Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Book Review: White Hot Kiss (The Dark Elements #1)

Release Date: February 25, 2014
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Length: 392 pages

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.



Protagonist: Layla was born as half-Warden, the gargoyle like guardians who protect humans from demons, and half-Demon, which is a pretty self explanatory race. Because of this, she's left with the ability to literally suck the soul out of someone if they get too close, like kissing distance too close. I liked Layla, while not a particularly active heroine, her spunk and stubbornness make up for the fact that she's not kicking ass and taking names during the whole of this story, though believe me, she can hold her own against some pretty fierce demons.

Romance: Going into this book I had pretty much expected to root for the character of Zayne and despise the character of Roth, partly because Roth seemed like the typical bad bay love interest stereotype, which I haven't had much luck enjoying in the past, and partly because of the whole good vs. evil thing I tend to be on the most moral side. However I have to say that I don't hate Roth, the bad part is that most of the time I just didn't care about the romance between Roth and Layla, which took up most of the novel, and was pretty cliched if you ask me, and the romance between Zayne and Layla pretty much being allotted to a few offhanded comments here and there. This also, unfortunately makes it nearly impossible to take this love triangle seriously, however since the romance didn't outshine the plot and world-building, I'm not taking off too much because of it.

World-Building: So for those who read the prequel novella, Bitter Sweet Love, certain characters make an appearance in this book but are mostly devoted to being background characters. We learn more about the past between the Wardens and Demons, and I was surprised to see just how much we learn about Layla's heritage in this book, that sort of thing is usually left for the second installment in a trilogy. I have to say though that while there are still some unanswered questions still linger about certain characters and certain aspects of this world, there was a lot more answered on a whole than I was expecting.

Predictability: For the most part this story was very predictable, the foreshadowing was fairly heavy and the story itself was fairly cliched, I don't know what it was but there was something vaguely familiar about it all, so it wasn't hard to know what was coming next. However, there were a few teists that really got me going, one in particular that if you think about it too much twists this story into a much darker version of itself, and for that twist alone, among another "twist" that I saw coming but was still to epic for words, I decided to tack on an extra .5 star to my final rating.

Ending: The ending was fairly plateaued, much like most first installments are, but this one was a bit different because while I wouldn't be completely okay if this was a stand-alone, there's enough that's wrapped up that I'm quite interested to see where the plot of this series will go in the next installment. Though part of me really wished for a cliffhanger, I think that even with how much was wrapped up, the constant unknown as to where this story will go might have been worse than an awful cliffhanger.


So I was a bit underwhelmed by this book, first off, for a book that seemed to want to put an emphasis on it's love triangle, there was too much romance with Roth and not nearly enough with Zayne, also I just found myself not caring about the romance, at parts even skimming thorough, all that paired with the vague familiarity of the story had me a bit bored. However, the world-building is amazing and this installment left me really and truly wondering what is going to be next for Layla.



  1. I rather liked this book. I loved Roth for sure. I actually read BSL first, but I see you put this review up first, so you must have read that next. I am interested to see where Armentrout takes it, especially since she allowed her readers to choose the guy Layla ends up with. I find that strange, but who am I to judge? Great review.

    1. Actually, I did read BSL before this, but for some reason I like reviewing novellas on Saturdays so I read it early and scheduled the review.