White Hot Kiss
Buy or Borrow: Buy or regret it to be honest.
Source: ARC Courtesy of NetGalley
File Under: Gargoyles just got HOT.
"Shaken and a whole lot disturbed"
All seventeen year old Layla wants is to be normal...but considering her kiss will suck the soul out of anything that actually has one..that's not looking likely. Throw in the fact that half demon, half gargoyle Layla lives with a bunch of gargoyles and has other abilities no-one else possesses, and she's not going to become Miss Popularity any time soon.
Layla has been raised by the Warden's, a race of gargoyles charged with hunting demons and keeping the (occasionally ungrateful) public safe. Layla's always tried to fit in, hiding her own dark side from everyone she loves, but it's becoming increasingly obvious to her that she never will, especially with all the talk of her best friend Zayne mating with another gargoyle.
Zayne, the swoon worthy, incredibly gorgeous, totally awesome sauce, and completely off limits Warden, who happens to be her best friend, and who she happens to have a slightly minor...okay major, crush on. You see the problem.
But then Roth mysteriously shows up to save her ass, being suspiciously polite for a demon, and way hotter than he has any right to be....and did I mention he has a snake tattoo that comes to life? He seems to know all about her, and all her secrets. Layla knows she should stay away, but ya know...Roth is missing one crucial thing....a soul. Which means kissing him totally won't be an issue. Not to mention he's been tasked with protecting her from the demon trying to kill her.
Speaking of a demon trying to kill her, here's the thing. Turns out she's responsible for the violent demon uprising, and something about an apocalypse. Trusting Roth, much less getting all touchy feely with him, could not only brand her a traitor to her family, but ruin her chances with Zayne....or you know..ruin their friendship. But more importantly, if she's wrong about Roth, trusting him could be a one way ticket to the end of the world.
"See, I was raised in Hell. You could say I'm socially awkward."
Have I ever mentioned how much I love Jennifer Armentrout before? I stumbled into the Covenant series back when the second book was just being released and I loved it, so when I saw a new book from her pop up on NetGalley, I couldn't click "Request" fast enough. I had expectations for this book...and all of them where met.
Armentrout is incredible at creating worlds that you can disappear into, and picture every detail of clearly, without giving you pages of description, and this was one world I loved being sucked in to. Armentrout created a world where it's common knowledge Warden's are Gargoyles, and demon's walk around eating McDonalds. I could picture everything clearly, the compound, the school, the city, all from a few words woven in to the narrative.
Speaking of the narrative, as usual, Armentrout's writing was excellent. The trademark fast pace and slick flow where present, as was the trademark narrative. Armentrout has a knack for writing a narrative that has you laughing at the phrases used, but also storing them away to whip out at a later date. The language used was current and up to date, making it relateable to readers, but you weren't bombarded with slang words and phrases every single sentence, the balance was just right.
"There was a demon in McDonald's. And it had a powerful hunger for Big Macs"Tell me that opening sentence doesn't draw you in? Tell me it doesn't make you curious? You'll be lying if you say it doesn't!
I loved Layla. She's everything I love in a leading lady. She's funny, she's snarky and witty, she's badass even though she doesn't know it most of the time, and she's brave and courageous. She's written with so much depth you can get lost in the character. She's dealing with feelings for her best friend, and feeling like an outsider in her family, as well as dealing with secrets and lies and demons trying to kill her. But she bounces up and hits back.
Roth I found developing into a deeper character when you learn who he really is and how he was created and how he must feel everyday. My perspective on both Zayne and Roth changed as Layla's did, with Roth minute being a bad guy, and then suddenly coming to realise maybe he's not, and Zayne being wonderful one minute and wanting to punch him in the face next. Roth was also incredibly funny/witty, between Roth and Layla, I found myself chuckling away!
"Okay. Which one of you was fed after midnight? Because you're worse than a mogwai"
Both Roth and Zayne, as well as Sam and Stacey, where all written with depth. Stacey and Sam had their thing going on, Roth has the whole "help I was spawned as a replacement" thing going on, and then Zayne has the whole "my dad wants me to mate with some chick, but I have feelings for my best friend but she might suck my soul out, and oh look now she's getting it on with a demon" thing. They could all stand alone, and it's going to be interesting to see if Zayne will stand up to his father about mating or if he'll fight for Layla. But then...I'm kinda Team Roth.
While demon's aren't new, in fact a version of them is present in Armentrout's other series, the concept of gargoyles is. Set aside the fact that I love Armentrout's books, I was intrigued when I read the word gargoyles. I have never read a YA book that involves gargoyles, and I've never heard of it being done.
Armentrout gave us a creature we're all familiar with, and she created a totally unique mythology for them, and for the different types of demon's and for the world she has created. I guarantee you will not have read anything like this book, and that's why I love it, and why I love all of Armentrout's book, each has a rich and intricate mythology that is totally unique. Screw Fey, and vampires and werewolves and what not, gargoyle's are badass, and they're also waaayyy better than all three previously mentioned put together. New favourite right here.
The plot starts out pretty basic with the whole best friend love thing, but then develops pretty quickly into a web of intricacy with different threads suddenly appearing and weaving in to the plot, with Layla's heritage, Roth, the demon uprising and so on. You end up with a complex plot, that answers most of your questions, but leaves the perfect opening for the next book.
The plot twists and turns are impossible to predict, I found myself gasping away, with my hand over my mouth quite a lot, I love it when books surprise me as it's so rare these days, but I honestly never saw any of the plot twists coming. It was so unpredictable, it kept you glued to the pages until the very end, where you where suddenly hoping more pages would miraculously appear out of nowhere so it wouldn't end.
White Hot Kiss is a fantastic start to a new series that's rich with unique mythology and a complex plot, there's intrigue, there's romance, there's an example of a perfectly written love triangle and there's plenty of action. You never know what's going to happen. You never want it to end. You can't put the book down to do ANYTHING. And the on point, up to date narrative while have you chuckling away, even while other parts will have you shouting "noooooooooooo" and wanting to chuck the book out the window in frustration.
Think Supernatural, mixed in with Gargoyle's (the kids cartoon), and with a splash of National Treasure/Indiana Jones/ Lara Croft. Take your pick of relic finders.
That my friends, is every ingredient of the perfect book. Get on it!