Title: White Hot Kiss
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Series: The Dark Elements
Book #: 1
Reading Level: YA
Goodreads Rating: 4.25
Published: 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.
I've never considered Jennifer Armentrout to be big into complex story lines and building huge worlds. But that is not necessarily a bad thing. Whenever I need to read an entertaining, smoking, thrilling read I know by now that if I pick up one of her books she is sure to deliver. Just as she delivered in White Hot Kiss. It's Paranormal-Romance (with emphasis on the romance part) at its best.
Layla: "At that moment I knew three tings. I was screwed. Mankind was screwed. The entire universe was screwed."
Layla is a half Warden-half demon. Her "super power" consists of taking another's person soul via kissing. So basically, it sucks. She can't have a real relationship with any boy because she runs the risk of killing them. Specially the boy she has had her eyes set on for what seems like forever. Zayne, the Warden who is Layla's best friend. The only way Layla can help the Warden's fight agaisnt the demons in the world is to tag the monsters (which basically somehow lights the monsters up like a beacon so the Warden's can pick them out and kill them) since they have no soul's to suck out. Everything is going fine until one stupid day Layla goes agaisnt a particular monster who is too much for her, just as she thinks her life is over out of nowhere appears Roth, an upper level demon who only seems to want to help Layla. Soon enough Layla's understanding of the world is flipped outside down. Who are the bad guys? Who are the good guys? And why is every one lying to her?
At it's very heart White Hot Kiss is a fully entertaining read. The romance is what it's all about really, the rest of the plot only secondary. Demons want to either kill Layla, or use Layla, but either way it is all about Layla. Roth and Zayne are her protectors because poor Layla can't seem to be able to protect herself (until you get her REAL mad that is). Layla's dialogue keeps you glued to the page and invested. She is not a hard character to like as she had me laughing out loud on more than a few occasions. She wants o be helpful, but considering her heritage she can't help but feel like a burden... a deadly one at that. She can't shift into a Gargoyle because she is a half demon, and her half demon powers only really work on the good guys. Sure she knows the basic defensive moves but what good does that do against a horde of demons? Overall she takes this on stride and still does her best to contribute to the fight for the greater good.
Roth and Zayne. This novel is all about the romance, and the boys. At first I couldn't help but dislike Roth. I thought he came on too strong, and every other comment was FULL of innuendo. Sure he is depicted as being hot but what YA hero/villain isn't? So at first I was team Zayne... until we got to see the real Roth that is.
Roth: "Just so you know, your virtue isn't safe with me. So when you look like you want me to devour every inch of your mouth, I will without an ounce of regret."
The Roth that has 3 kittens in his apartment that are little rascals, who likes to tend a garden on his time off, who likes blueberry muffins and who by all intents and purposes seems to just be burdened with his demonic tasks... while at the same time he keeps warning Layla about his "true" nature, and never to trust a demon. I can't help it, he is swoon worthy. The demon that doesn't pretend to be anything but what he is while hiding his softer side from the world. This is all well and all but I kind of want to know Roth's past crimes. I know the first novel was all about making us love him, but what exactly makes him team evil? What has he done in the past to deserve eternal damnation? I kind of want to know.
Zayne on the other hand is the golden boy. Zayne is the angelic boy who has the pure soul, which means Layla can't even kiss him. Making him forbidden fruit. A forbidden fruit who likes to care about Layla and help her and make her feel special... he is a softy. But at the same time he is a warrior. He and Layla spend much of this novel estranged which I think will be fixed come Stone Cold Touch, and I can't wait to see how Jennifer Armentrout is going to make us fall in love with Zayne.
Because that is what a good romance novel is all about. Making us fall in love with the characters, both girls and boys. Layla is a kick, Roth is sizzling, and Zayne is yet to be discovered. The plot overall was pretty interesting though nothing exactly new (demons trying to bring forth the apocalypse by ways that involve Layla). The gargoyle element was pretty sweet and I hope to learn more about their origins in future novels (not to mention their impact in the world since they came out of the closet- I guess it was kind of hard to fly over the cities when Google Earth is always taking their pictures). Overall White Hot Kiss is a great start to a promising series and I cannot wait for more.