Rage and Ruin by Jennifer L Armentrout Book Review
Updated: Jan 18
Rage and Ruin
by Jennifer L Armentrout
Published by Inkyard Press
Book #2 in the Harbinger Trilogy
FORBIDDEN ALLIANCES, FORBIDDEN LOVE.
A half human, half angel and her bonded gargoyle protector must work 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.
RATED: 14+ CATEGORY: MOOD:
Foul language #YoungAdult Exciting
Steamy moments #Supernatural Emotional
Excuse me while I take a moment.
Okay. Deep breaths.
Rage and Ruin by Jennifer L Armentrout is the second book in the Harbinger trilogy, and starts hours after the first book ended, with Trinity and Zayne bonded, and Trinity dealing with the pain of having to kill her best friend who betrayed her. Rage and Ruin continues the search for the Harbinger. While trying to find a faceless enemy, and more questions piling up than answers, Trinity and Zayne also are trying to live with one another, while not succumbing to their feelings, and breaking the one rule between Protector and Trueborn; Don't fall in love.
I don't even know where to start. I literally finished this book an hour ago, and my face is still puffy from crying. Rage and Ruin is totally unique in it's genre, consistent in it's action and story from the first book, and the series it spins off from, The Dark Elements, and the story ... well, what can I say? Rage and Ruin is the perfect blend of Jennifer Armentrout's amazing story telling, intriguing mystery, humor and romance. One of the best things, was it's unpredictability. Usually by the time I am half way through the book, I already know how it will end. I had predictions that were blown up. Obliterated.
Sorry. I'm still in shock from that ending (and in Jennifer Armentrout style, it's a cliffhanger.) I don't want to spoil you. All I can say, it by the time my Kindle said I had only 10% left of the book to read, I had to keep putting the book down. I needed to take moments to breathe. I needed to process. That last 10% has wrecked me for the rest of the night. Case in point:
The Ben & Jerry's came out right after I finished and rated the book on Goodreads.
I'm almost done this review, and I'm down a glass of wine.
I honestly can't choose which female heroine I'm more in love with from Jennifer's books. They all have qualities that makes them unique, but they all have one thing in common; Strength. Trinity is no exception. She is strong, brave, and caring, but flawed. I love that she has flaws, and while it bothers her, and she knows she could be better, she owns it. Her arc in this book is kind of perfect, and she doesn't end up anywhere she thought she would be. And Zayne. Oh, sweet Zayne. His character has come a LONG way from the Dark Elements series, and even since Storm and Fury. He takes his new role as Trin's Protector seriously, but he also refuses to take anything sitting down. He's learned from the past, and it benefits him in this book. He finally takes times to really think about everything that has happened in the past, and not only gains perspective, but peace.
We get to see some old favorites. Roth, Layla, and Cayman make several appearances, and they add so much to the story, which, as someone who truly enjoyed the Dark Elements series, I appreciate. We don't get the trio just for the sake of seeing them again. They have a place in the story.
I want to point out one of my favorite things in this book, is Trin confiding in Zayne about her eyesight, and her fears. While Trinity is a fictional character, Jennifer Armentrout gave Trinity a piece of herself. Specifically, retinitis pigmentosa. All those fears Trinity deals with, how difficult it is to get through tasks people with eyesight take for granted, is all the more impacting, because Jennifer lives it. I am lucky. I don't have a disability. I do, however, live with three people who do. We have always been very open with everyone about the fact that, all three of my daughters are on the spectrum. We raise them to feel no shame ... but they are human. I'm sure there are moments, especially my teenagers, where they struggle with their diagnosis. I can be empathetic, but I can never truly say I know how they feel. Trinity has a moment where she explains that she has a hard time admitting she has a disability, has trouble asking for help because she wants to be self-sufficient, and not burden others ... well it made me think. Not just about my children, but those of society that live with a disability ... and believe me, there is so many out there. I appreciate the moments we step out of the supernatural part of the story, and into territory that makes us think.
