Book Review: Unchained – Nephilim Rising

Title: Unchained

Author: J. Lynn (Jennifer L. Armentrout)

Pub. Date: September 17, 2013

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

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.

This will be a spoiler free review. I listened to the audiobook via Audible.

You all know that I’ve been slowly making my way back through all JLA’s books, so this should be of no surprise. But this wasn’t really on my list of JLA books to re-read this year. But I saw someone talking about it on TikTok and it’s been 6 years since I read it, so I downloaded the audiobook and dove in.

This is one of those books, where the re-read was kind of disappointing.

Ugh. I hate saying that, but this book just lacked so much.

Firstly, I know it was supposed to be a part of a trilogy (at least) and it’s not. Jen never finished it and her reasons are her own. Even though I know there aren’t any other books, that for all intents and purposes it’s a standalone, I can’t help but be disappointed.

Second, Jen writes spicy scenes so much better now. Sex has always been on the page in her books – whether explicitly or covertly – but this book didn’t do it for me. It’s graphic…like I got 50 Shades vibes in the way things are described. It felt like sex was on the page just to Be On The Page and the emotional build up just wasn’t there. It never felt like the spicy moments were the logical next step in the relationship, but rather just something to do. Which, alright, fine some people are like that. But I think the way Jen writes spicy scenes, sex scenes, now, hit a lot harder and make me feel more. Since they’re tied to emotion it has a bigger impact and it’s steamier.

Third, I expected to love Julian, and maybe if there were more books to flesh out his character and the reasonings behind why he does things, I’d be more on board. The same goes for Lilly. I just found myself not really caring. This – I think – harkens back to let’s just have crass sex on the page, versus actual, real character connection.

On the plus side, the book is enjoyable, it’s easy to get sucked in. It kind of has this Lucifer-ish vibe, which I’m totally on board with. I’m all for a resurgence of Angel vs. Demon stories so this fit right into that want. I also can’t help but wonder if this was potentially a precursor for The Dark Elements Trilogy – it kind of feels like it might have been. Especially since they both deal with pretty similar plot lines. I do wish that Jen had finished the series and more time had been spent in this world, but shit happens. If you liked The Dark Elements Series – namely Roth – then you’re probably going to like Julian. And if you’re a fan of Jen’s kickass heroines, then Lilly is your girl. She’s feisty and powerful and takes no shit. Despite my disappointment that this book wasn’t as good as I remember it being, I did enjoy it. Probably not the best book to have listened to at work, but oh well.

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