(The Dark Elements #1)
Published: February 25th 2014
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.
Genre(s): YA Paranormal Romance, Fantasy
Page Count: 392
Hey there! I recently finished re-reading White Hot Kiss by Jennifer L. Armentrout (like I mentioned on WWW Wednesday and That’s What He Said Thursday) and can I just say that I loved it even more than before, if that’s even possible? ❤ Let me just tell you this: DO NOT JUDGE BY THE COVER. It looks like it is just a cheesy, steamy romance, but it’s not. Sure, there IS romance, but that’s not the ONLY thing. All in all, the book was amazing! Outstanding! And in this review I’ll be telling you why (Brace yourself, it might be a tad bit long, but hoepfully not). 🙂
I started this book with pretty high expectations, as I had read the Lux series by Armentrout and loved it. Needless to say, my expectations have been met!
In White Hot Kiss we follow Layla, who is an abnormality in her paranormal world since she’s half-Warden and half-demon. Wardens are gargoyles who fight demons. As a result of being half of both creatures, Layla is able to ‘tag’ demons so that other Wardens can get rid of them, as well as able to suck out the soul of anyone (who has one) with a single kiss. This makes dating near impossible (at least where kissing is concerned), and dating a Warden–specifically her crush Zayne, who sees her only as a sister–even more impossible (not to mention the fact that he’s expected to marry a Warden female and have kids), to continue the line of Wardens.
Growing up in a clan of Wardens, Layla’s brought up to hate the demon side of her, and demons in general. But after what was a supposed to be a simple tagging, everything Layla was taught to believe is put up to question when she meets Roth, a hot and dangerous Greater Demon, and is thrown in the middle of a possible demon uprising.
Starting with the plot.
The plot, or, at least the paranormal aspect was definitely extremely unique, in the sense that while demons are pretty common in YA paranormal, gargoyles aren’t. If you have read a YA novel with gargoyles as a main feature, then please let me know in the comments because before White Hot Kiss, I never have. And that’s one of the reasons why White Hot Kiss was so amazing to me, since it introduced and took gargoyles (or in this case, Wardens) to a whole new level, and I loved it!
The plot/story line was no less superb. You may be thinking the plot isn’t that unique, and I will partially agree with you on that. But the strength from the plot in a story does not solely come from uniqueness or whatever. It matters what the author did with that plot that makes a story amazing, am I right? Jennifer L. Armentrout took this plot, and spun it into something that was fast-paced, thrilling, and sizzling hot (especially the romance!). There were plot twists, cliffhangers at the end of chapters, and so much action and tension that I was always eager to know more. I was hooked from the very start (check out the first line of the book in my Favorite First Lines post!) and I never let go of the book until I was at the end. And that, is definitely a sign of a great book!
Next, characters. (Whoo-hoo! I managed to finish writing about the amazing plot without rambling uselessly!) I really enjoy Jennifer L. Armentrout’s characters, not yet as much as my love for Cassandra Clare’s among other authors’ characters, but still a lot, and this book was no exception!
Some readers will probably dislike the characters, like Layla, for example, maybe because they think she’s whiny, weak, childish, the usual. I, on the other hand, enjoyed her very much as a protagonist because while she is vulnerable at times (like any normal person), she’s definitely NOT weak, and is able to stand up for what she believes in. She was strong at the start of the book, and when the foundation of all her beliefs cracks and breaks open, she tries her best to remain that way. We can’t blame her for slipping once in a while, now can we? Layla goes under a lot of emotional turmoil throughout the book, and I praise her for doing her best to not break.
Aside from Layla, we have the love interests: Zayne, and Roth. Can I just, like, faint? Both guys are totally swoon-worthy, and have their good qualities that draws us readers (or at least me) to them. Jennifer L. Armentrout is the master of chemistry, I’m telling you. There was an instant spark between our mysterious bad-boy demon Roth and Layla, and I’m not talking about love. It was more of a lust thing. And that’s normal. Layla’s gorgeous (though she doesn’t think so), Roth’s gorgeous, how could it not happen?
Continuing with Roth and Layla, I loved the banter between them, how he so easily gets under her skin, while hiding behind his own. But as the novel progresses, we see Roth’s vulnerabilities through Layla’s eyes, and that, paired with the explosion that happens between the two, how could we, and Layla, resist him? At a few times Roth and Layla’s interactions kind of reminded me of Daemon and Katy from the Lux series, but in the end they were their own persons, and I loved them.
Moving on to our Warden Zayne, I have to say I also liked him. Although he didn’t play a huge role as an active love interest, I was pretty sure he will be in the next book (he’s on the cover) and I was right. Zayne is sweet, caring, protective and handsome, why wouldn’t Layla fall for him? He obviously cares for Layla, (although she believes it’t just a brotherly affection) and while we didn’t get to see much of his vulnerabilities, Armentrout did a great job on his character. Of course, that doesn’t change my mind about Layla and Roth, all I’m saying he was also a good character.
As for antagonists and other characters, they were also well-done and were a perfect fit for the story. They weren’t just there to be there, they were there and contributed to the overall story. 🙂
Lastly, the writing style. Jennifer L. Armentrout’s writing style is unique, and I always enjoy it. It shifts with the
mood of the scene without becoming too different from the overall style of the story, becoming serious, light, fast-paced, etc. Scenes were descriptive, creating a clear image, and flowed smoothly. Armentrout was able to depict not only scenes, but also Layla’s inner turmoil, her confusions, her struggles, and longing to be a part of the Warden family, that I could just feel Layla’s emotions, and just simply root for her. Armentrout also uses humor cleverly, especially with Roth’s sarcastic and witty comments.
Overall, this book is outstanding, and well-deserving of its 5 stars. The idea of gargoyles was interesting, the plot was fast-paced, and thrilling, I really enjoyed the characters, the romance was sizzling and simply amazing, and the writing style was fitting for the story. I definitely recommend this to those who enjoy Jennifer Armentrout and read her other works like the Lux series, who like demons, and basically anyone who enjoys YA paranormal romance. I loved this book, and I really hope you do too/you did too.
Unfortunately there’s only one book trailer I found for this, which you can check out below. It’s not the best,(no offense to creator) but it’s definitely way better than anything I could do, so I can’t really talk.
For some behind-the-scenes action, check out the video below. 🙂
If you haven’t eaten this yet, go eat it! I’m pretty sure you won’t regret it.
NOTE: The cover featured for this book in this post is not the common one we are seeing presently. With the cover release of the third book, the covers for the rest of the books in the series have been remodeled.