Rage and Ruin was ... an epic second part of this trilogy. I don't say that lightly. It truly was. It checked off so many things that makes a book amazing. I have no complaints. At all. Jennifer L Armentrout proves time and time again that she is one hell of an amazing writer. If you want to start from the beginning, start with the Dark Elements Trilogy before the Harbinger Trilogy. You don't have to though. I read Storm and Fury before finding out it was a spin off series, and you can easily start with this Trilogy first. Now, to begin the long wait for the final book.
Where to Buy
Trinity: "Oh my God. I've told you a million times to stop doing that."
Peanut: "I'm kind of surprised you still think I listen to you half the the time."
Peanut: "Who's going to take care of me if you die?"
Trinity: "You're dead, Peanut. No one needs to take care of you."
Peanut: "I still need to be loved and cherished and thought of. I'm like Santa Claus. If no one is alive is here to want and believe in me, then I'll cease to exist."
Zayne: "Watch it, or I'll eat this hamburger I got for you right in front of you and enjoy it."
Trinity: "I would drop-kick you into a wall if you did that."
Zayne: "Want something to drink? I think there might be a Coke in here, since you refuse to drink water."
Trinity: "Water is for people concerned about their health, and I'm not about that kind of life."
Trinity: "Thank you for the food. You're a keeper."
Zayne: 'Good. I want to be kept."
Trinity: "Before we look at what you got, I have a favor to ask."
My brows lifted.
Trinity: "I haven't told you what the favor is."
He lifted one large shoulder in a shrug
Zayne: "Whatever it is, you got it."
I stared at him
Trinity: "What if I was asking for you to trade in your vintage Impala for a minivan from the '80's?"
Zayne: "That would be a seriously weird request."
Trinity: "Exactly, and you just agreed to it!"
His head tilted
Zayne: "You're weird, Trin, but I don't think you're that weird."
Trinity: "I feel like I should be offended by that statement."
Zayne: "You don't need to be afraid."
My gaze shot to him
Zayne: "I can feel it. It's like an icicle in my chest. And I know you're not afraid of me or for yourself. You're too much of a badass. You're afraid for me, and you don't need to be. You know why?"
Zayne: "You're strong, and you're a damn good warrior. I might be your Protector in some instance, but when we fight, I'm your partner. I know you're not going to put my ass in a sling because you're not holding your own. There's no way I can fall with you beside me, and no one will best you with me beside you. So, get those fears out of your head."
Trinity: "Funny you would insult my intelligence when you had no idea I was following you."
Demon: "Following me? If that's true, then you've made the stupidest mistake of your life."
Trinity: "Well. I don't think this would even make the top ten stupidest mistakes I've made."
Demon: "You're going to bed for my forgiveness. And pray for your death."
I tensed but planted a smile on my face
Trinity: "So unoriginal. I'm experiencing secondhand embarrassment on your behalf. Why not get a little more creative?"
Suit Demon stared at me
Trinity: "Like how about 'you're going to bed me to stop chewing on your entrails' and 'pray that I toss you off the roof'? Now that paints a not-so-pretty picture, don't you think?"
Suit Demon blinked
Trinity: "Why don't you give that a try? And let's see if I move this encounter to the top twenty on my stupid list?"
Demon: "I'm going to rip out your tongue, and then shove it back through your throat."
I clapped excitedly.
Trinity: "There you go!"
Trinity: "You're going to want to play along and do so quickly, because I have the patience of a hungry toddler and a severe problem with impulsivity. I don't think before I act."
Demon: "It wasn't Bael who told me about you, you stupid cu -"
Punching him again, this time in the jaw, I made sure the dagger handle got in on the action.
Trinity: "That better have been the word cutie that was about to come out of your mouth."
Zayne: "You're not where I left you."
I glanced around the empty rooftop
Trinity: "I'm not."
