#1 New York Times bestselling author Jennifer L. Armentrout draws readers into the extraordinary, irresistible world of Wardens and demons in the New York Times bestselling first book of The Dark Elements series.
One kiss could be the last
Seventeen-year-old Layla just wants to be normal—fit in at school, and go out on a real date with the gorgeous Zayne, whom she's crushed on since forever. Trouble is, Zayne treats Layla like a sister—and Layla is anything but normal. She's half demon, half gargoyle, with abilities no one else possesses. And even though Zayne is a Warden, part of the race of gargoyles tasked with hunting demons and keeping humanity safe, Layla's kiss will kill anything with a soul—including him.
Then she meets Roth—a tattooed, sinfully hot demon who claims to know her secrets. Though Layla knows she should stay away, it's tough when that whole no-kissing thing isn't an issue. Trusting Roth could ruin her chances with Zayne—and brand her a traitor to the Warden family that raised her. But as Layla discovers she's the sole reason for a violent demon uprising, kissing the enemy suddenly pales in comparison to the looming end of the world
About the Author
# 1 New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Jennifer L. Armentrout lives in Martinsburg, West Virginia with her husband and her Jack Russell, Loki. Jennifer writes young adult paranormal, science fiction, fantasy, and contemporary romance. She also writes adult and New Adult romance under the name J. Lynn. Find her on Twitter @JLArmentrout or become a fan on Facebook and Goodreads.
Read an Excerpt
There was a demon in McDonald's.
And it had a powerful hunger for Big Macs.
Most days, I loved my after-school job. Tagging the soulless and the damned usually gave me a mad case of the warm fuzzies. I'd even given myself a quota out of boredom, but tonight was different.
I had a paper to outline for AP English.
"Are you gonna eat those fries?" Sam asked as he grabbed a handful off my tray. His curly brown hair fell over his wireframe glasses. "Thanks."
"Just don't take her sweet tea." Stacey slapped Sam's arm and several fries fell to the floor. "You'll lose your entire arm."
I stopped tapping my foot, but kept my eye on the interloper. I don't know what it was with demons and the Golden Arches, but man, they loved the place. "Ha-ha."
"Who do you keep staring at, Layla?" Stacey twisted in the booth, looking around the crowded fast-food joint. "Is it a hot guy? If so, you better- Oh. Wow. Who goes out in public dressed like that?"
"What?" Sam turned, too. "Aw, come on, Stacey. Who cares? Not everyone wears knockoff Prada like you."
To them, the demon looked like a harmless middle-aged woman with really bad fashion sense. Her dull brown hair was pinned up with one of those old-school purple butterfly clips. She wore velvet green track pants paired with pink sneakers, but it was her sweater that was epic. Someone had knitted a basset hound on the front, its big, sappy eyes made of brown yarn.
But despite her drab appearance, the lady wasn't human.
Not that I had a lot of room to talk.
She was a Poser demon. Her astronomical appetite was what gave away the breed. Posers could eat a small nation's worth of food in one sitting.
Posers might look and act human, but I knew this one could snap the head off the person in the booth next to her with little effort. Her inhuman strength wasn't the threat, though. It was the Poser's teeth and infectious saliva that were the real danger.
They were biters.
One little nip and the demonic version of rabies was passed to the human. Totally incurable, and within three days, the Poser's chew toy would resemble something straight out of a George Romero flick, cannibalistic tendencies included.
Obviously, Posers were a real problem unless you considered a zombie apocalypse fun times. Only good thing was that Posers were rare, and every time one bit somebody, its lifespan was shortened. They usually had about seven good bites in them before they went poof. Sort of like a bee and its stinger but dumber.
Posers could look like anything they wanted. Why this one was rocking an outfit like that was beyond me.
Stacey made a face as the Poser moved on to her third burger. She wasn't aware of us watching her. Posers weren't known for their keen powers of observation, especially when preoccupied with secret-sauce awesomeness.
"That's disgusting." Stacey turned back around.
"I think the sweater is hot." Sam grinned around another mouthful of my fries. "Hey, Layla, do you think Zayne would let me interview him for the school paper?"
My brows rose. "Why do you want to interview him?"
He gave me a knowing look. "To ask what's it like to be a Warden in D.C., hunting down the bad guys and bringing them to justice and all that jazz."
Stacey giggled. "You make the Wardens sound like superheroes."
