Armentrout Binge

Sooo… My name is Kaja and I’ve got a problem. I’m binge-reading books by Jennifer L. Armentrout, and while I know they aren’t really good for me, I can’t help myself – much like with chocolate.

armentrout-white-hot-kissIt started with Obsidian, which I didn’t particularly like because Daemon Black (he of the silly name) put me off the series. But then Becky said she loved Armentrout’s The Dark Elements series and I decided to give her another try.

And now I’ve read White Hot Kiss and Stone Cold Touch in less than three days, and lasted all of one week before succumbing to my cravings and ordering Wicked as well. What’s more: I chose Kindle editions so I got the books instantly, no waiting for the post to arrive.

This would not be as surprising if I genuinely, truly loved the books. But I don’t. I have this love-hate relationship with them, I cringed and rolled my eyes while reading them, but I read on, caught in a web Armentrout has created, powerless to stop. I know I’m being melodramatic. I do. Forgive me, dear reader. But it has been a while since I’ve come across a novel that was kind of silly but *unputdownable* all at once.

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So, what’s the deal with these books?

armentrout-stone-cold-touchThe Dark Elements series (which will be getting a third part, Every Last Breath, sometime in 2015) is YA and has a half-demon, half-gargoyle seventeen-year-old protagonist named Layla. She grew up with the gargoyles (yes, those gargoyles from old Gothic cathedrals), who are actually Wardens – creatures who protect the human world from the visitors from below, aka demons. There’s a love triangle (gah), which includes Layla, a gargoyle named Zayne, and a very powerful demon named Roth. Angsty business ensues (Just look at the cover on the right. She’s so conflicted.).

And while it sounds like any other romantic paranormal YA crap, it’s intriguing, the characters are cool (especially Roth, Roth is fiiine), and I really like Armentrout’s sense of humor. There’s also a tattoo-demon-snake named Bambi.

I didn’t particularly relish the fact that the fate of the world seems to hinge on Layla’s virginity (too many Twilight flashbacks for my taste), but at least Layla has quite a healthy view of her own sexuality. The huge cliffhanger at the end of Stone Cold Touch left me craving more and I just know I’ll definitely be reading Every Last Breath as soon as it’s available.

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armentrout-wickedWicked is the first part of The Wicked Saga (I think this means more than three books?) and is geared at a slightly older public – new adult. Ivy is twenty-one and hunts fae for a living. Fae are beautiful, evil bastards who feed on humans. Then there’s Ren, a green-eyed, gorgeous fae hunter who’s got an agenda of his own and makes Ivy’s blood hot. There’s much more smooching and the sex scenes are pretty graphic (not that I’m complaining, it’s just that I’m still a newbie to the new adult genre and never know how much sex to expect in comparison to young adult).

I felt like Armentrout maybe went a bit overboard with the colloquial language in this one. Phrases like “grabby hands” and “because reasons” are fantastic on book blogs and Twitter but I like my books a bit more eloquent. It’s a personal pet peeve and doesn’t diminish the readability of this novel.

The one thing that’s confusing as hell is the cover. I didn’t really read the Goodreads synopsis very carefully before impulse-buying the book, so I half-expected some mermaids or… I don’t know… selkies? I have no idea why they are underwater. Really. The only water present in the novel is in the form of New Orleans humidity. Yes, New Orleans! One of my bookish dream destinations.

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To recap this rambling post

White Hot Kiss and Stone Cold Touch (The Dark Elements #1 and #2): my rating 3.5/5; gargoyles and demons and angst.

Wicked (The Wicked Saga #1): my rating 3.5/5; fae and fae hunters, sex and angst.

I’d recommend both series to fans of paranormal romance, sexy boys, and flirty banter. And angst.

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Have you read any of these books? Or anything else by Jennifer L. Armentrout? 

Do you have any similar recommendations – I now have to wait for the next books to come out and am searching for a new obsession! :)

  • I’m so glad you read them, and I completely understand what you mean about the love hate relationship. When I bought the first book in the series it was an impulse buy because I wanted something fun and easy to read when I was going through a slump, and it gave me what I needed. They are not literary marvels, there were often annoying and eye roll worthy, but you simply cannot stop reading, Armentrout is pretty ingenious in that way. The same happened with the second book and I’m guaranteed to get the third simply for the way that second book ended.

    I did preorder Wicked and enjoyed it, but some of the language was offputting, but I can forgive many things when I am given a fun book to read that I can’t put down.

    Sadly I can’t think of any books for you to obsess over whilst you wait, I’m currently going through a historical romance binge which I just know is going to backfire on me but I keep wanting to read more.

    • Kaja

      Yep, I’ll be reading Book 3 as soon as it’s out, that’s for sure! :)

      Are you reading anything interesting apart from Tessa Dare?

  • AMEN TO EVERYTHING. I read JLA’s books and there are some seriously cringe-worthy things about them, yet I still really like them. Like the whole virginal/pseudo-virginal heroine and “slutty” best friend combo always bugs me…why can’t the best friend just date around without people griping about it? Why does the heroine always need to be pure as the driven snow? UGH.

    I’ve thought about it, and I think you’re right: it’s the flirty banter. Many people try to write flirty banter and it’s just awkward, but I’ve gotta hand it to JLA she can write some damn good banter. I think she’s hilarious! But her books are not good for my higher brain function, that is for sure.

    • Kaja

      Yep. Higher brain function suffers greatly. :D But I have yet to find a NA author I like as much as her. Everyone else takes their romance and relationships SO SERIOUSLY (But seriously, how serious ARE you when you’re 20? I mean, I started dating my current husband when I was 20 but it wasn’t an angsty, life-threatening affair, it was fun and lovely and grew more serious over time.), but she’s cool like that.

  • Yes!! WHY ARE THEY UNDERWATER?!?! Seems kind of like a Mara Dyer ripoff to me. And I agree 100% about the Dark Elements books…. I normally don’t like to qualify anything I enjoy as a guilty pleasure (mostly because I feel very little guilt), but these books completely fall into that category. And I can’t step away!

    • Kaja

      I haven’t read Mara Dyer, so I don’t know what the deal is with THAT underwater scene :) Yep, I’m waiting (im)patiently for the next book she writes, guilt or no, I’m buying it!
      Thanks for stopping by, Sarah! :)