Author: Wendy Higgins
Genre: fantasy, paranormal, romance, thriller
Publisher: Harper Teen
Rating: 3/5 Stars
"What if there were teens whose lives depended on being bad influences? This is the reality for sons and daughters of fallen angels in Sweet Evil.
Tenderhearted Southern girl, Anna Whitt, was born with the sixth sense to see and feel emotions of other people. She’s aware of a struggle within herself, an inexplicable pull toward danger, but it isn’t until she turns sixteen and meets the alluring Kaidan Rowe that she discovers her terrifying heritage, and her will-power is put to the test. He’s the boy your daddy warned you about. If only someone had warned Anna. Forced to face her destiny, will Anna embrace her halo or her horns?"
I'm really torn about this one. I have been anticipating this book for awhile now and I think I worked myself into such excitement that it was easy to be let down, and for the same reason I continually tried to push my way through the not-so-great parts hoping that my premature fan-girling would be justified. I have seen so many reviewers raving about this book like it's the second coming of the Twilight phenomenon and certainly they are more than entitled to their opinions (that is what we bloggers do right?) but I just didn't get that thrill. Sweet Evil is not by any means a bad read, but it also is not the amazing story I expected it to be. I went into it expecting steamy romance, thrilling action and a gripping, unique plot. I got about half of those things which isn't too bad, but after being so excited to read it, it fell short.
As always let's start with the good (including that absolutely gorgeous cover). Steam. The steaminess of this book cannot be denied. There were certainly times when I felt like I needed to open a window and just cool off for a second. In fact, parts of the book, felt more adult than young adult. This is probably because the main heartthrob of the story, Kaidan Rowe, is the son of the Duke of Lust. He definitely takes after his father. He, naturally, falls for sweet little Anna who never swears, or lies, or drinks and certainly does not do anything Kaidan might have in mind. When the two of them have to travel cross-country alone things really heat up. One of the most redeeming things about the book is the way that Anna and Kaidan change each other throughout the story. Anna lets down her guard a little when she's with Kaidan and he, in turn, allows her to see glimpses of his vulnerability. They really start to love each other, in large part because of Kaidan's damage from never truly having love in his life. One of the sweetest lines in the book comes from Anna's inner dialogue after discussing Kaidan's loveless upbringing:
"I tried to imagine young, inquisitive Kaidan looking up at the demon in his life, desperate for his attention. I wished I could hold that little boy." - Ch. 14
The love between the two of them is what we all like to see in books, raw and real and deep. Another part of the book that I enjoyed was the mythology. Higgins does a great job of setting up the mythology behind the angels and the demons and their children. She also does not have any qualms with being very brutal about the way the demons behave. There are parts of this book that are very hard to get through because they are violent and heart wrenching, which I think is important when we are talking about evil. She really drives the point home.
That's where the love sort of stopped for me. As far as uniqueness goes, I can't really say the plot was all that different from most paranormal romances. Good girl meets bad guy. Girl tries to change guy. Bad guy is still bad, but broken underneath. Girl finds out she has flaws too. They can't be together but probably will, maybe, at some point. It's fun and everything, but I was hoping for more of a different vibe with this one. The only real difference I can see is that Kaidan isn't really the hero type. He has a tendency to stand around and be freaked out when Anna is in mortal peril instead of actually jumping in and doing something about it. And then there's Anna. Don't get me wrong, I liked Anna, but I didn't love her. She seemed weak and scared all the time and she cries almost constantly. I'm a big crier, but Anna put me to shame. I kept wanting to shake her and say "Snap out of it! You have important things to be concentrating on!" Next, there's the resolution problem. I didn't feel like this book had much of a resolution. It is going to be part of a series so obviously they can't explain everything in the first book, but after I finished it I kind of felt jipped. It felt like the entire book was just a prelude to the next one. Finally, I felt like there was a lot of finger wagging going on. I realize it's a book about angels and demons, but I just felt preached to much of the time. It seemed a little judge-y.
Basically, this book was entertaining. And it did keep me reading. Unfortunately I didn't feel like there was a great pay off. I would still recommend this book if you want something to keep you engaged for a few days and I will be reading the next one because I need to know what happens. I just hope that the rest of the series is a little meatier.