psssttt....The scary looking puppet with the sword below is my version of Asmodeus...HEHEHEHE ;)

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But the question remains whether Julian wants to be with her or is against her.

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There were a few revelations revealed such as how Julian became a fallen that I wasn't expecting or was somewhat disappointed in.

Some of the scenes were pretty hot in this book as well....if ya know what I mean....

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This book didn't have a cliffhanger ending but its seemed more like a HFN (Happy For Now) ending. There are still some unanswered questions. I will say its a little weird seeing a Sweet Baby Jesus stated in an angel book...haha Anyways, decent read.

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Profile Image for yourheartbooks.
219 reviews47 followers
July 24, 2021
"Unchained" von Jennifer L. Armentrout ist ein Buch, das es mir nicht leicht gemacht hat. Ich liebe die Bücher von der Autorin und würde alles von ihr lesen. Hin und wieder ist aber eine Enttäuschung für mich dabei. Dazu gehört leider auch "Unchained".

Ich hatte eigentlich gar keine großen Erwartungen an die Geschichte. Ich wollte nur endlich wieder mal ein Buch lesen, was mich vollkommen die Zeit vergessen lässt. Dies war nicht der Fall und oft musste ich mich sogar durch die Seiten quälen. Doch beginned mit etwas positiven - Ich liebe das Cover! Es ist schlicht, aber fantasievoll und in meinen Augen atemberaubend schön!

Auch der Schreibstil von Jennifer L. Armentrout hat mir äußerst gut gefallen. Dieser hat mich noch nie enttäuscht. Allerdings finde ich, dass ich als großer Jennifer L. Armentrout-Fan relativ schnell gemerkt habe, dass dieses Buch zu ihren ersten Werken zählt. Bzw. ist mir stark aufgefallen, dass ihre letzten Bücher mittlerweile stilvoller und spannender geschrieben sind.

Die Handlung in diesem Buch war mir viel zu vorhersehbar. Nach wenigen Kapiteln hatte ich bereits die gesamte Handlung durchschaut und hatte dementsprechend keinen Spannungsbogen. Meist hat in der Geschichte der Sinn und die Authentizität gefehlt. Dafür wurden die erotischen Szenen ausgiebig bis ins kleinste Detail beschrieben, was mir weniger gefallen hat. Aus diesem Grund gleicht dieses Buch fast einem Erotikroman, was man beim Kauf vielleicht wissen sollte. Ohne diese erotischen Szenen wäre das Buch für mich sogar ein 4-Sterne Buch geworden. Ich liebe leidenschaftliche Romantasy-Geschichten, aber in "Unchained" war es mir zu viel des Guten.

Die Charaktere wirkten stark und vielseitig auf mich. Protagonistin Lily war meist sehr naiv und aufgesetzt. Dennoch hat sie mit ihrem humorvollen und kämpferischen Charakter einen positiven Eindruck bei mir hinterlassen. Julian war mir, trotz dessen, dass er Lily stalkt, eigentlich sympathisch. Ich finde aber, dass er in seiner Rolle als gefallener Engel nicht glaubhaft an den Leser vermittelt wurde. Er wird als unnahbar und unglaublich attraktiv bezeichnet. Andererseits ist er als Engel angeblich total gefährlich, aber stattdessen ist er zahm und langweilig. Sein krasser Beschützerinstinkt und sein Stalker-Verhalten haben mich ab einem gewissen Punkt nur noch genervt. Michael ist ein weiterer wichtiger Charakter, den ich aus diesem Buch am liebsten mochte. Bei ihm setzte bei mir ständig der Beschützerinstinkt ein. An weitere Charaktere kann ich mich tatsächlich kaum erinnern...

Die Beziehung zwischen Lily und Julian finde ich sehr toxisch und schwierig. Er hat sie oft zu Dingen genötigt, die sie eigentlich gar nicht wollte. Im Prinzip hatten beide eine enorme sexuelle Anziehung, aber es konnte sich keine echte Bindung entwickeln, was gegen Ende des Buches für mich persönlich sehr deutlich wurde. Das große Finale war enttäuschend und wurde auf wenigen Seiten zusammengefasst.

