Torn by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Torn (A Wicked Saga #2) by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Published on July 19, 2016 by Jennifer L. Armentrout.

Links: Goodreads.

Source: purchased for Kindle.

Genre: paranormal NA romance.

My rating:

Torn between duty and survival, nothing can be the same. Everything Ivy Morgan thought she knew has been turned on its head. After being betrayed and then nearly killed by the Prince of the Fae, she’s left bruised and devastated—and with an earth-shattering secret that she must keep at all costs. And if the Order finds out her secret, they’ll kill her.

Everything Ivy Morgan thought she knew has been turned on its head. After being betrayed and then nearly killed by the Prince of the Fae, she’s left bruised and devastated—and with an earth-shattering secret that she must keep at all costs. And if the Order finds out her secret, they’ll kill her. Then there’s Ren Owens, the sexy, tattooed Elite member of the Order who has been sharing Ivy’s bed and claiming her heart. Their chemistry is smoking hot, but Ivy knows that Ren has always valued his duty to the Order above all else—he could never touch her if he knew the truth. That is, if he let her live at all. Yet how can she live with herself if she lies to him?

Then there’s Ren Owens, the sexy, tattooed Elite member of the Order who has been sharing Ivy’s bed and claiming her heart. Their chemistry is smoking hot, but Ivy knows that Ren has always valued his duty to the Order above all else—he could never touch her if he knew the truth. That is, if he let her live at all. Yet how can she live with herself if she lies to him? But as the Fae Prince begins to close in, intent on permanently opening the gates to the Otherworld, Ivy is running out of options. If she doesn’t figure out who she can trust—and fast—it’s not only her heart that will be torn apart, but civilization itself.


This is the review for the second part of A Wicked Saga, so there will definitely be some spoilers for the first book of the series. If you’re new to it, you can start by reading my notes on Wicked (it’s not exactly a review, but yeah).

I buddy-read Torn with Becky and Danya, which was my first experience of the kind and I enjoyed it A LOT. We read it in three relatively equal parts (first 10 chapters, then the next 10, then a sprint to the end) and vented after each one. Their comments made me snort-laugh, so you’d better go check out their reviews here and here!

So. Torn. I am in two minds about this book. I would have given it an even lower rating if it wasn’t for its readability and my weakness for Armentrout’s writing. I flew through each of the thirds and liked the tempo if nothing else. However, it’s also a pretty horrible book. If someone told me this was where the story would go, I honestly wouldn’t have started the series. That’s how annoyed I was.

The first issue I have is with Ivy. We find out she’s a halfling (half human, half fae) at the end of Wicked. This means that the fae prince will want to make a baby with her in order to open the gates to the Otherworld, allowing all the nasty fae to swarm into the human realm and take over. I was not okay with this “a woman’s womb is the possible source of the apocalypse” plotline, and I was even less impressed by how Armentrout dealt with it. I mean, I never expected Armentrout to write a feminist story but this was just plain awful.

There are several instances where Ivy is nearly raped, threatened with rape, and drugged by the prince and forced to do things she never would have done otherwise. AGAIN, I know some authors can write about such delicate issues and master them beautifully, however, Armentrout is not such a writer. She has Ivy feeling ashamed for her actions, even though she keeps telling herself she did nothing wrong, and feeling guilty, too. That is appalling. Okay. I’m changing my rating (from 2.5 hearts). This is pissing me off too much even as I write.

Ivy is also so damn cliché when it comes to her personal image. When she’s not thinking that she’s an abomination because she is half-fae (yawn), she’s thinking that she isn’t hot enough for Ren – because he is gorgeous and she is just this special, milk-skinned redhead that no one would look at twice. *facepalm*

Another problem I had was with Ren. The guy was really hot in Wicked and even though he subscribed to the Order’s weird mentality (they killed two innocent people in this part, for example, because their daughter was suspected of being a halfling – she wasn’t, so they were killed for nothing), he was strong and confident and, well, kind of mouth-watering. In Torn, however, he starts off by being an overprotective jackass and steadily progresses into being a controlling, judgmental asshole. Why this change? I have no idea, especially as he’s somewhat redeemed at the end of the book. But I can’t reconcile this last-chapter Ren with the unreasonable guy we meet in the first half of the book. I usually read Armentrout’s books for a good amount of sass and sex and now I couldn’t even enjoy those. Meh.