Sam shrugged bony shoulders. "Well, they kind of are. I mean, come on, you've seen them."
"They're not superheroes," I said, falling into the standard speech I'd been giving ever since the Wardens went public ten years ago. After the skyrocketing increase in crime that had nothing to do with the economic downturn the world faced, but was more like a signal from Hell saying they no longer wanted to play by the rules, the Alphas had ordered the Wardens to come out of the shadows. To humans, Wardens had come out of their stone shells. After all, the gargoyles adorning many churches and buildings had been carved to resemble a Warden in his true skin. Sort of.
There were too many demons topside for the Wardens to continue to operate without exposure. "They're people. Just like you, but-"
"I know." Sam held up his hands. "Look, you know I'm not like those fanatics who think they're evil or something stupid like that. I just think it's cool and it would be a great piece in the paper. So what do you think? Would Zayne go for it?"
I shifted uncomfortably. Living with the Wardens often made me one of two things: a back door to gain access to them, or a freak. Because everyone, including my two closest friends, believed I was just like them. Human. "I don't know, Sam. I don't think any form of press makes them comfortable."
He looked crestfallen. "Will you ask him at least?"
"Sure." I fiddled with my straw. "But don't hold your breath."
Sam leaned against the hard seat back, satisfied. "So guess what?"
"What?" Stacey sighed, exchanging a woeful look with me. "What random piece of knowledge are you going to wow us with?"
"Did you know you can freeze a banana until it's so hard you can actually nail something with it?"
I lowered my sweet tea. "How do you know these things?"
Sam finished off my fries. "I just do."
"He spends his entire life on the computer." Stacey pushed thick black bangs off her face. I don't know why she didn't cut them. She was always messing with them. "Probably searches for random crap for the fun of it."
"That's exactly what I do when I'm at home." Sam rolled up his napkin. "I search for little-known facts. That's how cool I am." He threw the napkin at Stacey's face.
"I stand corrected," Stacey said unabashedly. "It's porn you spend all night searching."
The hollows of Sam's cheeks turned bright red as he straightened his glasses. "Whatever. Are you guys ready? We've got some outlining to do for English."
Stacey groaned. "I can't believe Mr. Leto wouldn't let us do our classics report on Twilight. It is a classic."
I laughed, momentarily forgetting about the job I had to do. "Twilight is not a classic, Stacey."
"Edward is definitely a classic in my book." She pulled a hair tie out of her pocket, tugging her shoulder-length hair up. "And Twilight is way more interesting than All Quiet on the Western Front."
Sam shook his head. "I can't believe you just used Twilight and All Quiet on the Western Front in the same sentence."
Ignoring him, her gaze bounced from my face to my food. "Layla, you haven't even touched your burger."
Maybe somehow I'd instinctively known I was going to need a reason to stick around. I sucked in a sigh. "You guys go ahead. I'll meet up with you in a few minutes."
"For real?" Sam stood.
"Yep." I picked up my burger. "I'll be down in a few."
Stacey eyed me suspiciously. "You're not going to bail on us like you always do?"
I flushed with guilt. I'd lost count of how many times I'd had to ditch them. "No. I swear. I'm just going to eat my food and I'll be right there."
"Come on." Sam wrapped an arm around Stacey's shoulders, steering her toward the trash can. "Layla would've been done eating by now if you hadn't talked to her the entire time."
"Oh, blame it on me." Stacey dumped her trash, sending me a wave as they headed out.
I set the burger back down, watching Lady Poser impatiently. Pieces of bun and meat fell out of her mouth, splattering on the brown tray. My appetite was effectively slaughtered within seconds. Not that it really mattered. Food only eased the ache gnawing at my insides, never stopping it.
Lady Poser finally completed her feast of fatness, and I grabbed my bag as she ambled out the door. She plowed straight into an elderly man, knocking him right over as he tried to come in. Wow. This one was a real gem.
Her cackle could be heard inside the noisy restaurant, sounding as thin as paper. Luckily, some dude helped the man up as he shook his fist at the retreating demon.
Sighing, I dumped my food and followed her out into the late-September breeze.
Different shades of souls were everywhere, humming around bodies like an electrical field. Traces of pale pink and robin's-egg blue trailed behind a couple walking hand in hand. They had innocent souls-but not pure.
