Author: Wendy Higgins
Genre: YA, Paranormal
Release Date: May 1, 2012 (expected)
Summary: What if there were teens whose lives literally depended on being bad influences? This is life 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.
A cross-country trip forces Anna to face the reality that hope and love are not options for her kind. Forced to face her destiny, will Anna embrace her halo or her horns?
☆: 2/5 – Could have been so much better than it was.
Review: I don’t know, guys, I just wasn’t feeling this one. With so many angel/demon/nephilim books out there now, this one didn’t particularly stand out as anything new, bold, or special. While the first chapter hooked me, it just kind of went downhill from there. Which makes me sad because I really did want to like this one, and I gave it a little over 150 pages for it to be likeable. In the arena of nephilim books, I’ll definitely have to suggest “Illuminate” over this one (“Illuminate” practically does cartwheels and backflips over this one, really).
The set up was good. A baby being born, a mother dying (guardian angels can die? This is never elaborated upon, though, which is sad because I wanted more backstory), the father being arrested just after the child is born. After that though, it kind of descended into the teenage cliché of unsupervised drunken teenage parties with lots of booze flowing and hits of all sorts of drugs going around. I’d been hoping that this route would have been avoided because it’s been used so many, many times as a demonstration of good versus evil (especially in terms of choices). That didn’t particularly endear me to the story.
As for Kaidan’s character (I’ll admit that I laughed because his name in Japanese can mean either “ghost story” or “staircase” depending on the kanji used), I felt that Brodi Ashton did a far better job of using the alluring band member guy in “Everneath” by far. Kaidan didn’t feel real, he felt like a feminine idea of what a guy that seduces lots of women is like – another cliché with a demon for a father and a rather blind devotion to him. Yet at the drop of a pin (the pin in this case being Anna’s need to go out to California and find her demon father), he disobeys Dad with the excuse that he’s trying to do his job seducing her on a road trip. He seemed to be ever-shifting in his loyalties and flip-flopping on almost everything that he said or did. It was a very unstable character construction from the start. I couldn’t really feel him as a real person, even as a nephilim with magical powers, I guess, and that’s what it comes down to. Not to mention that the band element feels that it was kind of shoved in there to give him a pretense to “do his job” (as he so eloquently puts it various times throughout the pages I read).
Anna’s character construction is a bit more thorough but at the same time, still feels very two-dimensional. I couldn’t relate to her emotionally, and she didn’t feel like a real person. The use of sensory language at times was quite good (especially when Anna was learning how to use her magical angel senses), but it was just too unstable and unreliable as a whole. I appreciated her backstory, but at the same time, she still felt flat. I can’t put my finger on why, but after 150+ pages, I just couldn’t connect. It wasn’t even that she was unlikeable or dislikeable – she just didn’t feel like a real person, wasn’t rounded out enough to feel like a real person. And while she was given more of a backstory, the one between her parents wasn’t filled out like it probably should have been within the early pages of the book to ground the reader. I felt unmoored and uneasy with it, and it just wasn’t comfortable for me to keep going with.
I think that had this maybe had one or two more drafts at the very least with some more polishing on the backstory and character construction that’s so vital in the early pages of any book, this could have been so much more than it turned out to be. Instead it felt rushed, forced at times, and full of cliches. Or maybe I’m just tired out of angel/demon/nephilim stories (much like with dystopia in the current YA climate). Either way, this one just wasn’t deep enough for me to immerse myself in. Any way you look at it, it just wasn’t for me. However, “Sweet Evil” comes out on May 1st, 2012, so I encourage you to read it and make up your own mind about it.