Zayne: "What part of 'stay where you are' wasn't clear?"
Trinity: "The part where you thought I'd actually listen to you?"
Zayne: "Please tell me you did not follow a demon up here."
Trinity: "I hate that you asked so nicely when I'm going to have to tell you what you don't want to hear."
Zayne: "Want some eggs?"
Trinity: "Sure. Can I help?"
Zayne: "Aren't you the person who almost burned down Thierry's house trying to make fried chicken?"
Trinity: "Aren't you the person who said you'd teach me to make grilled cheese?"
Zayne: "You know, you're right. But I need to feed myself first."
Zayne: "And I really don't want you to do the eggs. Even though they're hard to mess up, I have a suspicion you might do just that, and then I'll be embarrassed for you."
Roth: "You look so thrilled to see me."
Zayne: "I'm just bursting with excitement. I can barely contain myself."
Stacey: "They told me that you're trained to fight like this big guy."
She lifted an elbow at Zayne
Stacey: "That's pretty cool. I didn't know Wardens trained humans."
Roth: "Or raised them. Like pets."
My narrowed gaze landed on the demon
Trinity: "I wasn't raised like a pet, you ass."
The demon had scared the poor puppy, causing it to yelp and topple onto its side with it little legs rigid. And that flipped me straight into Bitch Got to Die mode.
Trinity: "That puppy did nothing to you! A puppy! How dare you!"
God, he was gorgeous.
And that annoyed me - him and his ... pretty hair and eyes ... and mouth and whatever.
Zayne: "What if it wasn't me who came up behind you? What if it was an Upper Level demon?"
Trinity: "I would have sensed it and punched it, too. And then you would've been pulling me off that one."
He stepped forward
Zayne: "You might be as badass as they come, but if an Upper Level demon comes up behind you and you're unprepared, you're in for a world of hurt."
Trinity: "You're my Protector, Zayne, but you sound like you're my keeper. You're not my father."
Zayne: "Thank God for that."
Trinity: "Okay. I had a wee bit of a hard time paying attention, because I'm easily distracted and suffer from chronic boredom. Like right now. I'm bored. With this conversation. So, I'm suffering."
Zayne: "Not as much as I'm suffering right now."
My frown grew until I felt like my face was going to be stuck like that.
Trinity: "Do I even want to know what that means?"
Zayne: "Probably not."
Trinity: "I'm not angry. I'm actually hungry."
I arched an eyebrow
Trinity: "Why do you sound like you don't believe me?"
Zayne: "Maybe because you ate two hot dogs from a street vendor less than an hour ago."
Trinity: "Hot dogs aren't very filling. Everyone knows that."
Zayne: "You also ate fries and half my falafel."
Trinity: "I did not eat half of it! I had, like, a bite of it. I'd never had falafel before and I was curious. Not like you can find them in the hills of West Virginia."
Trinity: "And beating the crap out of the Raver in an inhumane and indecent manner burns a lot of calories. Whatever I ate has been used up and I'm now in a caloric deficiency. I'm starving."
He crossed his arms
Zayne: "I don't think that's how calories work."
I ignored that
Trinity: "We can go back to that place and get you another falafel. I might get one myself. Then we can falafel together."
Zayne: "I need a new shirt, but we need to head back because you smell and you need a shower."
Trinity: "Wow. Way to make me feel self-conscious."
Zayne: "By the way, what did you roll around in back there?"
Trinity: "A puddle of bad life choices."
Zayne: "Huh. I always wondered what that smelled like."
Trinity: "Now you know."
Zayne: "You don't blend in, either."
Trinity: "Because I reek like I imagine a moldy butt smells?"
Zayne: "No. Because you're beautiful, Trin. You have this thing. It's this spark from within. A light. There isn't a single person out here that can't see that."
Roth: "Hey there, Angel Face, you look like you're praying. I hope I'm interrupting."
