There has been much anticipation surrounding the release of Every Last Breath, the final instalment in Jennifer L Armentrout’s Dark Elements series, which revolves around Layla Shaw, a seventeen year-old half-demon, half-warden who has the ability to suck out a person’s soul with one kiss. After the gut-wrenching climax at the end of book two, Stone Cold Touch, almost a year ago, readers’ minds have been flooded with questions: what happened to Sam? How will they stop the Lilin? What happens if they don’t?
And perhaps the most important question of all – who will Layla choose, Roth or Zayne? This has been an incredibly closely guarded secret, and I’m not about to let the cat out of the bag now. But I will say this: readers won’t have to wait out the entire book while Layla agonises over her choice – which, I have to admit, I dreaded might be the case – the big revelation comes in chapter five, allowing fans on the ‘winning’ team to breathe a huge sigh of relief, while the ‘losing’ team gets the bandaid ripped quickly. And while the romance is certainly a large part of the book and the new coupling not without its complications, this early intervention at least allows the story to take precedence from that point on.
And so the story. I’ve been a huge fan of this series from book one and am quite sad to see it end, but at the same time I’m glad this didn’t go the way of Ms. Armentrout’s other best selling series – Lux and Covenant – where the fourth and fifth books became tedious and the characters frustrating. Personally, I found Every Last Breath to be my pick of the series, and I think a large part of that is the way Layla’s character has developed from a shy, unsure misfit to a confident and determined woman who knows and accepts her place in the world.
The plot is thoroughly engaging as we follow this new Layla while she confronts her –figurative – demons, in the form of her real father and the adopted father who betrayed her; ventures into Hell and comes face to face with the Grim Reaper; discovers the truth about her identity; and, ultimately, is forced to make a devastating sacrifice. We’re also treated to cameos from the Alphas, The Boss, and Lilith herself.
As mentioned, the romance is a big part of the story, and there are several steamy yet YA-appropriate scenes between the love birds. There is also quite a bit of cheese involved, but this is downplayed by the intervention of some typical JLA humour.
“For it to have been that way between us, we had to be in love with each other –
madly, deeply in love.
I was the corniest cornball in a cornfield full of popcorn.”
Overall, I think the fact that I didn’t want this book to end probably sums up my opinion pretty well. I have no doubt this series will be getting a re-read down the track.
I own this book.
Reviewed by Ash Bye