Genres: Love & Romance, Paranormal, Young Adult
Series: The Dark Elements #1
Published by Harlequin on February 1st, 2014
Source: Edelweiss, Netgalley
Amazon, Barnes & Noble , The Book Depository
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.
Well I’ve finally read a Jennifer L. Armentrout book. The experience wasn’t all together unpleasant.
I actually really enjoyed the fact that this book was about a mythological creature that hasn’t been dealt with before: Gargoyles. Gargoyles, or Wardens as they’re known in this book have come out of hiding. They are just what their name implies. They are the protectors of the Earth.
The Wardens were an interesting part of this story, because I’ve never encountered anything like them in a book before. I wanted to learn everything I could about the Wardens. And I loved how their powers worked. They seemed kind of angelic in a way: created to protect the Earth from demons and whatnot. They have superhuman powers and abilities, all while managing to look drop dead gorgeous when not in gargoyle form. It was one of the first things that captivated me.
Layla is the protagonist in this story, and she’s half warden and half demon. She’s basically an abomination. Throughout the whole novel, we see Layla trying to figure out which side of herself did she want to succumb to. While I didn’t particularly like Layla, I did enjoy seeing her journey throughout the book.
One of the reasons I really couldn’t connect to Layla was the fact that she was such a typical heroine. She’s extremely attractive to apparently every single male character in the story, yet she believes she’s not attractive at all.
Zayne said I looked like the long-lost sister of the elf in Lord of the Rings. That was a huge confidence booster. Sigh.
She wallows in self-pity most of the time, even when everyone else in the world seems to accept her just as she is. She says time and time again about how she can take care of herself, however we can’t really confirm this because she’s always being rescued. Always. Every single person in this book seems to go out of their way so Layla can never even so much as break a nail. Talk about being sheltered, sheesh.
Something else that really didn’t sit well with me was the fact that all the female characters in this book had to be so vastly different from Layla. From Eva, the school queen bee who apparently was a trashy whore, to her best friend Stacey, who was, in Layla’s own words: a hoebag. I don’t like girl on girl hate. I dislike use of the word whore no matter how it’s used, so frankly I was more than a little annoyed at how much slut shaming there was. At first I liked Stacey because her personality was sort of a comic relief, but after it became clear that her character was overly sexualized just to contrast Layla’s purely virginal persona, I got tired of it.
There was a love triangle here. It wasn’t entirely annoying, but if you don’t like romance taking up the story, then you’ll most likely not enjoy this very much. In scenes where there was a lot of action going on, suddenly everything would stop and just revolve around long, lingering stares, and shared kisses and touches.
The love interests are Zayn and Roth. In this review I’ll only be talking about Roth, because frankly Zayne seems pretty irrelevant. Roth: I vacillated the whole book between punching him in the face and swooning. On one hand, Roth is a cocky, pretentious, jerk. On the other, he’s pretty damn gorgeous and becomes pretty lovable at the end. He’s a demon, so you absolutely know he’s trouble.
It took me a long time to warm up to Roth for various reasons. First of all, he does things like:
“Roth reached over the bistro table, caught my hand and brought my fingers to his mouth. Before I could even react, he licked off the tiny specks of sugar the cookie had left behind.”
And all Layla can seem to do is have heart palpitations. ISN’T THAT EVEN A LITTLE BIT WEIRD?
Then, he does this:
“He moved unbelievably fast. I didn’t even have a chance to react. One second he was standing a good three feet away from me and the next his hands were gently clasping my cheeks. […] Roth kissed me.”
And what does Layla do?
“Every muscle in my body locked up, but I didn’t pull away like I should’ve…”
And then, the icing on the cake is that Roth admits to having “observed” Layla for a long time, and SHE DOESNT EVEN BAT AN EYE.
Now that I think about it. I don’t think this is Roth’ fault. No. I think this is Layla’s fault. Instead of fraternizing with the stalker, she should’ve run screaming in the other direction.
“For some reason- I didn’t know why- I… I believed him.”
But you see, despite Roth being a creepy stalker at first, then he starts become much more tolerable and I ended up loving his character. I blame this on the fact that I love sassy and sarcastic characters and Roth was the definition of that.
However, between Roth and Zayne. I actually prefer Roth. Zayne was over protective and ambiguous with his feelings while Roth actually wanted Layla to protect herself. To discover herself.
The plot wasn’t entirely cliché, although it was pretty easy to know where it was going most of the time (until the ending, but more on that later).
I won’t deny that despite all my annoyances with this book I really did enjoy some parts. The writing was light and extremely humorous, which made the pages fly by faster. When Layla wasn’t being extremely stupid, I could sympathize with her. The paranormal and supernatural aspects of the book were brilliantly brought to life and I loved reading about them. The last few chapters were extremely action packed and kind of surprising. I liked that this book ended and didn’t actually leave us with a cliffhanger, but still desiring to read the next one.
While I wasn’t completely awestruck by this book, I’d definitely read the sequel. JLA sort of created a guilty-pleasure book and while I did not fall in love with it I am sure that many other people will.
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