Roth: "Lucky me. I get to see a Trueborn and a Warden fight - well, play fight, if you two are actually going to do anything other than stare at me like you've been blessed by my appearance."
Trinity: "So, what's up with the tie?"
Roth: "Now that is a question I was dying to ask. BDSM, Stony? I am shooketh."
Zayne: "You were doing really well."
Trinity: "No, I wasn't. I was barely able to get near you."
Zayne: "But you did get near me."
He shifted slightly, and his thumb grazed my lower lip.
Zayne: "This is the first time you've tried this. You're not going to be perfect right off the bat. You have to give yourself time."
Trinity: "I don't know if I can do this."
Zayne: "I know you can. I don't have a single doubt in my mind."
Roth's voice broke the silence, and holy crap, I'd forgotten he was there. Xayne had, too, based on the way his muscles tensed against me. When Roth spoke again, amusement practically dripped from each word.
Roth: "And I'm asking for a friend. Exactly what kind of training are you guys doing right now?"
Zayne: "I have no idea how you can leap from one roof to another and scale a fire escape, but nearly crack your skill open on a three-foot retaining wall."
Trinity: "Remind me never to say I'm bored again."
Zayne: "Oh, trust me, I will never allow you to say that again."
God, saying that was harder than I realized. Disability. What a loaded word, one I wasn't sure I'd spoken aloud before. Maybe I'd never said it because of what it implied, that there was something different about me, something that had to be accommodated.
But disability wasn't a bad word, and it didn't mean that. It just meant what it meant. I was a Trueborn. And a kick-ass fighter. But I was still disabled at the end of the night. And I knew that didn't define me. It wasn't the sum of who I was. It was just a part of me.
Still, it was a hard word to say.
And I felt bad for feeling that it was a hard word to say. Like I was betraying others with disabilities by finding it hard to admit I, too, had a disability.
Zayne: "You needing my help once or twice or five times in one night isn't an indication of losing your independence."
Trinity: "Then what is it?"
Zayne: "You're doing the best you can, Trinity. You're so damn amazing, and you don't even know it."
My wide eyes met his.
Zayne: "And you're also so freaking frustrating."
The corners of my lips turned down
Zayne: "You know, there've been plenty of times that I've forgotten you can't see well and when I remember, I'm actually kind of shocked that you don't need more help, and you have no idea how ... how in awe of you I am, that you do what you do under these circumstances. That you're carrying out your duty and not holding back or letting your vision limit you. So, dammit, Trinity, don't let what others think or say or even what you fear hold you back when you need help. Don't waste a damn second worrying about it. Let me help you - let anyone help you when you need it, and that'll make you even stronger."
A kiss so chaste, so sweet that it shouldn't have undone me, but it did. The kiss rattled me to my core, just as his words had.
Peanut: "You guys are as awkward as getting caught picking your nose. You should work on that."
Trinity: "Thanks for the advice I didn't ask for."
Peanut: "You're welcome. And by the way - a dude in the shower for that long, after waking up in the morning? What do you think he's doing? Washing his hair twice and deep conditioning with Herbal Essences? Uh, no."
My eyes widened
Trinity: "Oh. Oh."
Peanut: "Let him live his best life."
My gaze flew to the bedroom, and my imagination ran wiiild for about 10.3 seconds. Then, because there was nothing else to do, I walked to the couch and face-planted it.
Peanut: " 'When you was young, you never needed anyone.' "
Peanut sang from somewhere in the apartment. I needed to do laundry. I guessed I could do that this afternoon since I was -
Peanut: " 'All by yourself.' "
Peanut came through the bedroom wall and continues singing about me - or someone - being alone and insecure and unable to see love.
I blinked slowly.
Trinity: "You're a jerk."
Peanut: " 'But you're all by yourself!' "
Trinity: "So, what's Layla doing?"
Roth: "Currently marathoning Doctor Who with Cayman. And I want no part of that life."
Roth: "Did you tell Zayne you were heading out with me?"