Einige Parallelen zu der Wicked-Reihe sind mir aufgefallen. Doch diese Reihe kann ich bei weitem mehr empfehlen. "Unchainend" hat mich für mehrere Stunden ganz gut unterhalten, aber ich hätte ebenso auch auf diese Geschichte verzichten können.
Profile Image for Serena (The Book Comedian).
124 reviews168 followers
September 28, 2013

SIGHHHHHH, what is this uninteresting streak that Jennifer Armentrout has? Or is it me? I don't know but my feelings toward her first books and her newer ones have a drastic difference. I would consider her first books as ones I cannot live without and the newer ones to be soo....

When I read her recent paranormal books it feels like she defies the laws of logic just a tad too much, actually it's pretty ridiculous, I wouldn't be surprised if she added robotic rainbow unicorns to all of them.

The books are decent length at about 300-400 pages and it SEEMS like there's a lot going on, but in reality NOTHING is going on. I can describe the whole story in a few sentences...so I feel like I'm reading a bunch of jibberjabber.

Hashtag feelings: #boring-books-in-disguise #uninteresting #unnecessary-childish-disagreements #plot-going-no-where

Her first books were really good, it felt natural and creative like she thought of this great story and then decided to write them down. Now it just feels like she wants to publish another book so she forcefully thinks of something to write about and tries to make it long enough by filling it with nonsense.
Profile Image for Dragana.
1,584 reviews143 followers
August 8, 2016
If someone told me that romance novel written by Jennifer L. Armentrout could be this bad, I would have called him the liar. Her world-building and characterisation may be shaky at times, but romance - it's always sizzling hot.
But Unchained was bad. I don't know what was worse, the plot or the romance. I would have DNF-ed it, but I needed it for two challenges, so I courageously struggled to reach the end.

Some of the reasons why I didn't like Unchained:
- Heroine is (allegedly) kick-ass warrior, but she goes on missions in pleated mini skirts.
- Almost no female characters (except our MC).
- All male characters are devastatingly handsome and fixated in one way (or another) on Lily.
- Julian is stalking and spying on Lily all of the time. But since he's hot and has her best interests at heart, it's OK.
- The story about Nephilim is unoriginal. Cassandra Clare did it already much better.
- We jump into the middle of events. I had to go back and check if I missed some previous book or prequel novella. A lot of backstory was missing.
Profile Image for Shambhawi P..
Author 1 book57 followers
September 22, 2013
Including Unchained, I have read 15 of Jennifer Lynn Armentrout books. And I see a definite pattern here.
That is a great enough number, I believe, to make a comment about the writing style without it being a personal attack on the author - so suck it up GoodReads.

Armentrout's books lack originality.

Oh - I admit there is definite appeal in her writing style and her characters and their interactions almost always seem to crack me up. But the plot itself is never anything too out of the norm or spectacular.

The Covenant Series/Vampire Academy controversy notwithstanding, her books have always been sort of the formula stories. And with her quirky, addictive writing style they actually work out too.

And she is also one of my favorite YA authors.

But like Wait For Me, similarities to other books of the same genre drastically affected what love I would have had for Unchained.

And bless the Holy Trinity of Predictable Plot, Stupid Heroine and Chauvinistic Hero - tralallalalala ---- I could not enjoy Unchained.


Not good Armentrout - not good at all.

Apart from the complete lack of originality - on the part of the plot, characters and the cover design - the writing in this book was not as smooth as other Armentrout books either.

The changes in scenes were awkward and some of the chapter endings were also like Why Dafuq Did We Stop Here? And I could not follow the budding romance between the Idiotic Female Protagonist Specimen #33422 and One Dimensional Love Interest Specimen (Only Known By His Hotness Hereafter) #34323. It was awkward abrupt and purely physical. There was no depth to their feelings and no basis for that level of trust and intimacy and yet... There is. All of that.

