The Dark Elements: Book One
Written by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Young Adult, Paranormal, Fantasy, Romance
Published February 25th 2014 by Harlequin Teen
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One kiss could be the last.
Seventeen-year-old Layla just wants to be normal. But with a kiss that kills anything with a soul, she's anything but normal. Half demon, half gargoyle, Layla has abilities no one else possesses.
Raised among the Wardens—a race of gargoyles tasked with hunting demons and keeping humanity safe—Layla tries to fit in, but that means hiding her own dark side from those she loves the most. Especially Zayne, the swoon-worthy, incredibly gorgeous and completely off-limits Warden she's crushed on since forever.
Then she meets Roth—a tattooed, sinfully hot demon who claims to know all her secrets. Layla knows she should stay away, but she's not sure she wants to—especially when that whole no-kissing thing isn't an issue, considering Roth has no soul.But when Layla discovers she's the reason for the violent demon uprising, trusting Roth could not only ruin her chances with Zayne… it could brand her a traitor to her family. Worse yet, it could become a one-way ticket to the end of the world.
Layla was born into a world of chaos. Being half demon, and half gargoyle makes life tough for the seventeen year old girl. She'll soon discover that she is also one of Hell's most wanted. Being raised by Wardens (gargoyles) has its ups and downs. She's protected but hated by most of her family - all except her adopted brother Zayne, who she may or may not have a crush on. However, Layla has earned the gift of being a soul sucker due to her demon blood. This means she cannot be with anyone who has a soul.
Cue the entrance of sexy and sarcastic Roth, an Upper Demon who is tasked with looking out for Layla. Despite her being raised to despise demons, Layla takes to Roth - and how fortunate for her, Roth has no soul. Ignoring the values she has been raised with, she confides and trusts Roth for she can be her one true self with him. Together Layla and Roth must discover who is hunting her and why, which leads the two down a path more sinister than either of them ever expected.
I think that it's safe to say that one does not read a novel by Jennifer L. Armentrout for some mind blowing story that will knock you out of the universe. At least I don't. I read JLA's novels for the sarcastic characters, the swoon worthy boys and the exciting climactic scenes - which in its own right makes for a pretty fantastic read. I fell in love with JLA's work when I read the Lux series; which to this day still makes me incredibly happy (sidenote: did you all know it's being made into a freaking movie! I can't wait). But when I eventually picked up White Hot Kiss I had my reservations. I had no idea if I would like it.
Well I am happy to report that I didn't only like it, I loved it. What I don't love are JLA's damn book covers. But that's beside the point.
The characters are really what make White Hot Kiss enjoyable. Layla is a genuinely likeable character, I had no qualms about her. She was easy to understand and I enjoyed her voice - other than her blatant jealousy at some points she's pretty fun. I'm excited to see her grow in the next two books. Zayne (Layla's adopted gargoyle bro she kinda has a thing for) was a sweetheart, but I'll be honest he was a dull flicker compared to the flame that Roth was. I don't know how you can read this without COMPLETELY swooning over Roth. I like to call Jennifer L. Armentrout the Queen of Swoon. She has a true gift of creating sarcastic and charming boys - and you know what? I fall in love with them every damn time.
Swoon worthy boys aside, the plot was actually pretty thrilling. It's really a race against time. Layla is a magnet for attracting danger. Being on Hell's hit list makes it so that everywhere she turns, she winds up bloody and being saved by a chivalrous boy - I'm not complaining. I'm all about female badassery but sometime I like a dose of boy saves girl, or really whenever any character does whatever they can to save the one they care about. Which is something we get, a lot. But fear not those who detest such things. Layla is not useless, not one bit.
I think the creatures: gargoyles, demons and living tattoos were remarkably unique. I loved that aspect of White Hot Kiss. It was brain food imagining the fearsome beasts within the story.
The only thing I hated about White Hot Kiss was the love triangle. Usually I'm okay with love triangles if they're done right. Unfortunately this one isn't - at least from what I've read thus far (it is the first book afterall). In my own opinion, it's all too obvious which boy Layla will choose - there's no contest, no tugging of the readers heart to which boy it should be. If it weren't for that, the book would have been really great.
White Hot Kiss is a fun and light read. It has all the right ingredients to make an enjoyable YA paranormal series while also remaining original. The characters, especially one hot demon adds an all time high of swoon. Jennifer L. Armentrout throws you into a chasm of treachery, excitement and thrills with this one. AND THAT FUCKING CLIFFHANGER, I NEED TO READ THE SECOND AS FAST AS MY LITTLE SELF CAN. Definitely recommend it to those who want an entertaining and easy read.
Kynndra is currently reading The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh, and still swooning over a sarcastic ass of a demon boy.