All humans had a soul-an essence-good or bad, but demons weren't rocking any such thing. Since most demons topside looked human at first glance, the lack of soul around them made my job of finding and tagging them easy. Besides the soulless factor, the only difference between them and humans was the odd way their eyes reflected light like a cat's.
Lady Poser shuffled down the street, limping slightly. Out in the natural light, she didn't look well. She'd probably already bit a few humans, which meant she needed to be tagged and dealt with ASAP.
A flyer on a green lamppost caught my attention. A fierce scowl and sense of protectiveness filled me as I read the thing. Warning. Wardens Aren't God's Children. Repent Now. The
End Is Nigh.
Underneath the words was a crudely drawn picture of what I assumed was a rabid coyote mixed with a chupacabra.
"Sponsored by the Church of God's Children," I muttered, rolling my eyes.
Nice. I hated fanatics.
A diner down the block had the flyers plastered across its windows and a sign proclaiming they refused to serve Wardens.
Anger spread through me like an out-of-control wildfire. These idiots had no idea of all that the Wardens sacrificed for them. I drew in a deep breath, letting it out slowly. I needed to focus on my Poser instead of silently stomping my mental feet on my pretend soapbox.
Lady Poser turned a corner and glanced over her shoulder, her glassy eyes drifting over me, dismissing me outright. The demon in her didn't sense anything abnormal about me.
The demon inside of me was in a hurry to get this over with.
Especially after my cell went off, vibrating against my thigh. Probably Stacey wondering where in the Hell I was. I just wanted to be done with this and go back to being normal for the rest of the evening. Without thinking, I reached up and pulled on the chain around my neck. The old ring dangling off the silver rope felt hot and heavy in my hand.
As I passed a group of kids around my age, their gazes moved over me, stopped and then swung right back. Of course they stared. Everyone did.
My hair was long. Big deal there, but it was such a pale blond that it looked nearly white. I hated when people stared. It made me feel like an albino. But it was my eyes that really caught people's attention. They were a light gray, almost leached of color.
Zayne said I looked like the long-lost sister of the elf in Lord of the Rings. That was a huge confidence booster. Sigh.
Dusk had begun to settle in the nation's capital as I rounded Rhode Island Avenue and came to a complete stop. Everything and everyone around me disappeared in an instant. There, in the soft flicker of the street lamps, I saw the soul.
It looked as if someone had dipped a brush into red paint and then flicked it over a soft black canvas. This guy had a bad soul. He wasn't under the influence of a demon, but was just plain old evil all on his own. The dull ache in my gut flared to life. People pushed past me, casting annoyed looks in my direction. A few even muttered. I didn't care. I didn't even care about their soft pink souls, a color I usually found so pretty.
I finally focused on the figure behind the soul-an older man dressed in a generic business suit and tie, briefcase handle clutched in a meaty hand. Nothing to run from, nothing to be frightened of, but I knew different. He'd sinned big-time.
My legs moved forward even as my brain screamed at me to stop, to turn around, even to call Zayne. Just hearing his voice would make me stop. Would stop me from doing what every cell in my body demanded I do-doing what was almost natural to me.
The man turned slightly, his eyes drifting over my face, down my body. His soul swirled crazy fast, becoming more red than black. He was old enough to be my father and that was gross, really gross.
He smiled at me, smiled in a way that should've sent me running in the other direction. I needed to go in that direction, too, because no matter how rotten this man was-no matter how many girls out there would hand me a gold medal for taking him out-Abbot had raised me to deny the demon inside. He'd raised me to be a Warden, to act like a Warden.
But Abbot wasn't here.
I met the man's stare, held it and felt my lips curve into a smile. My heart raced, my skin tingled and flushed. I wanted his soul-so bad my skin wanted to peel itself off my bones. It felt like waiting for a kiss, when your lips were moments away from joining, those breathless seconds of anticipation. But I'd never been kissed before.
All I had was this.
This man's soul called to me like a siren's song. It sickened me to be so tempted by the evil in his spirit, but a dark soul was as good as a pure one.
He smiled as he eyed me, his knuckles blanching around the handle of the briefcase. And that smile made me think of all the horrible things he could have done to earn the swirling void around him.
An elbow dug into my lower back. The tiny speck of pain was nothing compared to the exquisite anticipation. Just a few more steps and his soul would be so close-right there. I knew the first taste would spark the sweetest fire imaginable-a high for which there was no equivalent. It wouldn't last very long, but the brief moments of pure ecstasy lingered as a potent allure.
