White Hot Kiss (The Dark Elements #1)
By: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publication Date: 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.
So, White Hot Kiss is my first Jennifer Armentrout book, which is quite surprising to me as she seems to be very prolific. In any case, I devoured the book in one sitting and highly recommend it for a light, fun read.
Layla is a half-demon half-warden living in a world where wardens, or gargoyles if you prefer, are recognized by the human population but police the demon population in secret at the behest of heaven. Living as an outcast among wardens, since she can not shift from her human form and has the very demon-like ability of sucking out souls, Layla nurses an unrequited crush on fellow warden, Zayne, in a world that constantly reminds her of why a relationship with him, or anyone else for that matter, would never work out. The book starts with Layla being cornered by a demon for unknown reasons to only be saved by a much more powerful, and much better looking, resident of Hell, Roth. This is when things start getting much more exciting.
Layla was fun and entertaining and I enjoyed how she called Roth on his smartass bullshit. I loved seeing them play off of each other and I felt that they had chemistry, which was missing from Layla’s relationship with Zayne. Roth’s presence brings out a healthier side of Layla, where she focuses on what she can do with her life instead of how different she is from the wardens that surround her. I do wish, however, that her romantic feelings for Zayne had been resolved by the end of the book instead of just not being dealt with. I also wish that there had been more Layla and Roth scenes. I liked them together, but I wish that the reader had seen more of them interacting.
Another aspect of the book that I enjoyed was Layla’s growth in self confidence and how she willingly changed her world view as she learned more and the book progressed. She accepted that the world was not as black and white as she was raised to believe, that there were good demons and evil wardens. She also learned to accept herself by letting go of how she perceived herself as a mule, or an unwanted genetic dead end, because of the fact that she couldn’t shift and was therefore unworthy of a proper place in her adopted family.
Without giving spoilers, the ending was painful, but there was a note of hope and I’m very much looking forward to book two and what it has to offer. Also, the print version has a nice little POV snippet from your favorite demon.
Disclaimer: The synopsis and cover picture were pulled from the book’s Goodreads page. Neither belong to us.