As part of our The Dark Elements re-read, Cody from Literary-ly Obsessed and I are finishing off the week of White Hot Kiss with a review each! More details about the re-read (which goes until July 28th) HERE.
On the the review :)
I'm something the world hasn't seen:
Half demon and half gargoyle.
With powers no one else has.
But I've been raised just like a Warden.
Raised to deny my demon heritage.
To do good, rather than evil.
But there's a secret about my demon heritage.
One that I don't even know myself.
One that could bring upon the end of the world.
My name is Layla Shaw.
Book: White Hot Kiss
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Series: The Dark Elements
Standing: Book 1
POV: 1st person by Layla, past tense
Genre: YA paranormal, romance
Source: Physical copy
Release: February 25th, 2014
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Favourite line: "I lost myself the moment I found you."
Rating: 5 stars
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.
✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭
I'll be honest, when I first heard that this book was on gargoyles, I was a little hesitant. But this is Jennifer L. Armentrout, and I trust her. I was right to trust her, too, because this book is fantastic!
The book stars Layla Shaw. She's half-demon, half-Warden (the preferred term for gargoyle). She's practically unheard of, as Wardens and demons are enemies, and Wardens would never get together with a demon. But it happened. Because of it, she faces a lot of prejudice from other Wardens. She also has a few abilities no one has heard of, including seeing souls (she can tell if they're pure, or if they've been sinning), as well as "tagging" demons. Tagging basically entitles her to mark demons for the Wardens to take out at night. Layla can also take people's souls by bringing her mouth close to someone else's, something she is disgusted with, as it comes from her demonic heritage. So kissing is obviously out for her, unless she's trying to kill them.
Layla starts out very sure of her identity and her use. She's chosen to follow the Warden side of her, doing what little she can to help the Wardens out, to ultimately do good. However, as the book progresses, we find that not everything is merely as simple as it seems to be.
Enter Roth, an extremely hot demon. He challenges everything Layla has known, and rather than doing the whole I'm-here-to-corrupt-you thing that we expect all demons to have, Roth shows signs of humanity (though he won't admit it). Things like genuinely trying to help keep Layla safe, or just caring for her well-being in general. It's easy to fall in love with him, given his snark, wit, bravery, and hotness.
There is a love triangle in this book, which I was a little wary of. You have Roth, as mentioned above, but you also have Zayne, who is Layla's closest friend. He's a Warden who has grown up with Layla, whom Layla is in love with. Needless to say, Zayne begins to return some of that affection, but not before Roth swoops in lay claim to Layla's heart. In the question of Roth or Zayne, I'm Team Roth!
I really loved the modern references, such as Supernatural, Twilight, various movies, touch-screen cell phones, and the social pains of high school. The world is basically a mirror to ours, minus Wardens living publicly among us. It makes it all easy to relate to.
As the book progresses, we discover important details to Layla's life. Particularly her demon heritage, and what it ultimately means for her. Layla's existence is very deliberate, and we find out there are people after her, who want to either kill or use her.
***Spoilers! Spoilers! Spoilers!***
Layla is Lilith's daughter. Lilith! I hadn't seen that coming, at all. I've read a bit about Lilith in a few other books (mainly in Cassandra Clare's The Mortal Instruments series), so when I saw the name Lilith, warning signs were going off. This is the first time I've heard of the Lilin, who are a race of demons who can take people's souls with a mere touch. That's very creepy, if you know what I mean. Layla can tag demons just by touching them, whereas her half-siblings can take souls. Yikes. If anyone knows of a Lilin, please tell me so that I can run in the opposite direction!
Am I the only one who noticed what a big threat Posers actually were? We get an explanation that they can make zombies out of humans with one bite. Hello, zombie apocalypse! Shouldn't zombies be a more...standard issue? Wouldn't the public know about them or something?
Roth is pure awesome. He's the Crown Prince of Hell, and has some pretty awesome powers that come with it. I really liked the idea of Bambi, Thumper, Fury, Nitro, and Thor being familiars that can fuse to Roth by the means of a tattoo. I think that's pretty neat. You literally have a fighting companion with you at all times, who can be "summoned" at any time. It's like a secret ace up your sleeve, except this one is a tattoo on your skin. I wonder if it can work for other things? Like weapons? That would be helpful if there actual is an apocalypse. You can carry a lot more weapons on you like that.
I was actually surprised that Layla was able to phrase. I totally wrote her off as having a human form being her only form, and thus her true form. But I was wrong. In a way, I'm glad that she was able to phrase, but I find it a little hard to visualize. That could just be me, though, as I had a hard time visualizing the Warden in their true forms the entirety of the book.
Let's talk about the ending. With Roth's sacrifice. I was devastated. I mean, earlier on in the book, when Layla and Roth meet Tony the Seer, Roth is clear affected by Tony's words of Roth one day ending up in the fiery pits. With the demon's trap, Roth knowingly is sacrificing himself, knowing that it's a one-way ticket to the very place he dreads going. The fact that he does it for Layla, pushing Zayne out of the way so that she doesn't him, is heartbreaking. My heart broke. And broke. Ladies and gentleman, THAT IS A NOBLE SACRIFICE. There are few sacrifices that I deem noble, but this one is definitely in there (the most noble sacrifice I've ever read was probably in The Forever Song by Julie Kagawa...just thinking about it hits me hard in the feels).
Every Last Breath comes out July 28th, so it's not too late to read the first two books!
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