His lips wouldn't even need to touch mine. Just an inch or so, and I'd taste his soul-never take it all. Taking his soul would kill him and that was evil, and I wasn't-
This was evil.
I jerked back, breaking eye contact. Pain exploded in my stomach, shooting through my limbs. Turning away from the man was like denying my lungs of oxygen. My skin burned and my throat felt raw as I forced one leg in front of the other. It was a struggle to keep walking, to not think about the man and to find the Poser again, but when I finally spotted her, I let out the breath I was holding. Focusing on the demon at least served as a distraction.
I followed her into a narrow alley between a dollar store and a check-cashing place. All I needed to do was touch her, which I should've done back in McDonald's. I stopped halfway, looked around and then cursed.
The alley was empty.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Now, I am officially a J. L. A. fan. I loved Obsidian, too, but for me to be a fan means I don't like only one of the certain author's books. And this. Well, let's just say I wasn't disappointed. Not at all. To begin with, Armentrout one of the those people who can master words in such a fascinating and enthralling way, that very few people can. I already noticed it in Obsidian, but how she does so in this book is incredible. A sentence kept coming to my mind while I was reading White Hot Kiss; words are powerful. They are. And she definitely knows how to guide the reader through her books, how to make a ginormous impact so that they, we feel everything she wants us to feel. The sorrow, the fear, the glee, the happiness, we live it with the characters. And not just this, but her lingo is also very amusing, very neatly inserted puns color her books. Secondly, the world, as always, very well-built. The gargoyles idea was unique and frankly, great. They have an interesting appearance and their own rules, habits, living and we get to know a lot of things about them, fortunately because it really is something unusual, new and exciting. There are demons, too but not the usual stuff. There are many types of demons, small and bigger ones, more human-like and less human-like, shifting forms and auras and so on. The author has taken the whole demon thing to a whole new level. The only teeny tiny issue was that there were a few things that were present in White Hot Kiss as well as Obsidian, like true form, the light-thing, the tingling that Layla, the half-breed feels when she's in the vicinity of a pure and even the fact that she's half-this half-that, but it takes nothing away from the story, I swear. And last but not least, about the characters. Layla is a really lovable, nice character. She's not a superhero, sometimes she needs rescuing and she has bad days. She also has her problems, the same as other 'normal' teenagers, but there is other than that, too, related to the fact that she is half gargoyle and half demon. But she is not a whining, depressed, suicidal somebody, she's actually quite cheerful and optimist. I can't describe her any better and accurate than by saying that she's affable. Roth is a special demon. Or at least a different one. I'd leave the mysterious part to you to find out, I don't want to spoil anything, but what you need to know is that for the first sight he seems similar to Deamon from Obsidian, but he's not like him. The resemblance comes down to the fact that Armentrout wrote this book first and then the Obsidian, and Deamon is based on Roth but their main characteristics are different. It's hard to point out them without ruining any of the books (this and any of the Lux series) so I'll present very few. Let's start off with saying that although Roth is not all that bad, he's not the good guy, either; he is much more bold when it comes to Layla, than Deamon to Katy. Moreover he gives her more space in fights and adventure, however he doesn't like the thought of it, either. His whole demeanor is more sassy, but coming down to the core, he's more insecure than Deamon. I hope I succeeded in persuading you that they aren't that similar because it would be a shame not to read it just because they seem so. If you read it, you'll see yourself. :)
First I'll start off with I was super excited when I got the email that I won this in a Goodreads contest. I rarely win on the website and I happen to win this one. I was doing a happy dance. Okay, I just loved it! It has it all: romance, battling, half breed, scary demons, hot demon, and hot gargoyles. Who knew gargoyles could be hot? When I first heard she was writing a book about them, all I thought about was the gargoyles from the Hunchback of Notre Dame. LOL. That quickly changed when I started reading. I really like the characters. Layla at times I felt bad for. Since being half Warden and demon, she didn't really fit in anywhere. And when she learned who her parents are, that sucked. She was cool though. She toughed through it. Zayne treated Layle like she was just a normal girl (well for the most part). But I'm still not sure what his feelings are. Roth, what can I say about him? Even though he was a demon, he didn't act like a full on demon. I totally have a demon crush on him. ;) He has these really cool tattoos that are a little more than meets the eye. I can't wait to see what the next book holds because I don't think the author can write a book I dislike!