Trinity: "No. Doubt he'd be cool with whatever this is."
Roth: "Why? You think he doesn't trust me?"
I folded my arms and said nothing. Roth chuckled
Roth: "He knows I'm a bad influence."
Trinity: "So, your favor is something that's going to fall under you being a bad influence?"
Roth: "Oh, most definitely."
Roth: "A lot of people forget what I am - who I am, in the core of my very being."
Trinity: "Is that so?"
Roth: "They mistake my love for Layla as a kernel of goodness that will take root inside me like a seed, eventually blossoming into a flower of purity and light."
Trinity: "I didn't think that for a second."
Roth: "But a lot do, probably even Stony. As do a lot of other demons. Faye and her coven think that. Do you know how I know that?"
Trinity: "A super secret, extra special demon ability?"
Roth: "Because they had to believe I'm a demon changed into something soft and good to even briefly consider betraying me like they did."
Roth: "But I'm going to let you in on a little secret, my half-angel friend, because you also don't truly understand who I am."
His finger landed on the tip of my nose. I flinched, not having seen him move his hand.
Roth: 'Every cell and molecule of who I am desires, needs and covets Layla. Humans call that love. I call it obsession. Same thing, I suppose, but I am a demon, Trinity. I'm brutally selfish and there are very few things I truly care about. While I may randomly commit acts of perceived kindness, I do them only so that Layla is happy. Because when she's not happy, it makes me want to do really, really bad things to whatever or whoever has upset her."
I pulled away from his hand
Trinity: "Okay. Thanks for the sharefest, but -"
Roth: "But at the end of the day, I'm the Crown Prince of Hell. You do not want to mess with me."
My jaw locked as I felt the grace flare within me
Trinity: "And at the end of the day, I'm still a Trueborn who can reduce you to a pile of ash, so you don't want to mess with me."
Trinity: "You know, I was starting to like you, but you're an asshole."
Trinity: I'm not talking about Zayne."
Roth: "Why not?"
Trinity: "The list of the reasons would be longer than the time it would take for us to walk the length of this hall."
Roth: "Give me the CliffNotes version."
Trinity: "The number one reason is that I'm not talking about Zayne with you."
Roth: "Because I'm the Crown Prince of Hell?"
He slid me a knowing look
Trinity: "No. Because you're the boyfriend of the girl he loves, and talking about anything personal that deals with him seems wrong."
Roth: "Hmm. Loves? Or is it loved?"
Roth: "This should be interesting to watch. Nearly as interesting as watching you and Zayne train."
Trinity: "I might not know a lot about witches, but I was under the impression that you're not supposed to be team good or bad. But boy, did you saddle up with Team Dead, Dumb and Evil."
Faye: "And what team are you on? As you sit beside the Crown Prince of Hell?"
Roth: "Mmm. I love the way you say Crown Prince."
I met Faye's stare.
Trinity: "Like you said. Looks can be deceiving."
Roth: "There's always a choice. Always."
Trinity: "Intentions mean nothing at the end of the day. I mean, you could set a bush on fire and never intend for it to spread to the apartment complex next door, but when it does, it's still your fault."
Roth: "Ah, yes. The whole Trueborn thing. You were promised a Trueborn in exchange for your coven's aid."
Trinity: "Parts. Parts of a Trueborn."
Faye: "Yes. That is what we were promised. Are still promised."
My brows lifted as the anger simmered to near boiling point.
Trinity: "You still think they're going to deliver?"
Faye: "Why would they not? We held up out end of the bargain, and I didn't hear either of you say you killed anyone other than Aym."
I tipped towards the witch
Trinity: "I can one hundred percent assure you that they will not be able to hold up their end of the bargain."
Faye: "And how would you know that?"
I let my grace flow to the surface of my skin. The corners of my vision turned a golden white.
Trinity: "Because I'm the Trueborn that was promised to you."
Faye choked on her water, her eyes bulging as she jerked back against the booth.
