Embrace the Forbidden...
What if there were teens whose lives literally depended on being bad influences? This is the reality for sons and daughters of fallen angels.
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 Anna, the ultimate good girl, has always had the advantage of her angel side to balance the darkness within. It isn’t until she turns sixteen and meets the alluring Kaidan Rowe that she discovers her terrifying heritage and her willpower 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'll start off by admitting that I am not the biggest fan of YA angel books. I just have a hard time getting into these stories despite the fact that I adore angels in adult fiction...don't ask me! But, I decided to try Wendy Higgins's debut, Sweet Evil, because I found the premise very interesting and worthy of giving a try. And let me say, I am so glad that I took a chance with this book. I found it to be a highly entertaining and poignant look at the eternal battle of good and evil with well-written characters, easy to follow plot, and lot of twists on the whole angel-demon aspect.
The main focus of this book is the Nephilium who are the children of unions between humans and Lucifer's head demons known as the Dukes. The Dukes are fallen angels who are assigned certain sins to tempt and corrupt mankind. The Neph are trained by their fathers to assist in these missions. The main character of the book is Anna, daughter of the Duke of Substance Abuse and a guardian angel, who was raised by a human without any knowledge of her bloodline.
I really liked Anna as a heroine. She had a different personality than I have seen in other YA paranormals with her sweet and slightly naive nature that never seemed whiny or clingy. Anna is definitely not a pushover and is pretty strong-willed which she discovers for herself over the course of the book. She is a truly nice person whose parentage offers up a unique contrast. I really liked seeing how she matures and becomes more knowledgeable about the Neph world without compromising her true values.
Anna's love interest is Kaidan Rowe, son of the Duke of Lust. In a contrast to Anna, Kai was raised by his father and is no stranger to darker aspects of Neph life. He gives off the typical tortured bad boy vibe, but, in his case, it is actually on point with his upbringing. Most Dukes use their children for their own purposes with little to no encouragement or love and this is obvious in Kai's character. But, as is the case with most characters, there is a lot more to Kai than meets the eye. He truly seems to care about Anna and struggles with the effects that this feeling has on his lifestyle.
Secondary characters are a major part of Sweet Evil from Anna and Kai's fellow Nephs to the Dukes to the humans that Anna interacts with on a daily basis. In terms of the Nephs, I really liked how Higgins used them to showcase different ways of reacting to their unconventional lives. Some of them react with anger and hostility while others try to turn away completely from their missions. Anna really learns alot from these characters and their experiences.
I also enjoyed meeting Anna's father especially because his unique backstory provides a parallel for the other demons and the way they interact with their children. Anna's adopted mother, Patti, and her human friends, Jay and Veronica, keep her in tune with the human world and show her why she doesn't want to always be a pawn for the demons.
I will admit that the plot of Sweet Evil starts off rather slowly, but quickly picks up after Anna and Kai talk for the first time. There is alot of story packed into these 400 pages, but it never felt haphazard or out of control. Higgins has a definite purpose in almost every scene which culminates in quite the climax.
In conclusion, this is definitely not your typical YA book because, despite the characters' ages, they are almost all well beyond their years in maturity. The author does not skimp on the darker details of being a child of a demon and really shows how much they struggle to retain their own identities. I highly recommend this book for fans of adrenaline-pumping and thought-provoking stories with a hint of forbidden romance plenty of drama.
1. Sweet Evil
2. Sweet Hope (To Be Released)
3. Untitled (To Be Released)
BOOK CHALLENGE ENTRY