When I first heard about this series, I thought - gargoyles and demons? - no thanks. But, it is Jennifer Armentrout and she has never disappointed so I decided to give it a shot and - it is a great read! Highly reccomended.
Loved it!! Made me laugh, cry and everything in between. Can not wait for book two!
Loved this book! I love how different this book is from everything else I have read. I loved the paranormalness to it and how the world they live in works. The storyline was wonderful and kept me sucked in the whole time, especially with all the plot twists. I knew this book was funny, but I forgot just how funny until I read it a second time. Layla is a wonderful main character. She's strong, determined, caring, and funny. It was really easy to empathize with her and want the best for her. Zayne is a good character as well. I enjoyed learning about his and Layla's relationship, with it's many ups and downs. Roth on the other hand is just completely wonderful. He is easily my favorite JLA character, which is saying something seeing as how many characters she actually has. He is also one of my all time favorite characters out of everything I have read. He is absolutely hilarious! The relationship he has with Layla is complicated, but highly entertaining yet sweet and cute at times. I definitely recommend this book to people who like angel/demon type paranormal books with a side of romance.
I can’t name one book written by Jennifer Armentrout that I don’t like. I began to think that it is really impossible not to love her writing style, and her creative ways. I think she is one of the most talented writers! This book right here made a laugh with all my heart, made me angry and it even made me cry a bit. It’s impossible not to feel everything that the characters are feeling. I was in the world Jennifer created from the first page. I couldn’t put the book down. It was 3 in the morning, I knew I have to wake up at 6 and leave to work, but I couldn’t stop reading. Her books are pure addiction. She gives us again an entirely new world, a world where demons of many kinds try to walk and acts like humans on earth. But humans have the Wardens to protect them, even if some people think otherwise. Layla is a girl who is half a Warden, and half demon, and she was raised by the Wardens. She was raised as one of them, to go out and tag demons because she is the only one the cannot sense coming.But, Layla only wants a normal life, even tries acting a like a normal teenager. She is in love with Zayne, the one boy who saw her growing her up, and played dolly with her when everyone else ignored her. Zayne is a Warden, the son of Abbot, ruler of the clan. He is in love with Layla, but the relationship it’s impossible between the two of them. Starting from the fact that they cannot even kiss because there is a chance she can take his soul while kissing. So, he tries to be there as much as he can, protecting her and listening to her complaining about school. But, there is another boy in the picture, Roth. The charming prince, the Upper Level daemon, who tries protecting Layla from other daemons because it seems she has and she is something important. So, he tries being there as much as he can, even saving her life once or twice with his special pet. The special pet that Layla is terrified off. “Don’t be scared of Bambi,” the demon said. “She’s only curious and maybe a little hungry.” The thing was named Bambi? I loved every scene between Layla and Zayne, but especially between her and Roth. This girl is determined to get what she wants, even if she is not as powerful as the boys. Roth even if he played the dark prince, he cared immensely about her. I loved, I adored the connection between this two. Unfortunately the ending left me in pieces, crying and amazed at how it could end that way. Talk about a cliffhanger. I can’t wait to read the next installment. I highly recommend this book, or any other books written by Jennifer Armentrout. She is one amazing author!
This book was like nothing I've ever read...it was funny, exciting...not the adjectives I would use given the story...but its true. I enjoyed this book and look foward to reading book 2
The feels. Amazing. Sexy. Love. AMAZING!
I really liked this, and I'm honestly kind of surprised. Not because I had low expectations going in, or because I don't enjoy paranormal, heaven vs. hell, it's the end of the world as we know it kinds of stories. It has just been a long time since I've read one that entertained me as much as WHITE HOT KISS did. As a half-Warden (the race of gargoyles tasked with protecting Earth from hell's forces) and half-demon, Layla is the odd girl out in both the Warden fortress she calls home and her local high school. She desperately wants to fit in and be useful to the Warden family that raised her, even if it means working against the demon side of her heritage. She's occasionally whiny or immature, but she isn't helpless, a Special Snowflake, or the kind of girl who dismantles her entire life for a shot at love. And as large a role as romance and the potential for romance plays in the story, Layla's independence was what I liked the most. Sure, she keeps her growing relationship with Roth a secret until it's almost too late, but she doesn't immediately fall to his side just because they both have demon heritage, or abandon the Wardens because she learns they've been keeping secrets from her. There really is no set in stone good vs evil set-up here, and I loved how Layla's mixed ancestry put her in a position to empathize with both camps, instead of pitting her against them. Plus, this book is funny. Like, giggle in front of complete strangers funny. And incredibly hot. And surprisingly touching at times. If you're searching for a fresh spin on a bunch of old paranormal fantasy tropes, you should definitely check it out.
