As part of our The Dark Elements re-read, Cody from Literary-ly Obsessed and I are finishing off the week of Stone Cold Touch with a review each! Don't forget to check back tomorrow to see our Q&A! :)
Book: Stone Cold Touch
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Series: The Dark Elements
Standing: Book 2
POV: first person by Layla, past tense
Genre: YA paranormal, romance
Source: Physical copy
Release: October 21st, 2014
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Rating: 5 Stars
Every touch has its price
Layla Shaw is trying to pick up the pieces of her shattered life—no easy task for a seventeen-year-old who’s pretty sure things can’t get worse. Her impossibly gorgeous best friend, Zayne, is forever off-limits thanks to the mysterious powers of her soul-stealing kiss. The Warden clan that has always protected her is suddenly keeping dangerous secrets. And she can barely think about Roth, the wickedly hot demon prince who understood her in ways no one else could.
But sometimes rock bottom is only the beginning. Because suddenly Layla’s powers begin to evolve, and she’s offered a tantalizing taste of what has always been forbidden. Then, when she least expects it, Roth returns, bringing news that could change her world forever. She’s finally getting what she always wanted, but with hell literally breaking loose and the body count adding up, the price may be higher than Layla is willing to pay…
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Another fantastic book by Jennifer L. Armentrout!
This book picks off a few weeks after the last book, White Hot Kiss. Things have settled down a bit, but everything has changed. A Lilin has been born, and both Warden and demon are in a race to find it and destroy it, before an apocalypse can occur.
One of the things a Lilin can do is take people's souls with just a touch. Which means that throughout the book, we're left wondering who has been interacting with the Lilin, and whether or not they're going to become a wraith (the result of a human without a soul).
We're introduced to a new side in this book apart from Wardens and Demons: the Church of God's Children. Originally, we only had a few passing-by mentions of them in the first book, but in the second book, they're a lot more active, seeking out Layla. We really get to see where they stand, and show that they humans are not as ignorant as we originally thought them to be.
Apart from human interventions, we're also introduced to a few new supernatural elements: witches, exorcisms, iron, holy water, crones, and specific powers of herbs. It shows how big the world truly is, and leaves us wondering what else exists in the world.
I found it oddly funny that we had another lower-gym scene. Who knew that lower gyms could have such importance? But the same gyms makes a reappearance in this book, which officially moves it under the "reoccurring setting" category. Not that it's a bad thing. Gyms are great. Abandoned ones are even greater for hiding things.
What did annoy me just a bit was the love-triangle thing. Layla continues to run off with Roth, which to me, is be a huge wedge in her relationship with Zayne. (Of course, this is all the more reason for Layla to end up with Roth in the end //TEAM ROTH) Yet Zayne, after expressing much angst (which drove me a little crazy), still forgives her. Trust issues, a little? But at the same time, I fully understand why people are on Team Zayne. He's a great guy, capable of huge acts of forgiveness, and desperately fights for the good in Layla. Add that he's ridiculously protective in a cute way, and yes, Team Zayne. And they've had some relatively steamy moments...who wouldn't want a Zayne?
And then we have Roth. As per the love-triangle guidebook, Roth must step away from Layla in order to give the other love interest a chance. I wasn't overly happy to see Roth pull on some major jerk-face moves, but his reasons were somewhat valid. However, though he and Layla had their falling-out, I liked how Layla didn't go out of her way to avoid him. She didn't feel insecure without him, and continued to be snippy and sarcastic with Roth. A little bitter, yes, but overall she didn't let it get to her head. There was no pages and pages of her moaning and groaning about how she was convinced Roth loved her, and her desperately trying to fix their relationship. Layla had her head on straight, and dealt with Roth as she needed to, not letting her emotions hinder her mission of finding the Lilin.
If you guys don't know, Jennifer L. Armentrout did something extremely unique and practically unheard of involving this love-triangle: she let the readers choose who Layla ends up with. I know, right! Unheard of! Basically, there was a poll that was open for about a week, and readers could vote for either Roth or Zayne. Once the poll closed and a winner was determined, Armentrout went ahead and wrote the ending to Every Last Breath with Layla ending up with the winner. Now, we don't know whether Zayne or Roth won, but as soon as Every Last Breath comes out, we'll find out... As obvious as people may think who Layla will end up with (cough, ROTH), it's not that clear, and there's a very high chance of either guy winning...or losing...
And the rest will be spoilers, so...
Spoilers! Spoilers! Spoilers!
I really didn't like Abbot in this book. I mean, I understood why he acted like such a jerk, but that didn't mean I liked it. He accused Layla of breaking the window and pushing Maddox down the stairs, and was extremely suspicious of her. And then near the end...technically, it was Maddox who stabbed Layla, but he sort of had Abbot's blessing to do so. So yes. I feel conflicted here. He should be a better person, but noooooo, he goes and pulls a mean-guy move. Sigh.
When Layla first kissed Zayne, I was totally convinced that Layla had learned how to control her ability to take souls. Never in my mind did it occur to me that it was actually Bambi affecting her. Nor did it pass my mind that Bambi was the one affecting Layla's powers in general. That was quite a big surprise for me.
I wasn't too sure about having Stacey and Sam in on the know. I mean, I agree that it was the right thing to do, but at the same time, it sort of puts them more at risk. Also because we know that Stacey is a really good best friend, and will try to help Layla out. And seeing as she's just human...well, it's easy for her to get hurt. Also, because the Alphas don't really want humans to know about demons, and the fact that Zayne and Layla told them makes them targets for the Alphas to smite them down or something...yeah.
I wasn't completely convinced that Layla was the Lilin at first. But when Abbot locked her up, I began thinking oh crap, she's the Lilin, isn't she? Abbot had to lock her up. Thank god I was wrong.
Can we just talk about the rescue? Dez and Nicolai reached out to Roth so that he could save her. May I be the first to say that Dez and Nicolai are awesome like that. I'm really glad that they're on Layla's side, and I really hope nothing bad happens to them as punishment! And then we had Roth. Oh, my heart. I was giddy with relief and love for him when he obliterated the warehouse, burning it all down. And Cayman was there too! That was probably one of my favourite moments. And then there was the moment after when Roth was desperate to save Layla...MY HEART. Just...oh my god. I can't. I can't. And then the confession? I CAN'T. MY HEART JUST CAN'T. So yes, I think we've established that I'm Team Roth. But jokes aside, I'm concerned about what it is that Cayman promised the witches for the cure for Layla. He said that it wasn't a small thing, so I'm worried it's going to be really bad for Roth...
And then, at the very very end, we find out the fact that Sam is the Lilin. That's bad. Very bad. And I did not see that one coming, at all! I'm seriously scared for what that will mean, and how it will affect Layla's mental state... I mean, it's going to be really hard for her if they're going to have a showdown with the Lilin, and both grief and guilt are going to gnaw away at her... But only time will tell what happens...
I cannot wait to read Every Last Breath, and I know it's going to be awesome, regardless of who Layla ends up with (though I'm cheering for Roth). The anticipation is killing me!!!