TITLE: Bitter Sweet Love
SERIES: The Dark Elements #0.5
AUTHOR: Jennifer L Armentrout
PUBLICATION DATE: December 1, 2013
PUBLISHER: Harlequin Teen
PAGES: 105 pages
SOURCE: Invitation from publisher, E-ARC provided via NetGalley
RATING: 5 bows
Jasmine and Dez were always meant to be. As Gargoyle Wardens, they have been officially paired to mate, as long as she accepts the proposal. But when he disappears the day after the announcement is made, Jasmine is sure she’ll never be the same without him. Now, three years later, he waltzes back into her life expecting to pick up where they left off. Good luck, buddy. Jasmine is beyond pissed off because she has spent the last three years grieving the loss of him and isn’t sure she can ever trust him again. How do you trust someone who just walked out of you? How can you truly believe that he’ll never do that again? She agrees to give him a chance to prove he’s back for good within the seven days she is allowed to deliberate over whether to accept the proposal to mate or not, using him shamelessly to experience things that she would never be allowed to do on her own. Things like traveling to New York or learning to drive. Can he convince her to trust him again?
I’ll be completely honest, when I got the email requesting I read and review this, my answer was immediate. You’re with Harlequin Teen and you want me personally to read and review a novel from your publishing house?
Yes, I’d love too. Oh, it’s about Gargoyles?
Even better. Oh, it’s by Jennifer L Armentrout?
Gimme gimme gimme…I mean, ::coughs:: I would be delighted to review this for you. To say I was overjoyed at this opportunity was a massive understatement. I could post a hundred flailing happy gifs and it still wouldn’t equal my level of excitement. But, instead of doing that, let’s get down to the review, shall we?
Jasmine’s character is one I could immediately sympathize with. She just wants to be free, but the antiquated views of the male Wardens (aka gargoyles) keep her caged in the mansion she calls home. They believe that whole women are the weaker sex and must be protected at all costs. The idea that maybe if they trained them to fight then they would constantly be the causalities of demon attacks is preposterous. No, it’s better to hide them away and homeschool them until they are old enough to be “mated” and then keep them barefoot and pregnant. Jasmine is about as irritated with this idea as I am. The only upside in this is that there are so few females that they get their pick of any male. The males make an offer and the female gets 7 days to make a decision, yes or no. If she says no, the male must accept it and move on. The downside, beyond the chauvinist outlook, is that virtually none of the mated couples are love matches. Jasmine is a romantic, so that’s very disheartening.
Holy crap. I just realized part of why I loved this so much (apart from JLA’s typical awesomeness) while I was writing that. It’s just like a fucking historical romance novel: sheltered women, men running society, lack of love matches.
Seriously, I’m a bit mind blown at the similarities. I didn’t think I could fall in love with this anymore, but I was wrong.
Dez, our leading male, was cocky, lovable, and oddly vulnerable. I think Jennifer really has writing swoon-worthy males down to a science. Amazing body? Just the right amount of witty banter? Cocky, but not annoyingly so? Completely head over heels for our heroine? And tada! There you have it, a swoon-worthy male. I was a bit unsure about him in the beginning, but his obvious devotion to Jasmine won me over. It’s clear that he’ll do whatever it takes to get her back. I almost wish this had been just a tinsy bit longer just to draw out their relationship a bit.
You get a peak of Layla, Zayne, and Roth, the stars of this series. Dez and Jasmine are secondary characters. I’m a little sad about them not being the main love birds, but I can understand why their story is in the background. Once they get over this little issue, I think they won’t have any major conflicts and conflicts are the center of all novels. Layla is definitely going to be an interesting character to follow and I’m already so in love with Roth that I’m foaming at the mouth for me. Smartass demon who bucks the rules? YES PLEASE!
The writing is exactly what you’d expect from Jennifer. She has that amazing ability to write a wholly believable story, even when it’s a preposterous concept. The Warden lure, though only briefly explained, is fascinating. I’m really excited about reading more of this particular supernatural being we don’t see often (or ever) in YA. It’s probably the most original idea for a young adult novel that I’ve read all year.
There is no question that this is a novella everyone will enjoy. It has romance, a bit of action, a little suspense, and a whole bunch of JLA awesomeness. It’s a new spin of a supernatural creature that doesn’t get much attention these days. Grab your copy December 1st so you can experience this breath-taking story for yourself.
****A huge thank you to Lisa Wray at Harlequin Teen for giving me the opportunity to read this and for providing me with an eARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you just doesn’t seem strong enough, but it’s all I can say, so from the bottom of my heart, I sincerely thank you!****