Updated: Jan 22
Every Last Breath
by Jennifer L Armentrout
Published by Harlequin Teen
Book 3 in The Dark Elements Series
Some loves will last ’til your dying breath
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…
RATED: 14+ CATEGORY: MOOD:
Foul language Young Adult Exciting
Steamy moments Supernatural Emotional
Every Last Breath by Jennifer L Armentrout is the third, and final (sob!) book in the Dark Elements series. This book starts right at the moment the second book ends, revealing that the Lilin has taken Sam's soul, and has been impersonating him for months. Throughout the book, we get all the loose ends from the series tied neatly in a bow. Layla goes with her heart, to be with the man she is in love with. She finds answers on what she is. She finds peace with her old clan. And we get a resolution on the Lilin.
The Dark Elements series as a whole has been fairly unique, so originality for Every Last Breath doesn't change here. The story is consistent from start to finish, and the characters line up perfectly with the last two books (three if you count the novella). The story itself ... I'm 75- 25 on. I loved the story. My only problem is that it felt too rushed. There wasn't a moment that there wasn't something happening that was pivotal to Layla's character. It was very much a BAM-BAM-BAM story line, and there was no enough time to breathe. It needed to be a touch longer I think. I don't like stagnant parts of any novel, but this one needed some moments where the reader could relax a bit, process the big event, or piece of information we got, before moving on to the next part.
At this point, the characters have all developed as much as they can in this series, so there wasn't a whole lot of character building. Layla, after the events of the last book, has finally come to terms with her bloodline, and FINALLY recognizes that what blood runs through her veins doesn't determine the person she is. Otherwise, she is still the take charge, kick ass heroine of the last two books. She has some hard choices to make in this book, but she wasn't a coward and went through with them. Roth's character is so wonderfully bad ass and loving to Layla. Zayne is such a sweetheart, and he went through a lot in this book that made my heart hurt for him. I'm glad he has a spin-off series, because he needs a happy ending after all the shit that went down.
Every Last Breath was a wonderful conclusion to the Dark Elements story, but I won't lie, it had some problems. There was almost too much going on, too quickly, tying up everything in a nice tidy bow. I want answers, but I just wish is was a bit more drawn out. Otherwise, Every Last Breath keeps up the series' unique, action-packed, interesting, and sometimes emotionally draining story line, and ending in a way that should make most readers happy. It really depends on who you wanted her to be with: Zayne or Roth?
Let me know. Who would you have picked and why?
Top 3 Favorite Moments
Roth killing two of the Alpha angels for threatening to "put down" Layla
Layla coming home to a devastated, drunk Roth to tell him she loves him
Layla and Roth finally going all the way
(bonus) Layla entering Hell to talk to Grim to get Sam's soul released
(bonus) Abbot giving his life to protect Layla
(bonus) Zayne accepting a hug from Layla after his father died
(bonus) When Layla comes back, and she reunites with Roth
(bonus) Zayne and Layla talking, and Zayne giving her Mr. Snotty
Where to Buy
Lilin: "You cannot defeat me. So join me."
Layla: "Or what? Or die? That's not incredibly cliche or anything."
Roth: "You talk a lot. And I mean a lot. Why is it that the bad guys always have to give disgustingly long and boring monologues? Let's just get to the killing part, all right?"
Layla: "I said, do not touch her. Do not look at her. Do not even breathe in her direction. You do so, and I will rip your head from your shoulders and punt-kick it out a window."
Layla: "Oh my God. I have feathers."
Roth: "Those are definitely feathers wings."
Layla: "I have feathers on my wings!"
Roth: "Yeah, you do."
He was absolutely no help, so I turned to Zayne
Layla: "Why do I have feathers on my wings?"
Zayne: "I don't know, Layla. I've never seen anything like this."
Roth: "Liar. You've seen that before. So have I."
Stacey: "I haven't."
Layla: "Okay. How and why have you seen this before? Am I going to have to shave my wings now?"
Roth's lips twitched
I raised my hand, pointing my finger at him
Layla: "Don't you dare laugh, you jerk-face! This is not funny. My wings are freaks of nature!"