I let my admission sink in before I pulled the grace back.
Trinity: "Not ever going to happen."
Faye: "Oh my God."
Trinity: "Pretty much."
I rested my elbows on the table and plopped my chin into my hands.
Trinity: "You didn't just betray Roth, the Crown Prince of Hell. You also betrayed me, and because of that, someone very important to me was gravely injured. Because of that, I had to - . You screwed up. Big time."
Trinity: "Did you just do that? Cause a breeze to roll over the table?"
I widened my eyes
Trinity: "Scary. That was so very scary. I'm actually quaking in my shoes over here."
Roth: "Just so you know? If Bambi dies because of your actions, I will drag out your death until you beg me to end it. And when you beg? I will hunt down every living family member of yours and they will pay for your transgressions. Then, and only then, after you've watched everyone you know and love die because of you, I will end your life."
The Crone: "I knew I would see you again, young prince."
Roth bowed his head
Roth: "Honored once more."
She chuckled as if amused.
The Crone: "You always bring such ... interesting creatures with you Never thought I'd see a Crown Prince or Lilith's daughter, but I did because of you and now the child of an angel is before me. What odd company you keep."
Roth: "It makes life interesting."
The Crone: "You are not like them. You do not see in black-and-white. You see gray and all that exists in between, and I know not if that is a strength or a weakness."
Faye: "I end this deal bartered by the demon Cayman and release this familiar."
Cayman grinned down at the witch
Cayman: "The bargain brokered is voided. Blessed be, bitch."
The Crone: "You know what you need to do, Trueborn. It is what you were born for."
Roth: "She likes you."
Roth: "Bambi. She's trying to keep an eye on you while she's resting."
Trinity: "I'm ... happy to hear that."
Roth: "You should be. Normally she likes to eat people."
Trinity: "I don't see well. Actually, I don't see very well at all."
Roth was quiet for what felt like an eternity.
Roth: "God is ironic, isn't He?"
Roth: "Angel Face?"
Sighing, I turned around and belt down so that I could see into the car
Trinity: "What, Demon Spawn from Hell?"
His lips quirked into a grin
Roth: "Just so you know, what I felt for Layla and what she felt for me was forbidden. That didn't stop us."
Trinity: "Why are you all up in my nonexistent love life, Roth?"
Roth: "Because I saw the way he looked at you, and I know the way he used to look at Layla. It was different."
My brows snapped together
Trinity: "Well, I'm not sure how that's a good thing."
Roth: "Different is not bad, Trinity. Different can be good."
Zayne: "There's nothing more important than seeing the city."
Trinity: "The city is always going to be here, Zayne. It's not that important."
His gaze met mine.
Zayne: "But your vision won't be."
The next breath I took got stuck.
Zayne: "I know you're not going to lose your eyesight tomorrow and maybe not even next year, but why wait and take that chance?"
I was struck silent. He glanced at the sky.
Zayne: "Since we'll run out of daylight in a couple of hours, let's grab something to eat and do an early patrol, so we don't get back too late. Tomorrow I'll show you all that I know. Make a whole day of it."
Trinity: "But ... but we need to be out there as long as we can tonight. The Harbinger -"
Zayne: " - isn't as important as you."
I gaped at him.
Trinity: "It's extremely more important than me, and you, and my eyeballs and everything. It's killing Wardens and demons. We need to find it and stop it before it moves on to killing humans. That's the only thing that's important."
Zayne: "Nah. It's not. You, and you getting to see the city, is a Hell of a lot more important."
Trinity: "You make this so hard."
Zayne: "Make what so hard?"
Trinity: "Not liking you."
Zayne's lips tipped up and a wide beautiful smile appeared, stealing my breath again.
Trinity: "I don't know why you're smiling."
Zayne: "Maybe because ..."
He rose, extending his hand toward me.
Zayne: "Maybe because I'm not trying to make it easy, Trin.&quo