What the holy hell?!? Wow! This. This right here. This is how my TBR plans get ruined. Series like this, they have to be read immediately and in quick succession. But to my horror, I have to wait until June (JUNE!!) for the next one? No!! 😣
What am I talking about? Read this from Goodreads…
Eighteen-year-old Trinity Marrow may be going blind, but she can see and communicate with ghosts and spirits. Her unique gift is part of a secret so dangerous that she’s been in hiding for years in an isolated compound fiercely guarded by Wardens—gargoyle shape-shifters who protect humankind from demons. If the demons discover the truth about Trinity, they’ll devour her, flesh and bone, to enhance their own powers.
When Wardens from another clan arrive with disturbing reports that something out there is killing both demons and Wardens, Trinity’s safe world implodes. Not the least because one of the outsiders is the most annoying and fascinating person she’s ever met. Zayne has secrets of his own that will upend her world yet again—but working together becomes imperative once demons breach the compound and Trinity’s secret comes to light. To save her family and maybe the world, she’ll have to put her trust in Zayne. But all bets are off as a supernatural war is unleashed…
Full admission. I’ve never read anything by Armentrout before but I can promise it won’t be the last time! I was hooked from the very first. I don’t know if it’s just been my luck but I’ve had really amazing reads so far this year and I’m pretty sure this series is going to go on my ‘Favorites’ list.
The story starts and centers around Trinity. She lives in a compound in the mountains of West Virginia. There’s something special about Trinity that only a handful of people know. So special that she can’t even spill blood without extreme consequences. And I suppose I should use the term “people” loosely because the ones that know are actually called Wardens. They’re shape-shifting gargoyles that are charged with protecting humanity from Demons. And Trinity is one of their prime objectives.
No stranger to being a target, she’s been trained as a warrior and paired with a Warden from an early age. Known as her Guardian, Misha is her best friend. They do nearly everything together as the bond dictates. This bond reminded me of the parabatai connection in ShadowHunters but horribly one sided. It only favors Trinity. 😐 The shared strength helps both but if Trinity dies, the Guardian dies too. If the Guardian dies, she’s left to find a new one. Another negative is the Guardian is never allowed to have a family of his own while Trinity is free to do as she wills. But hey, she’s one of a kind and must be protected at all costs because her father deems it so.
Speaking of Trinity, I loved her! She’s smart and snarky and badass. Suffering from a degenerative eye disease since childhood, she doesn’t allow it to stop her from being one of the toughest fighters in the compound. I did find her initially a little naive though. For an 18 year old, she came across as younger than I’d expect her to act emotionally and intellectually. However, given that she moved to the compound as a child and isn’t allowed outside (not even for school), it was understandable.
Trinity also struggles with no chill and is super impulsive (see slight immaturity mentioned above). It’s the last one that seems to grate on Misha’s patience the most. Like an overprotective big brother, he’s always harping on her to behave. Starting to feel strangled and seeing her other friends getting ready to move on with their lives, Trinity pushes her boundaries farther and farther until one night it goes too far and Misha is kidnapped while trying to protect her.
As if that isn’t enough, in the midst of all this, a group from the Washington, DC clan of Wardens comes to ask Trinity’s clan for help. It seems something has been attacking and killing demons and Wardens alike. And while that is concerning, that’s not what steals Trinity’s attention. Zayne, one of the Wardens, is just as heartbreakingly gorgeous as he is irritating. He shows up randomly when she needs him, pushes her on the training floor, and carries a truckload of secrets. Like the fact that his eyes aren’t quite right for a Warden and he chose to step down from leadership instead of taking his father’s place.
So when Zayne offers to help her find Misha in exchange for help investigating the murders, Trinity quickly accepts. Of course it comes with a big ‘ole bonus of spending alone time with the sexy Warden she’s slowly becoming more and more attracted to, so that’s nice. Unfortunately, the deeper she falls for Zayne, the more painful it is to learn that some of his secrets stand in the way of them ever truly being together.
As I mentioned, this is the first time I’ve read something by JLA (as she’s affectionately called by fans). I learned later that this is a spin-off series but that didn’t deter from the story itself. The world building was clear enough that I didn’t feel lost. Yes, you get the sense that some of the characters have a deep backstory (like our Zayne) but it’s not central to what’s happening now. I really loved all the pop culture references too! But one thing I absolutely was intrigued by was the differences between the West Virginia clan and the DC clan. For example, the WV clan’s Warden women were only expected to be mated and produce lots of gargoyle babies. In DC, they were trained to fight and treated as equals to the males.
There’s so much, I mean, SO MUCH more I could go into (like how amazing Peanut is!) but really, you just need to pick this one up and read it! You absolutely won’t be disappointed. Well, maybe you will when you learn that the next book in the series doesn’t come out until June. But hey! You can suffer with me. Haha! If you haven’t guessed, I’m giving this one 5 stars. 💜
Small warning for violence and heated sexual scenes (but no sex).
Side Bar: While waiting for Rage and Ruin, I think I’m going to check out the prequel series to this one – The Dark Elements series. For those, like me, that weren’t aware, this one follows a different woman (Layla) but gives us insight into Zayne and the DC clan.