He lifted his hands
Roth: "I'm not going to laugh, but I think you should leave the razors alone. Besides, lots of things have feathers in their wings."
Layla: "Like what?"
Roth: "Like ... like hawks."
Layla: "Hawks? Hawks?"
Roth: "And eagles?"
Layla: "I'm not a bird, Roth!"
The dragon was about the size of a cat - a really small cat. Not exactly what I had been expecting. It's wings moved soundlessly as it hovered to the left of Roth, it's tail whipping around. It was so tiny and so ... so cute.
I blinked slowly.
Layla: "You ... you have a ... a pocket-size dragon?"
Zayne snorted from somewhere behind me.
A heavy sigh came from Roth.
Alpha 1: "How dare you speak to me? I could end your existence before you take your next breath."
Roth: "You could. But you won't."
My eyes widened
Zayne: "Roth. You might want to chill out a bit."
The Crown Prince smirked.
Roth: "Nah. You want to know why? The Alphas could end me, but they're not going to. You see, I am the favorite Crown Prince. They take me out when I haven't done anything to warrant it and they'll have the Boss to contend with. They don't want that."
Alpha 2: "There are rolls for a reason. It does not mean we have to like them, so I'd suggest you do not push your luck, Prince."
Then Roth did the unthinkable. He raised his hand and extended his middle finger.
Roth: "Does this count as pushing it, Bob? I'm not blinded by your glory. You sit on your lofty clouds passing judgment on every living creature there is. Not everything is black-and-white. You know that and yet you recognize no gray area."
Alpha 2: "One of these days, Prince, you will meet your own fate."
Roth: "And I'll do so quite spectacularly. Looking damn good while I do it, too."
Roth: "You take one step toward her and I'm going to fry myself up some Alpha. Extra-crispy style."
Alpha 2: "You dare to threaten us?"
Roth: "I dare a lot more than that. I will not stand for one hair on her head to be harmed. If you want her, you're going to have to come through me."
Zayne: "Is it ... stomping its feet?"
Roth rolled his eyes
Roth: "He doesn't get out much."
Stacey: "For obvious reasons."
Was I okay? Anger mixed with fear - fear for him. I stared for a moment and then I shot toward him.
Layla: "What were you thinking?"
Hauling back, I smacked his chest.
Layla: "You threatened an Alpha!"
I smacked him again, harder this time, enough to sting.
He rubbed his chest, but his eyes twinkled. He thought this was funny!
Zayne: "More than just threatened. He let Thumper eat them."
Roth: "Hey, technically Thumper fried one and ate the other."
Layla: "Oh my God!"
This time my hand connected with his arm.
Layla: "You're going to be in so much trouble, Roth! So much trouble."
He shrugged a shoulder
Roth: "Defended myself."
Layla: "Defended myself. You can't just go around killing Alphas, Roth!"
Stacey: "You killed those angels?"
He sent her an innocent grin
Roth: "Well, I didn't, but ..."
Layla: "Roth! This is not a joke. You -"
He was damn fast when he wanted to be. One second he was several feet away from me and the next he was there, clasping the sides of my face. He lowered his head so he was eye level with me.
Roth: "There are rules, Shortie."
Layla: "But -"
Roth: "Rules that even the Alphas have to abide by. They cannot attack me without physical provocation. If they do, they tick the Boss off, and then the Boss retaliates in a way that makes what the Lilin could do look like child's play. I'm not just some random demon. I'm the Crown Prince. They took a swing at me, and I defended myself. End of story. I'm going to be okay. Nothing it going to happen to me. I promise."
Layla: "You can't make that promise. None of us can."
His hands slid back and he curled his fingers in my loose hair.
Roth: "I can."
Cayman: "I leave you alone for a few hours, and you let Thumper fry and eat an Alpha."
Layla: "Is Roth in trouble?"
Roth: "Shortie, I'm -"
I raised my hand, cutting him off.
Layla: "Shush it. Cayman, is he in trouble?"
Cayman: "I think the better question is - when is he not in trouble?"
Layla: "Okay. Is he in more trouble than he normally is?"
