Stone Cold Touch (The Dark Elements #2) – Jennifer L. Armentrout

stone cold touch

Rating: 4 stars
Type: YA
Steamy: For a YA pretty steamy

When Jennifer L. Armentrout announced that readers will be able to choose how the Dark Elements series should end (read here), it was pretty clear that the second instalment of this series would focus on Zayne and consequently on a potential love triangle. Well … it did. And, sadly, it felt terribly forced. Here is as to why (contains some minor spoilers):

What the official synopsis reads: Every touch has it’s 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…

What I read: Love triangle here, there, everywhere.

Basically what happens is that Roth comes back and tells Layla that he is not into her and never was into her. She is heartbroken and while being so turns to the next available guy: Zayne. He is so to speak the rebound (I refuse to see more in him). He is fortunately a rather willing victim because ever since he saw that other men are interested in Layla he realised that it is time to make a move on her. This whole development feels forced, but hey the goal is to create a love triangle so this is the opening act.

The problem with this love triangle is Zayne. In the first book we had Roth. Roth is this male, edgy, hot thing. Now we have Zayne. This … nice guy. You know in real live you should always opt for the nice guy, but when it comes to romance novels WE WANT THE BAD GUY. Zayne is like this healthy lunch option. Like a quinoa salad and a detox smoothie. Roth on the other hand is this juicy burger with fries and a non-diet coke. You know that the latter is bad for you but hey … at least in fiction let’s have fun and let’s make the wrong choices!

Also – and this might be a horrible thing to say – I found it awful that Zayne waited for Layla (as in preserving himself). Ever since he figured that she is the girl for him, he didn’t want to get involved with anyone else. As sweet as that sounds, this is just so not sexy. A man who doesn’t know his way around? C’mon!

Ok so apart from the sleeping pill Zayne and Hottie McHot Roth the story is pretty decent and gripping. As indicated in the first book, Layla’s existence and her actions resulted in some consequences and Roth, Layla and the Wardens are trying to deal with them (I don’t want to spoiler too much but there is a Lilin running around and loads of spooky things are about to happen). We learn more about the anti-Wardens movement which I enjoyed particular and there is a major cliffhanger at the end. Like MAJOR.

To sum up: I disliked the badly executed love triangle but I really liked the rest of the story (and Ms Armentrout’s writing), therefore I will give this book 4 stars. Well, also because I believe that 98% of the readers are team Roth and will vote for him and therefore this series will end properly. Ha!

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