Author: Jennifer Armentrout
Narrator: Saskia Maarleveld
Audiobook Length: 15 hours 1 minute
Every touch has its price
Layla Shaw is trying to pick up the pieces of her shattered life–no easy task for a seventeen-year-old who’s pretty sure things can’t get worse. Her impossibly gorgeous best friend, Zayne, is forever off-limits thanks to the mysterious powers of her soul-stealing kiss. The Warden clan that has always protected her is suddenly keeping dangerous secrets. And she can barely think about Roth, the wickedly hot demon prince who understood her in ways no one else could.
But sometimes rock bottom is only the beginning. Because suddenly Layla’s powers begin to evolve, and she’s offered a tantalizing taste of what has always been forbidden. Then, when she least expects it, Roth returns, bringing news that could change her world forever. She’s finally getting what she always wanted, but with hell literally breaking loose and the body count adding up, the price may be higher than Layla is willing to pay….
[White Hot Kiss (#1) Review]
Stone Cold Touch is the second novel in The Dark Elements series. Since this is a continuation from the first novel, it is highly recommended to read it before continuing on to this one. I have been lucky in most of the series I have read, but this one had the second book issues that come with many series. The story continues to follow Layla after the cliffhanger at the end of White Hot Kiss and then ends on another cliffhanger before the third novel.
After Roth disappears at the end of the first novel, Layla is dealing with her heartbreak from the situation. Zayne was there to comfort her, but gave her the space she needed. When Roth returns, he is not as affectionate to Layla, which makes her confused about her feelings. She still has residual feelings lingering for Zayne that she had from the beginning along with her newer, but shattered feelings for Roth and she begins to wonder which one will be for her. Additionally, there are strange occurrences at Layla’s school along with her loss of the ability to see auras. The story follows her investigating her newfound abilities and her loss of old ones. The mysteries surrounding the evil appearances is at the forefront, as no one seems to know what is causing it or how to stop it.
In regards to the love triangle, I am on the fence on how I feel about it. As I am buddy-reading this with a few of my friends, I have found that I am in the minority. To them, Layla is divided by her feelings for both Zayne and Roth and it really was anyone’s game about whom she will end up with in the end. I, on the other hand, saw it as Layla only being with Zayne because of circumstances with Roth, but all Roth would have to do is say okay for a relationship and she would dump Zayne in an instant. A few lines of dialogue in this story cemented this idea for me, but I will not know for sure until I finish the series. I do believe that she has feelings for both of them, but for both novels one and two, I always felt that she loves Zayne, but only wants to be with him if Roth is unavailable. My thoughts, I believe, are further supported, as the majority of reviewers tend to be Team Roth. To me, since the story is told from Layla’s perspective it makes a lot of sense. Zayne makes many mistakes, but so does Roth, but thought Layla’s eyes it is skewed to make Zayne’s worse. Again, I know I am in the minority for rooting for Zayne, although I do not think Layla should end up with either, as I am not her biggest fan. I do commend the author, though, as there are four of us reading it with two different interpretations of the romance, so it is not explicitly written one way or the other.
Overall, I am disappointed in this novel as my main thoughts are all about the love triangle and not on the main plot. To me, not much seemed to happen in the story and could have easily been shorten and added to books one and three to create a duology. There are some important pieces in this story, but they are overshadowed by the romance. I knew going into this that I might not enjoy it as much due to the love triangle, but I did not find it as bad in book one. However, this novel put it front and center and I wished that it was a subplot rather than seeming like the main one. I think I would have enjoyed this more if the love triangle did not seem to be about 80% of the novel (this could be an exaggeration, but it is my perception). I will still continue the series and read book three, but mostly it is due to my want to try out the Harbinger series, which takes place after this series ends, and I am just the type that typically finishes series until the end. This series has fairly high ratings, so I would definitely take my opinions with a grain of salt, especially since I am in the minority for this one. If you like gargoyles and demons, then you should try this one.