Among the secondary characters Michael looked interesting and there was a big fucking plothole covering of convenience done in his story that I did not even know what to say to that.

The bad guy was obvious from the get go.

I did not enjoy reading this book.

But I did not totally hate it either. It was kinda.. Meh. There were things I hated more than things I liked, yes, but I HAVE read a heckuva lot worse books and to be completely honest I would have been a lot less disappointed if this were a book by a different author. It may not e fair of me to say this, but it is true.

But it's J. Lynn and Me expected a Masterpiece.

Expectations = Not Met.

2 Stars.
Profile Image for Sue_reads_books.
365 reviews28 followers
May 20, 2021
3,5 🌟

Das war jetzt nicht das beste Buch der Autorin, das ich gelesen habe, aber es war eine solide und unterhaltsame Geschichte.

Lily ist eine Nephilim und ihr Job ist es im weitesten Sinne, Dämonen zu jagen, sich von Gefallenen fernzuhalten, und sich nicht in Schwierigkeiten zu bringen. Das ist aber gar nicht so leicht, wenn man von einem Gefallenen verfolgt wird, der einem ständig aus der Patsche hilft, jemanden ausbilden soll, der als erwachsener Nephilim durchs Netz gerutscht ist, und sich außerdem ein Verräter in den eigenen Reihen versteckt.

Ich muss sagen, dass ich noch ein wenig unschlüssig bin, wie ich die Geschichte einordnen soll. Vielleicht sollte man hier noch erwähnen, dass es das zweite Buch der Autorin überhaupt ist, in einer deutschen Erstauflage. Das heißt, es ist schon etwas älter und man merkt sehr, dass sie sich inzwischen extrem weiterentwickelt hat, auch wenn der Schreibstil hier auch schon toll ist.

Einerseits bekommt man hier schon eine spannende Urban Fantasy Geschichte, mit zwei verschiedenen Perspektiven, vielen Dämonen, Engeln und Geheimnissen, andererseits wird man aber auch direkt in eine lovestory geworfen, die anfangs noch nicht so richtig eine ist. Ich habe etwas gebraucht, um durch das Verhältnis, das Lily zu Julian hat, durchzusteigen. Ist er ein lästiger Stalker, der seine eigenen Pläne mit ihr hat? Oder ist er wirklich verliebt in sie? Fühlt sie sich ernsthaft zu ihm hingezogen? Man weiß es erst nicht.
Später nimmt diese lovestory aber einen recht großen Raum ein, wobei ich sagen muss, dass die expliziten Szenen sehr explizit sind und für mich definitiv keinen Jugendbuchcharakter mehr haben. Allerdings konnte ich auch nirgends eine Altersempfeung finden.
Natürlich kann die Autorin sowas gut schreiben, keine Frage, und das Alter der Protagonistin mit 26 Jahren könnte schon ein Hinweis darauf sein, allerdings kam das trotzdem auch ein bißchen unerwartet für mich 😅
Nichtsdestotrotz waren Lily und Julian wirklich süß.
Letztendlich fand ich gut, dass die Geschichte nie ganz den Fokus auf den Fantasy-Aspekt verliert, welcher auf jeden Fall Spaß gemacht hat. Die Grundidee hat mir wirklich gut gefallen und auch der ein oder andere plottwist konnte mich überraschen.

Das kleine Drama am Ende konnte mich dagegen nicht ganz überzeugen, und ich bin auch nicht sicher, ob ich nicht noch einige Dinge die Nephilim betreffend gern genauer erklärt gehabt hätte.

Als wirklich positiv habe ich es empfunden, dass die zweite Perspektive nicht die von Julian war, sondern die von Michael, da man dadurch auf jeden Fall einen viel tiefergehenden Einblick bekommt.

Fans der Autorin werden mit diesem Buch auf jeden Fall gut unterhalten.
29 reviews53 followers
August 15, 2012
I'm a huge fan of Jennifer and until now, no book of hers has failed me. So, I have some pretty big expectations from this one.