Armentrout also did a fantastic job of isolating Ivy from all her friends. She even can’t trust Tink properly now that he’s a man-sized brownie, not a tiny winged creature anymore (yeah, that happened…). There are also no significant women left around her – and unless one fae lady who helped her and another human one become much more prominent characters in the third book, Ivy is going to be the only woman around. Also, Armentrout calls women “females”. I just… wow.

Oh! Oh! And Ivy makes a deal that … wait, that’s a spoiler. *spoiler in white* Anyway, she makes a deal with the prince that goes like this: he will release Ren, who has been captured, beaten, and fed on, if she willingly submits to the prince in three weeks – aka sleeps with him in order to make the door-making baby. And she agrees to the deal because a) she feels guilty about Ren being captured, even though we later find out he’d been an asshole and went fae hunting without being ready; b) she doesn’t feel good enough because she’s a halfling anyway, and c) muses that she could still kill herself before sleeping with the prince if she doesn’t manage to escape in time. SHOOT. ME. NOW. *end spoiler* Okay, I feel better now.

I’m not even sure I’ll be reading the third part. Probably not, even though I’m on a mission to finish more series (doing… poorly) and I want to know if Armentrout is capable of redeeming herself. I kind of thought Torn might be the final part but I saw that we have one more book to go (or so it seems now). I was also shocked to see that Torn has a 4,3 rating on Goodreads! Were we even reading the same book?! I don’t think I’ll be picking up her next series, whatever it is, so this might just be the final goodbye. It’s sad and harsh but there are just so many better books out there.


Have you read Wicked and/or Torn? What did you think?

Do you have any good paranormal recs for me?

I’d love to hear from you! :)

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  • OMG I forgot so many things which annoyed me until you reminded me with your review. Ugh, so many missed opportunities to complain about book missed because I forgot things. I mean, I decided not to get too spoilery with my review so I skipped my annoyance about the Tink reveal but I completely forgot I was shocked and annoyed at the killing of Val’s parents. And Ivy’s despairing constantly that she wasn’t good enough for Ren was ridiculous, if anything he wasn’t good enough for her. I definitely didn’t enjoy the sex scenes between Ren and Ivy as much in this book as I feel like I did in the first. Ren just came off cheesy and cringey in this one not attractive in anyway. I mean some of the things he said when it came to the sex scenes was just awkward

    And for some reason your review reminded of the biggest thing which annoyed me in this book. The end! I forgot how annoyed I was when Iv went to the good fae’s hideout after her totally unsurprising rescue. She was all torn up about her isolation and time with the fae with what should probably have been PTSD and some major trust issues from her kidnapping and her time being forced to do things she never wished to but after a few hours with Ren and him being understanding she is already feeling better? I don’t even think so, that girl should have had issues all over the place at the end of the book but a cuddle with her man who announces he totally loved her and didn’t really have doubts about her? I don’t even think so!

    Ugh, honestly, I felt bad about my 2 star review but now reading yours I feel we are totally justified in these low ratings. These books! I swear, some important things will have to happen in the next book to even slightly redeem it. I want other female characters I want a way less cringey romance. I think the only other good thing for me in this book is that I was reminded that Tink is my spirit animal in buying literally everything from Amazon but even that felt ridiculous as it was such obvious product placement on the part of Armentrout (Do you reckon she has some kind of deal with Amazon to mention Amazon, Amazon Prime and all the benefits you get from it in the book as much as possible?).

    • Haha, I know, I read your review (and Danya’s) and kept thinking YES, I forgot about that!

      I think Ren and Ivy are just right for each other, they’re both very annoying to me right now. I might cool down in a while but this is still too fresh in my memory. And YES to the awkward sex talking. Omg, I know romances are chock-full of stupid bedroom talk that would make me burst out laughing if I ever heard it in real life but his was just cheesy and not hot at all. Boo.

      Yep, she should be suffering from ptsd, I wonder what will happen in Book 3 about this, but OBVIOUSLY Ren has magical hands and kisses – Becky, haven’t you found a man like that for yourself yet? They make EVERYTHING better just by being gorgeous and cliche. (Brb, must inform A. he isn’t magical enough.)

      And I haven’t thought about the Amazon thing, do you think it’s possible? :D That would be appaling. Even more than having READERS PICK THEIR OTP in her Dark Elements series. Why oh why did I even bother reading this. Ugh.

      • I suppose that’s why we read others reviews because we all think of something different.

        And that is harsh but true. The two are made for each other with their stupidity and their annoyingness (totally a word). And I hate awkward sex talk. I mean, it’s not always amazing in a romance but it shouldn’t make you laugh or cringe.

