Series: The Dark Elements #1
Published by HarlequinTeen on 2014-02-25
Genres: fantasy, Paranormal, Young Adult
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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.
This was an interesting book mostly because I’d never read any book with gargoyles like that before. But otherwise, it felt pretty standard for YA fantasy and I wasn’t in love with any of it. After finishing, I forgot a lot of the story and haven’t really thought much about it since. And I have to say, that’s very usual for a JLA book for me. Both her Covenant series and Lux series felt far better and engaging to me. I still think there will be plenty of fans for The Dark Elements series and I might even continue to read it but White Hot Kiss just wasn’t everything I wanted it to be.
The main issue with this book for me was that I just didn’t care that much. I didn’t feel attached to the characters, even Layla was hard to connect with for me, and I wasn’t a huge fan of either guy. I know many people are going to swoon for Roth, and I definitely preferred him to Zayne, but he wasn’t that great for me. I didn’t feel the chemistry between the characters in this book like I felt for Alex and Aiden or Daemon and Katy and that seriously hurt the book for me. It felt more like she liked Zayne because he was always around and was hot and was off limits and liked Roth because he was hot and different from anyone she actually knew. I know there’s more to both relationships than that, but I didn’t like Zayne because he was so on and off with Layla and clearly did not accept her demon half. I didn’t like Roth because I felt like he only liked her for certain reasons and was never really completely honest with her. Mostly, I was just disappointed in the love interests because Armentrout’s past ones have been so great. I worry no one will live up to Daemon or Alex or even Seth in regards to chemistry.
Another thing that surprised me about this book was that it took me a whole week to read. I devoured several of JLA’s books in a day or two before but this one just wasn’t like that. It’s hard to say if it was the story or if I just wasn’t really into the Wardens or if it was the lack of chemistry for me that caused me so much trouble with this one or if I just wasn’t in the mood but I have never had to force myself to finish a JLA book like I did with this one.
I did appreciate that fact that Roth helped Layla accept the parts of herself that she had always hated when living with the Wardens. As half gargoyle half demon but growing up with Wardens who killed demons, she was never able to accept her demon side but was also never fully accepted by the Wardens because of her demon half. I didn’t like the way Zayne treated Layla because of this and as much as he said he was on her side, I don’t think he would ever fully accept her. And that doesn’t even consider the fact that Layla can’t kiss someone with a soul without stealing it away. But Roth helps Layla accept both sides of her, mainly because he is a demon and is happy with who he is and showed Layla that what she had been taught by the Wardens may not be the whole truth. It also helps that Layla can kiss him without hurting him. Either way, I did like that Layla seemed to accept all of herself more by the end of the book with help from Roth than she had in the beginning. I hope that as the series progresses he’ll also help her become a little more kick-ass. She was okay but I always wondered why no one ever trained her if they thought she was in danger.
Overall, I was just okay with this one. The idea of gargoyles and demons was interesting as was where Layla came from and what they were trying to accomplish. But based on past books by Jennifer L. Armentrout and the chemistry I know she’s able to create between her main characters, this one just didn’t live up to my expectations. I wasn’t a huge fan of either Roth or Zayne, though I know lots of people will probably like Roth, and I didn’t feel like Layla was really attracted to them either. Zayne was off limits and therefore appealing and Roth was new and kissable, therefore appealing. I didn’t get a strong love triangle vibe from this, which was nice, even though there were two guys. That might be a bigger focus in a later book though. I think fans of JLA books will like this and that I’ll be the black sheep on this one, but it just wasn’t everything I was hoping for. I will continue to read this series, I already have Bitter Sweet Kiss waiting for me. I’m hoping to learn more about the world this book takes place in as well as the relationship between the Wardens and demons. If you pick this one up, I hope you enjoy Roth. Say hi to Bambi and the kittens for me.