A ball busting chick. A swoon-worthy male lead. Some smokin' hot forbidden love. The holy trinity of fabulous YA book.

I can't wait to get my hands on this one!!
Profile Image for VampireNovelFan.
426 reviews218 followers
October 31, 2013
More Like Fangirl Rising

After reading Jennifer Armentrout flex her YA skills with the Lux novels, I was ever so curious to check out her adult skills with Unchained. I will be honest and say that any series set in Washington, DC like this one is will automatically make me a little biased. But I probably would have loved this book if it took place in Timbuktu (well, not really, but any urban setting would have worked). I have grown to enjoy the fallen angel subgenre almost as much as a vampire one and books like this are probably why.

After reading the novel I learned that this was actually an earlier novel by Armentrout and while I enjoyed it, finding the plot and characters satisfying enough, I wasn’t surprised. If there was one area I could criticize it would definitely be the world building aspect. We definitely hear about Washington, DC, but she does very little to actually show us the setting with good details. It’s only because I live here that the setting makes sense to me. She has since improved in that area with her Lux novels.

The characterizations are very good, especially when it comes to Julian, the fallen angel. I don’t doubt he’ll make the book boyfriend list for many readers. While I personally liked Lily, I think she would have to grow on other readers. She’s brash, overconfident and loves to dive head first into danger. But she’s Nephilim (a fallen angel/human hybrid), what do you expect? She’s also a bit of a rebel but for me that made her all the more fun. She’s good at what she does so she can back it up…for now.

While I would call this an urban fantasy, it definitely comes on strong with the romance too. The chemistry between Julian and Lily is totally scorching, but you’re never allowed to feel comfortable with their relationship because they are inherently on opposing sides. There’s just enough tension to keep things interesting the whole way through. I was honestly fearing a potential love triangle, so if you’re concerned about that, don’t be. There are definitely bigger fish to fry as to what can drive a wedge between the two.

There’s a lot of action and brutality and I honestly wasn’t always sure of the characters’ motivations which kept things from being too predictable. All in all there was never a dull moment for me, so even though this is an earlier work of Armentrout, it’s still plenty enjoyable and re-readable. I will absolutely be reading Book 2 and I’m crossing my fingers that it can release on time in 2014.

*Review also posted to Amazon.
Profile Image for Lihini Wijesinghe.
203 reviews10 followers
July 22, 2014
updated review

yay angels!
What a confusing book.
Without given any details about he relationship with Julian, it all just seemed a bit tacky, and the way she kind of just changed her mind about how she saw things with the angels after being raised with strict rules was quite unbelivable. You don't just change our mind about something you've lived by your life without any second thoughts.

Sydney Sage from Bloodlines is a great example of that. She was changed in a realistic way.

SO the story.

Very nice, entertaning and sassy, just like all of her books. I love the easy way her books are written in, even though it's paranormal fantasy she still finds a way to make it a fun summer-read book.

Something alllllll her characters have in common though in all of her books is that they all use the same slang words.


Give us something unique with each character, it's like writing about the same character with a different name in a different setting.
Profile Image for Yasmin Halliwell Fraser Bower.
495 reviews66 followers
August 9, 2016
This book is perfect for lovers of the shadowhunter chronicles and Hush Hush. If you just finished reading them, then here’s the book to pick up if you need more. Action packed with demons and butt kicking. Lily, the main character, is totally Isabelle Lightwood. I mean it, she just needs the hills.
I liked this book, but I think the sexy fun times were pure lust and not love, so it wasn’t deep. It was unnecessary. I didn’t LOVE the book, but that’s just me suffering a reading slump. I was just bored because I prefer The mortal instruments idea of Nephilim and these universe was a little less deep, so it didn’t do it for me. Plus, the relationship between Lily and Julian was just not there, it felt forced. Like introducing those moments to lighten the mood of the book. I’ll give it 3 out of 5 stars.
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