TITLE: Rage and Ruin
AUTHOR: Jennifer L. Armentrout
SERIES: The Harbinger #2
Publisher: Inkyard Press
PUBLICATION DATE: June 9, 2020
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Dangerous secrets and forbidden desires lead to shocking consequences… Don’t miss book two of the fantastical Harbinger trilogy from #1 New York Times bestselling author Jennifer L. Armentrout.
Half-angel Trinity and her bonded gargoyle protector, Zayne, have been working with demons to stop the apocalypse while avoiding falling in love. The Harbinger is coming…but who or what is it? All of humankind may fall if Trinity and Zayne can’t win the race against time as dark forces gather.
As tensions rise, they must stay close together and patrol the DC streets at night, seeking signs of the Harbinger, an entity that is killing Wardens and demons with no seeming rhyme or reason. Forbidden to be with each other, Zayne and Trinity fight their feelings and turn to unusual sources for help—the demon Roth and his cohorts. But as deaths pile up and they uncover a sinister plot involving the local high school and endangering someone dear to Zayne, Trin realizes she is being led…herded…played for some unknown end. As anger builds and feelings spiral out of control, it becomes clear that rage may be the ruin of them all.
Setting the Scene
Review in 10 Words
Overall a good read, but disappointing in some ways.
Mood Before Reading
Excited! I’ve been waiting over a year to read this.
Omg, the plot was so good! I made putting up with all the side drama worth it. Never would I have guessed the outcome in a million years. Seriously! There were so many twists and turns that kept me rethinking and rethinking what I thought was going to happen next.
And that cliffhanger! Ugh, I need the next book ASAP. To try to make up for the year I have to wait, I decided to reread Every Last Breath (The Dark Elements #3), and now I have a working theory of what may have happened. But still! I need confirmation! Speaking of The Dark Elements (TDE) series…
The Dark Elements Callbacks
I still stand by the idea that you don’t necessarily need to read The Dark Elements series (though you should – it’s one of my favorite series) to understand what’s going on in Rage and Ruin. That said, having that background is more beneficial this time around than with Storm and Fury. There are just a lot more throwbacks and vague mentions, so reading TDE would enhance your understanding of what’s happening by quite a bit.
And of course, reading TDE would give you more info about Roth and Layla’s (and I guess Zayne’s) background. Honestly, Rage and Ruin earned an extra half star just for the appearances and mentions of TDE characters. I missed Roth’s snark, Layla’s goodness, Cayman’s sassiness, and Bambi’s cuteness, so it made my day to see them again.
In Storm and Fury, we learn that Trinity has retinitis pigmentosa (RP), the eye disease that JLA has in real life. If I remember correctly, we saw a bit of how RP affected Trinity’s life, but it wasn’t that much of a focal point. In Rage and Ruin, however, RP takes on a more significant role. I appreciated reading about Trinity was coming to terms with having it, more on how it affects her life, and how she has to compensate for the gradual loss of her vision. It’s clear that Trinity is still a badass regardless of the state of her eyes. Reading about it is especially interesting because there aren’t many fantasy novels where the main character has a disability that can affect her abilities.
Reliance on The Dark Elements Series
Okay, first off, I still stand by what I said earlier, that Roth and Layla’s appearances/mentions helped up my enjoyment of Rage and Ruin. That said, their appearances also inadvertently highlighted some of the weaker points of the book. I was just so much more invested in them and their love than I was of that of the actual main characters of the book.
I… sigh I wanted to like Trinity and Zayne so much, but I just wasn’t entirely convinced. They both had their moments where they shined, but neither of them felt fully fleshed out or deserving of my love. Which is fine – characters don’t necessarily have to be likable for me to like the book. But the fact that I like a sidekick ghost character (hi Peanut!) more than either of the two main characters is a tad problematic.
Trinity was just so childish sometimes. Every time something went wrong or didn’t go her way, she would just pout. Sometimes I forgot she was in her late teens, and not twelve. Trinity also comes with a sense of eh, how should I put this… entitlement? over her angel blood. It made her come off as a brat at times. Bratty and childish isn’t exactly a great combo. That said, I did appreciate whatever character development Trinity did go through, and I get that she had a sheltered upbringing where everyone treated her like a special snowflake, so I get her attitude isn’t entirely her fault.
Zayne, on the other hand, was completely flat – he’s almost as closed off and stony (pun intended, thanks Roth!) as he was in the first book. Which, I guess, isn’t that big of a deal since he’s been through a lot with everything that happens in TDE universe. Plus, we only see him from Trinity’s point of view, so who knows what he’s thinking, but it still kinda bothers me.
Yeah, I wasn’t the biggest fan of the romance. It wasn’t that I didn’t like Trinity and Zayne together (we all know I’m a sucker for forbidden love). It’s just like with the characters; I felt like the romance was underdeveloped. Maybe in part due to the lack of character development. I feel like they had more chemistry in the first book? The whole triangle and miscommunication issues certainly didn’t help.
I enjoyed reading Rage and Ruin with all its twists and turns. I liked the plot, the return of old characters from The Dark Elements, and how retinitis pigmentosa was integrated into the story. However, I had problems with how the characters and romance were written and developed.