Normally, I review books individually but I got so into reading The Dark Elements series by Jennifer L. Armentrout that I didn’t want to take a break to write reviews of each book. So, I decided to collectively review them similar to how I did with The Fair Isle trilogy… granted that one was because the books were combined. I enjoy the Blood and Ash and Flesh and Fire series from Jennifer L. Armentrout, so I thought I would read other series that she has published in the past. I was planning on reading The Harbinger series since that was another recent series of hers. But I saw it began with The Dark Elements series or at least one character came from there, so to avoid spoilers of that series I started with The Dark Elements.
This series is a Young Adult paranormal fantasy series. Unlike the other two series that I’ve read from Jennifer L. Armentrout any sex scene is more or less a fade to black. While it doesn’t cut the scenes, it doesn’t go into details. They fast forward to the end and give a vague sense of what happens during them.
Before I get into my thoughts, here are each of the books in the series:
White Hot Kiss
Layla just wants to fit in at school and go on a date with Zayne, whom she’s crushed on since forever. Trouble is, Zayne treats Layla like a sister—and Layla is a half demon, half gargoyle with abilities no one else possesses. And even though Zayne is a Warden, part of the race of gargoyles tasked with keeping humanity safe, Layla’s kiss will kill anything with a soul—including him.
Then she meets Roth—a demon who claims to know her secrets. Though Layla knows she should stay away, it’s tough when that whole no-kissing thing isn’t an issue. Trusting Roth could ruin her chances with Zayne, but as Layla discovers she’s the reason for a violent demon uprising, kissing the enemy suddenly pales in comparison to the looming end of the world.
- Published: February 25, 2014
- Page Count: 388 pages
Stone Cold Touch
Layla Shaw is trying to pick up the pieces of her shattered life. Her best friend, Zayne, is forever off-limits thanks to her mysterious power of a soul-stealing kiss. Suddenly, the Warden clan that has always protected her is keeping dangerous secrets. And she can barely think about Roth, the forbidden demon prince who understood her in ways no one else ever could.
Rock bottom is only the beginning once Layla’s powers finally start to evolve. She’s offered a tantalizing taste of what has always been forbidden, finally getting what she has always wanted, but with hell literally breaking loose and the body count piling up, the price may be higher than Layla is willing or able to pay.
- Published: October 21, 2014
- Page Count: 453 pages
Every Last Breath
Every choice has consequences and Layla Shaw faces tougher choices than most. Light or darkness? Hardest of all, Layla has to decide which side of herself to trust. What will she do with the new problem at hand? A Lilin, the deadliest of demons, has been unleashed, wreaking havoc on all around her. To keep her best friend from a fate worse than death, Layla must strike a deal with the enemy while saving her city from destruction.
Torn between two worlds, Layla has no certainties, especially when an old bargain comes back to haunt them all. But sometimes, when secrets are everywhere and the truth seems unknowable, you have to listen to your heart, pick a side and fight like hell.
- Published: July 28, 2015
- Page Count: 363 pages
Thoughts on The Dark Elements Series
The Dark Elements series follows Layla Shaw through her discovery of her parentage and everything that is involved in that. Since everyone is out to either use her or kill her following her seventeenth birthday. One of the individuals she comes across is an Upper Demon named Roth (Astaroth), who has several familiars: Bambi (snake), Thumper (dragon), Nitro (cat), Thor (cat), and Fury (cat). The familiar we become the most familiar with throughout the series is Bambi as Layla ends up taking part ownership of the snake. We also meet Zayne, a Warden, who Layla grew up with. He is one of the protagonists of The Harbinger series, so I knew while Layla may have had a crush on him to the point there is a love triangle in the second book it was never going to work out between the two characters.
Layla is a half Warden, half-demon. She is the child of Lilith and was born in an attempt by Lilith to create the Lilin, a race of demons that steal the souls of their victims by touch. Something that cannot come back unless Lilith has a child who reaches the age of seventeen. And the Alphas (Seraphilim angels) swore to wipe out the existence of all demons on earth as well as Wardens if they return. So, Layla has to work on preventing that from happening with the help of Roth and Zayne (mostly Roth).
At the end of the first two books, there is a bonus chapter told from the perspective of the main love interest of that book. Since at one point, Layla and Roth stop seeing each other due to circumstances following his sacrifice and later return. I won’t spoil exactly what happens, but the entire time they were separated I was thinking… screaming… at Layla: “He’s lying. The boy freaking loves you. There’s gotcha be some reason he’s saying this.” And I was freaking right! He purely called things off for her protection even if it killed him to say those things to her. Granted, I don’t think she was any better off with that separation. It led to a lot of heartbreak and issues. If he hadn’t been separated from her, they probably would’ve realized some things a lot sooner. Like the effects, Bambi had on Layla that caused her powers to change. And prevent the entire sequence where Layla almost died. That would’ve been avoided entirely had Roth been allowed to be with Layla. But I get why the Wardens didn’t allow that, he is a demon and Layla was someone they raised since childhood.
Granted, that didn’t stop them from turning against her at every turn. Literally, the poor girl was treated horribly by everyone who was considered her family. Except for Zayne, but they turned to have a romantic relationship which doesn’t work because Layla literally takes souls automatically if they kiss. Except for when she has Bambi as a familiar. Of course, they don’t realize this until Layla returns Bambi to Roth after Layla learns that hell thinks she’s the Lilin. Granted, hell isn’t the only one who thinks that. The Wardens believe it too, even though that’s not the case.
Overall, I really enjoyed this series. I couldn’t put the books down and read all of them in a matter of two days. That’s how into the books I was. I would give these books a rating of 4 out of 5 stars. I wonder what’s going to happen with Zayne in the next series as I hope he does find his own love interest and gets the best. I liked his character. He just wasn’t right for Layla, he was too protective of her. She needed more freedom than what he could offer and doubted her a bit too much. Granted, he got over that but still, he didn’t have her back a lot of the times she needed it. Whereas, Roth did. Though I hope the two stay in touch. The next series with him isn’t told from his perspective so we’ll see if Layla and Roth make an appearance. But I have a feeling they will be more of a mention than side characters.
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