Layla is a normal seventeen-years-old except for the fact that she lives with Wardens since she was a little girl, and also she is half a demon, half a gargoyle who can "mark" demons to make them easier for the Wardens to hunt them. So yeah, not normal at all actually. This was my first Armentrout book but I'm for sure reading her other stuff because damn this was a fun read! Layla is sorta of a snowflake character but she also isn't at all - she struggles and has a lot to go from the beginning till the ending, also the boys and the whole love triangle - it was kind of unnecessary for me (and weird), Layla and Zayne where raised together since kids I just can't help but feel that their feelings should be more brother-sister like than romantic, Roth was okay, he was totally the bad boy type that turns into not so bad after all but yeah, at least he was funny. As much as I liked the paranormal aspects I did get a bit bugged by the fact that everyone knows that the Wardens exist but no one seems to question why, suddenly a bunch of gargoyles came to life, no one even suspects the existence of demons, I mean like seriously?? Everyone just accept that gargoyles are real and moved on?? I just don't buy it. There is one religious group that does question the existence of the Wardens but it was such a small part of the plot overall. Other thing that I didn't enjoyed was the fact that the regular friends of Layla only showed up when plot necessary, I mean I know this is a book but it was so not done on a subtle way, they would go chapters and chapters without showing up and them Layla needed something and BOOM! There they were. But I did said that I enjoyed this one, and it's true, despite these nitpicks this was a fun paranormal romance read and I do love some paranormal romance from time to time, there was some action scenes that let me very anxious and I think the overall plot was well done. so if this is one of your favorites genders don't go without picking this one up!
I didn't want it to end! ***** I've now read WHK 2 times - via audiobook and in e-book format. I still love it! It's one that I'll have to read yet again, perhaps in paperback format next time since I own it in that format as well. One of my favorite scenes takes place after Layla and Roth team up, and it demonstrates one of many reasons why I loved this story: ‘He moved so fast there was no chance to prepare myself. One second he was there, and then he was curving a hand around the nape of my neck. “You need something,” he said, and when I stared at him, he added, “Your face.” “My face?” “It’s in need of my kisses.” I started to laugh, but his lips found mine as if they were made specifically to do so. My mouth parted on a gasp and the kiss deepened, stealing my breath. His fingers dug into my neck in a firm hold. Time slowed to a crawl and his mouth never left mine, his lips soaking up my responses like he was starved for water. The kiss felt good-really good–and it made me think of what we’d done back in his loft. But reality got in the way. When he did pull back the slightest bit, he rested his forehead against mine. Those beautiful eyes were closed. “We need to get out of here and take a crack at the book.” I loved the uniqueness of The Dark Elements universe, the complexity of the different supernatural beings, and the fact that these paranormal characters had moral dilemmas to resolve in addition to very relatable emotional journeys. I'll definitely be rereading the sequel, Stone Cold Touch immediately in preparation for the third and final novel, Every Last Breath (available July 28, 2015).
I cannot wait to begin book two: Stone Cold Touch! I absolutely loved White Hot Kiss and I just wish I would have started it sooner. Layla was such an awesome and interesting main character. I loved that we got to learn who/what she was with her. I also love the two love interests, but I love Roth more. Sorry to any Zayne fans out there, but I'll take the tattooed, Demon, bad boy! I cannot wait to learn more about the Warden/Demon worlds and I can't wait to see what is going to happen next in Layla's life. More importantly I wish I was reading book three already so that I could know who she is going to end up picking! If you haven't started this series yet, GET ON IT, because it is awesome!
