White Hot Kiss
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Release: February 25th 2014
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Demons, Gargoyles, YA
#1 in the Dark Elements trilogy
Sequels: Stone Cold Touch (#2), Every Last Breath (#3)
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.
The first time I read JLA's Covenant series back in the day, I was mesmerized. The way she wrote was so cool, funny and refreshing, such a modern style and she was really fast with getting her books published. Seriously, this woman is a fucking cheetah — there are people out there who push and push back the release dates farther and farther
(*cough* Michelle Hodkin *cough*) because they take so long to write a quality novel, yet this woman just squeezed them out like nobody's business. I admired her. I continued following her work, reading more of her novels, like the Lux series, and that's when I started to question her. By now, having read a lot of her work, I am starting to hate her. Why, you ask?
Because she keeps marketing the same damn thing.
I am not even kidding. Her stories always feature the same cast of characters, and I mean the very fucking same. It seems like she's not even trying to hide the fact because it so gapingly obvious, to me anyway, that her characters are so interchangeable it's ridiculous. Alex is Katy is Layla is Sydney. Seth is Daemon is Kyler is Roth. Dee is Stacey is Andrea is what's her name, the best friend in Covenant. Something with a G? I don't even know anymore, but it doesn't matter anyway what name I call them, because they're just the fucking same characters down to a T. And not only does she keep recycling the same characters over and over, also her writing is getting really freaking repetitive. The times I have read "sweet baby Jesus in a manger" in a novel of hers is seriously getting out of hand, and she really needs to come up with new stuff. Also, not to steal things from other authors, 'cause some of the things mentioned in this book reek of City of Bones to me. Also, can she please stop squeezing as many pop culture references as possible into her novels? Because this is honestly getting out of hand.
“I can't believe Mr. Leto wouldn't let us do our classics report on Twilight. It is a classic.”
In fact, since we're already talking about this, the writing is just... one, huge, big ass cringe. I'm not even kidding. How old is this woman again? According to google, she's 34. What 34-year-old writes like this?!
“He's the awesome sauce with extra sauce.”
“My favorite kind of news,” she said as we filed out of the door, “is bad-news boys.”
“(...) to keep your ass — a very lovely ass, by the way — safe.”
No. Just no. Please, please spare me. I guess that we'll be sparing nobody today though, because I still got like a trillion quotes to underline exactly how horribly written this book was.
Let's get into characters, even though I feel like I've discussed them at least twice already before — right, because I fucking have. Whatever. Layla, the heroine, is one of the most idiotic teenage girls I've ever come across, not to mention that she is a rude ass bitch. Seriously, she was already out of favor with me long before I reached 10%. Why, you ask?
“Little claws tangled in my hair. Two seconds from stroking out, I yanked the rat out of my hair and tossed it onto the garbage bags. It squeaked as it bounced, then darted into a crack in the wall.”
WHAT. WHAT EVEN. SHE FUCKING THREW A RAT AWAY, SHE THREW IT AGAINST GARBAGE BINS. THE POOR CUTE LITTLE RAT. ARE YOU FUCKING OUT OF YOUR MIND, GIRL? THAT IS A LIVING BEING, YOU DON'T JUST THROW LIVING BEINGS AWAY LIKE THAT. GOD FUCKING DAMN IT.
So. Needless to say, I was already pretty pissed at Layla. But it didn't end there, because on top of being cruel to adorable little rodents, she is also an immensely conceited bitch that is not only conceited but also so stupid that how she survived so long is a mystery to me. Instead of telling her family of gargoyles whose job it is to hunt and get rid of demons that there's a horde of demons after her, she holds back because ... wait for it ... they might overreact. They might take away her freedoms, and she'd be cooped up in the house. WHAT. WHAT EVEN. Of course they would, but is it really that important to you to be able to go out with the two only friends you have, more so than fucking staying alive?! Apparently so. Furthermore, let's not forget how damn special she is, both because of her heritage as well as her personality quirks and the fact she's Hell's Most Wanted. And, how could it be any other way, she's not like other girls. She doesn't like attention, she's insecure when in reality she's drop dead gorgeous, so humble that girl, oh and let's not forget she's a virginal goodie two-shoes. Yet again. Because none of JLA's heroines have ever been virginal goodie two-shoes' before! Hahahaha.
“I hated when people stared. (...) But I'd never been kissed before. (...) but for some reason, I'd been different to them. (...) the ability to completely take a soul was rare.”
Also, there is simply no other way to compliment her looks and undermine that she's pretty than to compare her looks to another girl's and insult said other girl in the same sentence.
“"You're cute — way hotter than that hobag over there."
(...) Eva leaned against the locker, surrounded by what Stacey referred to as the bitch pack.”
Let's talk about Daemon, uh I meant Seth, shit, Kyler, damn it, Roth next.
Telling me that I was attracted to him? Ordering me to stop tagging? Who in the Hell did he think he was? First off, he was a demon — a hot demon — but ew.”
Yeah, ewww. Because Roth here is a bad boy, the hottest of the hottest, literally the Crown Prince of Hell — what a catch. The only downside is that he's a demon, but he's not really mean or anything, in fact, he's a really nice and sweet guy! His tattoos (which can come alive by the way) are lovingly called after Disney characters, he owns three cute kittens, he gardens, and his job is to protect Layla. He doesn't lie to her, he keeps her safe and he is gentle with her. No wait, the only downside actually is that he's an arrogant, cocky fucking dickwad with no sense of personal space and who has no qualms about sexually assaulting someone.
“He winked. "Modesty belongs to losers. Something I am not."(...) "That's not the only thing that's bi—""Shut up! TMI, Roth, TMI.”
The plot was laughably non-existent for about the first 60% of the book, I'm not even joking. The plot up until then was Layla being a fucking idiot for keeping secrets about how demons are after her from her "family," all the while trying to figure out these, GASP, feelings she harbors for two guys. One is our good friend Roth up there, the other is this extremely boring gargoyle dude she can't be with because otherwise she'd suck out his soul. But obviously he's hot
(or "awesome sauce" ugh) too. Anyway, when there is finally some plot development, it is crawling along at a snail pace and by the time the final climax rolls around I'm just sitting there significantly underwhelmed. The world-building was also kept to the absolute minimum, being very fishy and hard to grasp, because we don't exactly know when the fuck this is all taking place. Like I said, minimal effort was put into actually developing any of this, and I'd like to say she put the leftover time that wasn't wasted on that into developing the characters, but they didn't need any developing, because, and I can't stress this often enough, she's already written about them three times before this. And calling what little evolution they go through development is actually a compliment.
I'm just so fucking done with her constantly milking the same damn cow book for book and shamelessly making a shitload of money off of it. I keep trying to give her chance after chance to prove me wrong and to finally give me something original, but each time I end up even more disappointed than before and even angrier at her.
I sincerely hope this is going to be the last novel I'll ever read by her and that I won't let myself be talked into giving it yet another try.