Written by Jennifer L Armentrout
Published July, 2015 by Harlequin Teen
Genres: Angels & Demons, Gargoyles, Romance, Urban Fantasy
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Every choice has consequences — but seventeen-year-old Layla faces tougher choices than most. Light or darkness. Wickedly sexy demon prince Roth, or Zayne, the gorgeous, protective Warden she never thought could be hers. Hardest of all, Layla has to decide which side of herself to trust.
Layla has a new problem, too. A Lilin — the deadliest of demons — has been unleashed, wreaking havoc on those around her…including her best friend. To keep Sam from a fate much, much worse than death, Layla must strike a deal with the enemy while saving her city — and her race — from destruction.
Torn between two worlds and two different boys, Layla has no certainties, least of all survival, 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 then fight like hell…
Truth be told, I was a little disappointed with Every Last Breath as a trilogy finale. While everything was kind of wrapped up, I felt it all came together way too conveniently and without much urgency. The ‘big bad’ wasn’t so bad after all when I look back on it. Still, I enjoyed watching everything play out and how the characters reacted. After a three-book journey, you can’t help but be attached to them in some way. Warning: spoilers in the full review.
“I, Astaroth, Crown Prince of Hell, am in love with you, Layla Shaw. Yesterday. Today. Tomorrow. A hudred decades from now, I will still be in love with you, and it will be as fierce today as it will be a decade later.”
While I had my suspicions as to who Layla ended up with in Stone Cold Touch, I wasn’t expecting her choice to be so early on in the book. I was hoping Jennifer L. Armentrout would surprise me – but still, Layla ended up with Roth. I mean, I kind of knew it was coming – but it was still hard to swallow. I’m not anti-Roth or anything, but it seemed the predictable choice. Even though Stone Cold Touch was meant to be ‘the Zayne book’, it never really was. After Layla’s choice, Zayne was then pretty much absent for this whole book. It was like he was utterly forgotten while Layla and Roth rolled around multiple times and experienced new ways to kiss…
I have no problem when a book is heady on a romance, especially when it’s a YA book, but when it starts to get in the way of the actual plot, especially in the FINAL OF A TRILOGY, it becomes a bit of a problem for me.
“Stop being a coward and let go of the past. Embrace the future, because they are two very different things.”
As for Zayne, I get that Layla didn’t choose him, but then to be kinda fobbed off onto the extremely dull and shallow Stacey by the end of it felt like such a cop out for me! I mean, the Danika and Nicholai romance pleasantly surprised me, but Zayne with someone like Stacey? Nope. I refuse to stomach it. This was a real low point for me during reading Every Last Breath.
Plot-wise, it was just okay. I felt things moved extremely slowly… the ‘Big Bad Lilin’ was not really that menacing and I struggled to see what he was gaining out of the things he did. Why steal Elijah’s identity and form to not put it to any use? And the mini showdown at the Church felt kinda uneccesary, except to cause chaos and a way for Abbott to redeem himself.
The solution to the Lilin problem, in the end, was too easy for my liking. The fact that Layla got an ‘out of jail free card’ for this also didn’t sit well, either. I’ll say it again – TOO EASY! For such a formidable foe, the Lilin was sure dealt with quickly and swiftly without causing too much hooplah over the course of his short life. I mean, sure, he killed a few dozen people and took some souls… but in the grand scheme of things, worldwide? Not really much for Heaven and Hell to worry about there.
What happened to Sam? Did he just go to his appropriate place after the Lilin’s destruction? After how much Layla worried about him during the course of Every Last Breath (more so than Zayne…) she didn’t touch on this one much.
“When is there ever a right time to fully give your heart to another? There are always going to be obstacles. You just have to decide which ones are worth it.”
I think the real ‘plot’ of this book wasn’t the Lilin, Lillith or Heaven and Hell… it was about Layla falling in love and accepting herself for who she was. I had really high hopes for this series with White Hot Kiss, but the following two novels just didn’t live up to those hopes for me. They were enjoyable reads, sure, but sadly not favourites. I feel like they eventually sunk into too-familiar territory when it comes to YA, and I’m constantly on the look out for books and series that surprise me by steamrolling over those tropes.
All that being said and done, it was once again a really fast read for me and I did enjoy reading about the main trio of Layla, Zayne and Roth. They each had distinct personalities that I appreciated.
But, I felt that the other relationships and characters could have been more firmly established (Layla’s supposed ‘BEST FRIENDS’ never really felt like best friends) and that whoever else was leftover hadn’t been hastily patched together romance-wise. I wish we got to learn more about Bambi and her purpose with the witches in the aftermath, as well as a bit more behind Layla’s new familiar (what did he really do?).
And, to end, I have to share my most WTF moment with this book… Layla starting a chapter with: “Holy canola oil in my face!” I can’t even fathom that this is a sentence a main character uttered. I’m sorry, Layla, but I put up with your weird sayings for three books only to be gifted with this…? Sheer disbelief.
Recommended to: LOADS of people love this series, and I LIKED it enough, so if it seems up your alley, why not give it a go? You’ll have to be ready to grapple with a sometimes-flimsy plotline and a few predictable YA tropes, though.