MY THOUGHTS Despite my love of Armentrout's other books, I didn't want to pick this one up. Something about the cover just screams Contemporary NA, which I avoid like the plague. Recently I found out that that was NOT the case, this is actually a YA Paranormal. Once I found that out, I quickly jumped in and was not at all disappointed by the amazing writing by Armentrout! This book takes place in a world like ours where there are Wardens (gargoyles) that protect humanity from demons. Only they don't know about the demon part. Layla has been raised by the Wardens and is half Warden, half demon. The demon side causes some mistrust from the Wardens, but Layla has the ability to see souls and 'tags' demons for them. Also, she can suck people's souls with just a kiss. This problem causes her to not be in any relationships, especially the off-limits relationship she wants with her best-friend and Warden, Zayne. Then Layle meets a hot demon who claims to know who she is as well as all the secrets the Wardens are keeping from her. What exactly are the Wardens hiding? First of all, the paranormal universe in this book is fantastic. Did you read my crummy synopsis? Not only are there Gargoyles, which are rare in paranormal, but the usual paranormal aspects are even interesting. There's Layla who has her own abilities, as well as the gargoyles and demons who all have their own abilities that are completely unique. Really, this is a unique YA paranormal in a land of Twilight copies. If you are any way familiar with Armentrout's writing, you will not be surprised to find characters full of snark and humor, as well as some hot guys. Also, come to expect interesting circumstances and not to be cliche, but expect the unexpected. There are a lot of surprises in this book and you will not want to put it down. Lastly, I mentioned the hot guys, so of course there's romance. There is a bit of a love triangle in this book, which I feel like will expand as the series goes on. Love triangles are despised by the book community, but sometimes love triangles can be done right when the characters are awesome, swoon-worthy, and things are shippable. Personally, I loved the romance and as of right now, I have no side. IN CONCLUSION Overall, if you love paranormal, tired of all the same paranormal reads, love Jennifer L. Armentrout, just want a great AMAZING book to read, pick this one up. DO NOT LET THE COVER MISLEAD YOU! This book is fantastic and I can't wait to read more!
Wow this novel was great! The Lux series is one of my favorites so i thought i would give this a shot. The way that jennifer characterizes is superb, the only thing i would like to see is a change of view so that we can more thoroughly understand roth and zayne. Overall this book blew my expectations. Who thought gargoyles and demons could be so enticing?
I received a free audio copy of this story in exchange for a review. I've heard about Armentrout for years now, being that she's from my home-state, but never read her because romance isn't top-priority on my reading list. And this is very clearly a romantic story. You know that scene in 'The Princess Bride' when Fred Savage asks, "Is this a kissing book?" Yeah. What's weird is that I thought that and a few chapters later, one of the characters references the movie. Take that as you will. So, I started this story listening to the audio version with my husband while traveling. We made it to chapter four before reaching a stop on our trip. At one point, we back-tracked on the audio to determine if the narrator said nachos or noxious (it was noxious). When our trip resumed and I mentioned starting the story, my husband groaned and asked if we could listen to music instead (his main complaint, he didn't like the narrator). And I was with him on that - I came home and bought the digital version of the story because I can read faster than the narrator speaks. I much preferred reading the story over listening to the audio. Most of the mythology behind the story is Judeo-Christian. This set of myths (no spoilers) used to be more arcane but, in recent years, they've made a come-back inspiring romance novels geared for the young adult/new adult markets. Familiarity with the mythology makes it easy to guess where some of the future story-lines may be headed (which can draw some people back, checking to see if their guesses are accurate). The religion also influences the way certain issues, like female promiscuity, are presented. I've already purchased the second book in this series because I want to see what happens with Roth. He's my favorite character.
A must read for fans of books with demons in them. I loved the story and I laughed and cried along with the characters.
