Title: WHITE HOT KISS
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Pub Date: Out now!
ARC received from Harlequin Teen via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review
Dannie says: Oh. So this is why people love JLA. I understand now.
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.
WHAT I LIKED
The lore. Being the first in a series, she didn't delve into the traditional gargoyle lore as much as I would have liked, thus making it a like and not a love. But I did dig the world-building that happened. I haven't read many gargoyle YA's and that definitely caught my eye here. Hoping for more in Book 2.
It's a quick, fun read. I may have almost been late to work the morning after as a consequence of reading this from start to finish one night.
The FMC. I liked Layla, but I didn't love her. She wasn't as strong as I like my main characters to be and she relied too much on the men...erm...demons and gargoyles in her life to save her. As the book went on, though, and she made more complex/flawed choices, I grew to like her more.
WHAT I LOVED
How pleasantly I surprised I was overall. This is the first Jennifer L. Armantrout novel I've picked up, mostly because I've heard a lot of meh things but also because I hadn't really been grabbed by any of the plotlines. But I decided to give this one a chance when it came across my netgalley feed and I was pleasantly surprise.
The sexytimes. Oh. So this is why people love JLA. I understand now.
Roth. I won't go into a lot of details here because spoilers, but I'll just say I like to write bad boys a lot more than I like to read them. And, as a general principle, not so much a fan of demons. This is a bad boy demon I enjoyed reading and hope to read more of very soon.
WHAT I WANTED MORE OF
More depth and screen time with Zayne. I think to do a love-triangle well, you need to really buy into the idea that both L.I.'s have an equally realistic possibility of success as a partner and that both have the potential to offer her something she can't get from the other. I didn't quite buy into Zayne's potential, what with the whole not being able to kiss him thing. It'd kind of a bummer to not be able to kiss a guy you're dating.
More screen time with the bad guys. I felt like they were sort of in-and-out and not scary enough as a consequence.
More interaction with the human world. For a girl that's in high school there's suspiciously few humans in her life. And yeah I get the whole soul-sucking urge complication and whatnot, but as a reader who is, well, human...mostly...it felt weird that there were so few humans in the book. On a related note, I wanted more clarity about how the humans came into play in this world because they didn't really seem to add any sort of value to the story. The human players are very unimportant to the overall plot, and I never really invested in them. Moreover, I wasn't 100% sure why gargoyles mattered to humans.
A more complex FMC. Though again I wish she made more of an impact on the story. Anything more would be spoilerish so I'll leave it there.
Also, more gargoyles. Because, um...gargoyles?
Short story long, if you're curious about JLA but you haven't read her yet, this isn't a bad place to start. It's not a book that's going to change the face of YA/ParRom, but that's okay. It's a fun, quick read, perfect for summer break.
This one's been out for a while now, so if you've read it, let me know what you think! Buy links are below!