        I’m hoping the PTSD at least gets addressed in a small way even if she makes a miraculously speedy recover with Ren’s help. I mean, I know obviously men have some magical healing ability born from true love (duh, true love’s kiss!) but I can only suspend so much disbelief in the idea of magical kisses curing her of her PTSD.

        I totally think the Amazon thing is possible. I mean, in the first book Tink’s addiction was funny but the joke went too far in this one and the way that it went into specifics on the whole Amazon Prime thing definitely felt like product placement to me. I may be reading into things but it is not beyond the realms of possibility.

        • Well, you’ll have to report on the PTSD and magic kisses thing in your review of the third book. ;) I don’t even know when it’s coming out.

          And while I definitely think you have a point with the Amazon thing, I *sincerely* hope you’re wrong because this kind of thing would make me lose all respect for an author. I know that’s kind of hypocritical seeing as how there’s always product placement in TV shows and movies but I really think books should be free of this kind of thing. I mean, we should at least get a “this book contains sponsored content” warning or something. Uh.

          • I will keep you informed, don’t you worry. Hopefully it won’t be a complete hot mess and may have redeeming qualities to the next book, but I think I may be a bit delusional.

            I know, it’s so much more acceptable in TV and movies, though, because we expect it. Also, product placement is either so bad that it never makes me want to buy things as it’s obvious or it’s really subtle and I don’t notice it happening. I do think if it’s going to happen in books then a disclaimer should be given.

  • Greg Hill

    I’m surprised people still go in for stuff like this- the protag doubting her hotness, the self blame when she’s treated like shit, the controlling love interests. Seems like that would turn off most readers, but maybe it’s just paranormal romance tropes? I don’t know since I don’t read it lol but this was interesting to read. I do like the cover, and the framework, the plot itself (fae apocalypse) sounds fun but yeah sounds like a lot of issues. Sorry this one had so many problems. :(

    • I know, it’s shocking that this is still possible in the 21st century. I think maybe being self published, she didn’t have an editor cut out the most horrible stuff? I don’t know.

      It’s definitely a turn-off for me but as I said, this horror has a 4.3 rating on GR with more than 2000 ratings, so apparently I (and my two buddy read companions) are the minority.

      Also, the cover is nonsensical, they are underwater here and I thought for sure it would be a book about merpeople or selkies (when I saw the cover of the first book where they are ALSO underwater) but nope, just New Orleans and fae. So yeah, a bummer, but at least it made me angry enough that I’ll be dropping the author and won’t be reading bad books again (at least not from her). Uh.

      • Greg Hill

        Yeah if I see people underwater like that I’m probably going to assume it has a mer element or something, and if it didn’t that would irritate me too. I don’t get a fae vibe from that cover at all- but I guess the blurb clarifies things, but still…

  • Buddy reads are so fun, aren’t they?? I think I’m addicted to them at this point. Plus, they’re a great push to keep reading books despite feeling a bit slump-y. Hopefully the three of us can buddy read something again soon…but hopefully we choose a book that’s actually good next time! :D

    OMG somehow I completely wiped that deal between Ivy and Drake from my mind, but it truly is appalling! What the actual eff. The fact that Ivy says she’ll just kill herself anyway? Ugh! JLA…what were you thinking??? I have to believe that no one beta read this, because otherwise that means that a seasoned reader actually thought that these things weren’t problematic.

    Maybe it’s just me, but I think that there are far more interesting ways to prove that someone or a group of people is evil than having them all commit or attempt sexual assault. If the author actually deals with the impact of assault, then fine. But otherwise, I just think that it’s lazy writing.

    No more JLA for me!

    • Yes, let’s choose a book that we’ll actually enjoy – despite the fact that ranting together is really enjoyable as well. I just feel like we should gush together, too.

      I feel like a beta reader – or an actual EDITOR, ffs – would have been very, very helpful in cutting away some of the horrible mess that is this book. I didn’t really feel it was very LONG (I never have a good feel for that with ebooks to be honest) but some things are just TOO MUCH. Ugh.

      And I know – why is the “damage” done to a heroine always of the sexual type? Why is this the only way to present a heroine as able to survive tough circumstances? And yeah, we’re probably all thinking of Marillier and her way of dealing with this topic, which is brilliant and HEARTBREAKING. Armentrout should really read that book. And I think this is not the only one of her books that deals with rape – she has NA contemporaries with it and I never read them but I definitely have no wish to, either.

      I agree, JLA has wasted her last chance with me. I just can’t bring myself to read anything more.