I used to be the blogger called YAL Book Briefs, but I grew bored of the handle and changed my name to Howdy YAL. I also respond to MJ. I like to read, write, eat truffles, and watch bad Lifetime movies.
The good news: this is one of the better books that Jennifer L Armentrout has published as late. It has sort of regained my faith in her (a bit) as a writer.
The bad news: It’s still a homogenous as the rest of her books.
If you haven’t read a Jennifer L Armentrout then you’re in for a bit of a bummer since I’m about to tell to tell you the essential elements of a successful Armentrout book. Meaning, its not New Adult. Don’t get me wrong, Armentrout has legions of fans that love her NA stuff and that’s perfectly fine, but me…not a fan.
I actually do like her YA stuff a bit more. But one of the things that really drives me crazy about it is that it sort of reminds me of fast food. You know what you’re getting is bad for you. That it’s the same old processed crap over and over again, maybe slightly repackaged so that the McRib still looks good, but it’s really the same high fat meal that while might be enjoyable for twenty seconds isn’t really anything revolutionary.
Yeah, that’s that book. So now, dear readers, sit back and play how to write a Jennifer L Armentrout book:
1) Your Heroine Is:
A) Feisty but really a damsel in distress
B) Special and one of a kind
C) Pretty and she doesn’t realize it AND
D) All the boys miraculously love her even though up until this point she’s never had a boyfriend…
If you answered any one of these you have the typical Armentrout heroine and Layla is no exception. I see shades of both Katy and Alex in her. Honestly, I really wanted to like Layla. And I’ll admit she had her moments, but at the end of the day she was a bit of a cliche. I just really have a hard time liking these one of a kind, chosen one heroines. And yeah, I know that chosen ones is just a cliche that is unfortunately going to have to be dealt with when it comes to YA books, but Armentrout usually does it in over kill mode.
Her saving grace though is that she has a really great voice. At least when it comes to her YA heroines. New Adult, I think her voice borders a little on whiney. But with these books it’s sort of hidden given the fact we have demons walking around the Earth and gargoyles. Plus, the editors at Harlequin Teen regulated the “Sweet Baby Jesuses” that are heavily featured in other Armentrout classics.
God bless you, Harlequin Teen.
2) What is your book mainly about:
A) A highly complicated plot that explores two races and plays homage to a classic 1990′s cartoon with an unconventional romance.
B) Romance, romance, romance! With a lot of sweet kissing and more kissing. An oh yeah, super powers. Let’s put them in at the end though, can’t forget the romance!
C) A deep look at a character who feels misplaced.
If you chose B then you guessed how this book went perfectly. Honestly, I was stoked when I read this summary. I am a huge fan of the 90′s cartoon Gargoyles and if this book would’ve been half as good as that show…Armentrout would be singing me some sweet baby Jesuses.
That being said the gargoyle element was heavily underplayed in this book. While the whole demon aspect was a little bit more thought out, it still was not really developed either. It really was set in the book just to set up the romance.
Interestingly enough, a lot of the demon/gargoyle thing seemed similar to the luxen/arum thing. Even the appearance of these creatures was comparable.
It’s more or less like the mythology is an after thought which is fine. If you know what your’e getting yourself into that is. Fans of folklore probably aren’t going to really like this book as someone looking for a romance with feels.
3) Speaking of romance your romantic lead in an Armentrout book will typically be:
A) An average guy who will have an occasional quirk or two, not look like an Armani underwear model-but is still pretty cute, and while he’s not always perfect he does something occasionally romantic that makes up for it.
B) Brad Pitt but younger (duh). But you can’t be together because your like a second class citizen to him. But if you were….oh, sweet baby Jesus you’d be the happiest dappiest couple ever.
C)Travis Maddox. Obviously. It doesn’t matter if he’s doing ten to twenty behind bars, your love is true.
D) A guy who is snarky and borderline rude that annoys you. But then he saves your life and oh sweet baby Jesus he looks good naked.
If you answered B or D (and I gave you a pretty obvious hint). You’re correct.
Both Zayne and Roth are really Aiden and Daemon in slightly different packaging. I’m actually, in a weird way, okay with this. Even though it’s a bit annoying I’m getting essentially a McRib in slightly different packaging.
What interests me about this is that is I’m looking forward to seeing the conclusion of this love triangle. Because it’s sort of like…well, who did I like more in my previous series.
And to be fair, these versions of Aiden and Daemon are a little bit more refined in some ways than their originals in some regard. And they are original enough. It’s just that despite their differences, I see who they really are. I can just see a conversation like this going on between Armentrout and her editor about trying to cash in on the swoon that was so popular in her other series but in love triangle form. And how it will be the awesomest of awesome love triangles because Aiden and Daemon are so swoon worthy.
Here’s the thing, while I am sort of interested in this triangle, at the same time I see it for what it is (contrived). Much like the rest of the book. I’ll be the first to admit, that when I read this book I enjoyed it. It was good brain candy. I’ll definitely be reading the sequel, but at the end of the day I do see it for what it truly is. Do I recommend it? Yes, I do. If you like fluff, but you have to know that your getting something that is written on a very obvious formula. A successful formula, sure. But a formula.