Originally posted on my blog: Tangled Up In Books I have so many feelings right now it's incredible. How does Jennifer L. Armentrout do this to me every single time? Gargoyles, demons, aliens, humans it doesn't matter what she writes about. She has this knack for making me fall in love with her stories and her characters. Completely. I was hooked from the novella, Bitter Sweet Love, but coming into this one I fell so much deeper for this world she's created and I didn't even think it was possible at the time. But I did. Her humor, her character creation, her creativity are on a level that no one else can quite come close to for me. She's on a tier all of her own. She has a gift for creating these paranormal worlds that feel so very real and it's incredible. I felt it with the Lux series and with Covenant and now in The Dark Elements. --"Hey, look. Bambi likes you." When I mention her character creation, the brilliant thing about JLA is that it isn't just restricted to the main characters. Everyone she puts in her books is so well thought out and developed. I end up craving to know more about each one of them. Even if they happen to be a snake named Bambi. You heard me right. I either love them or hate them with a fiery passion. There's no in between because she's just as brilliant with the lovable ones as she is the evil, slimy ones. --People with the purest souls are capable of the greatest evils. No one is perfect, no matter what they are or what side they fight for. One of the many things I loved about this book is you go in with the idea that there are two very distinct types of creatures. There are the Wardens, gargoyles, they're warriors, they hunt demons and sort of police the earth for heaven and are pure souls. Then there are the demons and, well, you know what they're all about. Corruption, mayhem, the usual M.O. and there are all different types and levels with no souls. So you figure it should be pretty cut and dry. Something with a pure soul, like the Wardens = good and demon with no soul = bad. I soon realized right along with Layla that just because something is supposed to be pure didn't mean it couldn't be one of the worst kinds of creatures beneath it's surface. And just because something is born from evil doesn't mean it should be automatically judged and condemned as evil that needed to be eradicated. --"I think I'm going to break into her house later and cut her hair off. Then maybe glue it to her face." Layla was my one constant in this book. Watching her navigate something as simple as her own existence was a whole odd mix of feelings. It was empowering, sad, frustrating and at times funny. She's essentially caught between three worlds, human, Warden and demon and doesn't exactly fit into any of them. My heart really went out to her and I felt everything she went through. While she was my one constant the other characters really did some flips and switches and took some surprising turns. All of them. Though when it comes to the whole Zayne or Roth debate, I went in with what I thought was a solid feeling in my gut about where I'd be by the end of this book. Surprisingly I was thrown for a few loops and I started to waver quite a bit as it stretched to the middle of the book. Though by the end I'm back on solid ground again. Does that mean I stuck with my original guy? Or have I switched sides completely? Hmm...I don't think I'm going to tell. *Evil grin* Maybe I'll be Team Stacey! Or even Team Bambi! That's all you'll get out of me. --Stacey grinned evilly. "I'd go gay for you." I loved being able to see Jasmine again here and there briefly though I missed the hell out of Dex. But it was nice to see at least one familiar face from Bitter Sweet Love. And to get to know so many other new ones. Like Layla's human best friends from school Stacey and Sam. I could read a whole book about those two, Sam with his completely random facts and Stacey with her big, bold and unafraid personality. Quite the mix of comic relief from them. --"Your life is so much more than what you can't do. What about all that you can do?" Like I said I was pulled through so many emotions in this book. I laughed out loud on more than one occasion. I swooned and lost my heart happily. There was so much anger and frustration for Layla on a few occasions, I'm talking full blown anger. I wanted to crawl into the book and crack some skulls. I was even taken completely by surprise and total shock. More often than not I can see things coming but with this book things came out of no where and had my jaw on the ground! Plus I can't forget the horrible case of the ugly cries. Oh yeah, my heart was put through the wringer! I love it when books can pull me through all those types of feelings like that. Brilliant start for an amazing new series. But with JLA what else can you expect?
This book delivers in every way! Can't get enough of anything armentrout creates.
This is one of those book where the cover gives you one idea of what to expect...but the actual story does not really fit it. The cover kind of gives you that old romance, "white people almost kissing" by Nickolas Sparks feel. But this was actually a fantasy....with some romance, rather than a romance with some fantasy. The world created was very interesting, and rich. A world of Heaven, Heal, Angels, demons and everything in between. And very unique. I like unique, after you read 2 or 3 paranormal romances...you kind of feel like you read them all. But after reading the story, there is tons more to explore in this world, and plenty of unanswered questions/mysteries. Will we meet the infamous Lilith? What is going on in Elijah's head and what exactly has been driving him to act like he did? It has to be more than just reject and self-hate from a mistake. And why did Abbott decide to keep a child that posed such a threat to the world? There had to be easier ways to protect the world...by like killing her. I am sure there is more to come. And of course the romance...once again a triangle (will it ever end?)...I can't say I am rooting or anyone, since my main interest was in the magic/demon parts...but I thought both relationships were built up well and I actually could relate. So I'm fine either way. The only thing I did not really enjoy was the sprinkling here and there of modern slang "That's how we roll"..."Don't he hater"...not that I guess modern demons wouldn't use slang...but they were always a bit jarring. Like the author was trying too hard to make them "hip" and "cool" ...like your parents joining Facebook and all of sudden start talking about twerking and telling people to "talk to the hand" in a sad attempt to sound young and with it. Yeah....that part was kind of eye roll inducing. Overall though...I enjoyed it enough that next time I am looking for something fun and quick...I would pick up the next book.