Cayman: "Ah ... Let's just say that the Boss is not pleased with what just went down here. Actually, the Boss is ticked off about a lot of things, and if Roth goes down below anytime soon, he probably won't be leaving for a while. Like for a couple of decades.
Layla: "That's not good."
Roth: "Could be worse."
Cayman: "If you want to truth, I think the Boss secretly was pleased with what Thumper did, but you know ... politics. Ruins everything fun."
Layla: "I can see where I've taken some. I can tell in your aura."
Zayne: "I'm fine -"
Layla: "No thanks to me"
Roth: "Are you getting snappy with me?"
Zayne: "What does it sound like?"
Roth: "I don't know."
A slight smile formed on his lips as he threw his arm along the back of the cushion. I sighed, because I knew that look.
Roth: "But you catching a tone with me is about as interesting as reading up on the benefits of a water purification system."
Layla: "Knock it off."
The smile spread until there was a flash of white teeth.
Roth: "Anything for you, Shortie."
Roth: "What are the Wardens going to do once they realize Layla is alive and well? That's what I'm concerned about."
Zayne's lips thinned
Zayne: "They will do nothing. They know she's not the cause of what happened -"
Roth: "That doesn't undo anything they've done."
Zayne: "I didn't say that it did. I'm not going to allow them to touch her."
Roth: "And I'm not going to forget a single thing that was done to her. I haven't forgotten how she came back to me with claw marks on her face."
Sucking in a sharp breath, I leaned back against the cushion as Stacey turned to me.
Stacey: "You were clawed in the face?"
Zayne: "I will never forgive myself for that."
Roth: "Neither will I."
Layla: "Stop it. Talking about that isn't getting us anyplace. It doesn't matter."
Roth: "It does matter. Because no matter what, I would never, ever hurt you."
Zayne jerked back as if he's taken a fatal blow.
Layla: "But you have. You have hurt me.
Cayman: "I'd go with you, but ... Yeah, I really don't want to talk to Grim."
Layla: "Your support means the world to me."
Cayman: "I'm beginning to think your darling naivete is actually adorable idiocy. You're like the cute version of the village idiot."
Cayman: "Why worry about your awesomely superior wings when you have a Lilin who's going to quickly realize that there is no way in holy Hell that Lilith will be getting free and that's no joke. The Boss has her on lock-down. She's going nowhere, my little frosted cupcake. And what do you think that Lilin is going to do when it realizes mommy dearest is not getting free and there's nothing that it can do? Chaos will ensue, and what do you think will happen when chaos ensues? The Alphas will step in, and there will be so many of them that Thumper would get an upset stomach trying to eat them all. We don't want that. For realsies. "
I opened my mouth.
Cayman: "And why worry about your sleek-ass feathered wings when you have an entire clan of Wardens who just found out in the last twenty-four hours that you're really not dead? Because trust me, they know. Zayne wouldn't have to tell them. The Alphas would have. Some aren't gonna be happy about your survival. Oh no, sugar bear. Then there's the whole witch thing, and don't even ask me what they wanted in return for saving your butt, because I am not gonna be the bearer of that bad news bears."
I snapped my mouth shut. Goodie gumdrops, I was really starting to feel super stressed out. He wasn't done.
Cayman: "And why stress over wings in general when you're going to break someone's heart?"
Cayman popped off the bar stool, all grins.
Cayman: "Let's stop playing around, my own personal Beanie Baby. Zayne's in love with you. Roth's in love with you."
I inhaled sharply, but the air caught in my throat
Cayman: "Both would do anything for you - live, breathe and die for you, but you can't have both of them, Layla."
My hands fell to my thighs and I whispered, "I know that."
Cayman: "And you know which one is the real deal. You know, the forever kind of love, so why are you dragging this shit out?"
Layla: "I'm not dragging anything out. I was kind of out of it, you know, what with the whole being held prisoner and then nearly killed by my own clan thing. Then I was holed up here recovering, and then yesterday happened. And maybe I don't think it's the right time for me to be with either of them. Did you ever think about that?"
Cayman: "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."