Sunday, 22 September 2013

Book Review - Sweet Evil

Sweet Evil
Author: Wendy Higgins
Series: The Sweet Trilogy #1
Genres: Paranormal, Urban Fantasy | Young Adult
Release Date: 1st May 2012
Publishers: Harper Teen
No. Pages: 453
Source: Gifted
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 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?

This was quite a difficult book to rate, and I think it has a lot to with the genre and just how much competition there is out there within this genre. For this reason, rating and reviewing this was difficult, hence it's taken me almost a day to do it. I'll start with the genre/theme. Yes, this is a fantasy book. Yes, it's about the offspring of angels and demons. No, this is not like The Mortal Instruments or The Infernal Devices series. At all. It's completely different, and that's why I found it more difficult to rate. I expected so much from this book, and as a series starter, I really wanted it to blow me away. I thought it'd be so much like Cassandra Clare's style, but it really wasn't. It's such a different, new take on the world and the species, and with much deliberation, it was also a great take. Wendy Higgins has taken such a well loved theme and made it her own. The concentration on the characters being much more demon orientated in comparison to many other angel/human species was a nice change, but it also reiterated the fact that all species, human or not, have light and dark in them. That was something I liked a lot.

Plot wise, I felt there wasn't much of a plot. Yes, they road-tripped. Yes, they had things to do and people to see; but maybe it was down to my high expectations, or the style of writing, but I really don't think going on a little highway drive to visit your demon father and collect a fancy hilt is much of a plot. Actually, I think it's a dry, uninviting and pretty lame structure. As you can probably guess, this was the feature that I had a problem with. Actually, it was probably my only problem with the entire book, but if a book doesn't have a clear plot to me, then we have a problem houston. I really feel this reflects my deduction of a star fairly, from a personal view.

Other than the lack of plot, the character building and the world was fantastic. I absolutely loved it. The world was relatable, from the struggles with being a young teenager in an ever changing world, to having a crush on out of your league guys, to having a demon daddy. Okay, maybe the demon dad isn't completely relatable, but even with this, the scenery wasn't too thoroughly described, yet it didn't leave you completely wondering on what to envisage. It left room for me to make my own decisions in my mind, and I like that. The other scenes, especially those that were passionate and bedroom orientated were also pretty impressive. Having written my own stormy scenes and short novels under this type of theme, I really felt that Wendy Higgins would have to impress me, and boy did she do that. The scenes were incredible, and characters in them were both spontaneous and reserved, and her style of fast paced and thrilling moments was just what those scenes needed, and I felt that this was a well welcomed extra that a lot of other fantasy books could learn from. And the character building, well, my my, how great was that. It's so rare to find characters that you love to hate, and I felt that way about most, if not all of the characters in this book. Their development through 450 pages worth was amazing. Never was a character not interesting, and never did I feel like one of them could have been unnecessarily involved. Every character had a part, and even from their first entry scenes, I knew whether I would trust them, or dislike them. For me, a book that does that is a brilliant book. Well done Wendy Higgins.

As always, I should probably mention my favourites, as I tend to with other reviews, and, as the amazingly predictable person that I am, I loved Patti. Everything about her; her concern and love for Anna throughout, her homelife skills, not to mention her own powers of authority and control over almost any other character in the scene with her. There's something about the women in books, especially the mothers and mother figures, that really amaze and please me. They may not always be full of magic, or skilled warriors, but they care for their children, for their daughters and their sons, and that makes them powerful, it makes them dangerous, and it makes them so likable that I beam with delight whenever they're mentioned. There's something about Patti, and I love that feeling I get when she's involved. Another absolute favourite is Kopano. Although he isn't mentioned until at least half way through the book, he intrigued me and left me with a wonderful feeling of perspective and opinion throughout. His character, to me, was the message that the choices you make define who you are, not what you're born as. Kopano's character chose to do work for good and takes a very keen and gentle interest in Anna's innocence. His nature and his personality made me soften up to him straight away, and I really hope I haven't misplaced my trust in his character. Quite recently, I have only liked the main characters and not loved them. For me, their characters have to continue to grow throughout the series, and I'm prepared to wait to love them, but right now, their personalities are likable, and nothing more. Other characters I'm still fifty/fifty on, and that will only be likely to change when I read the second installment.

While I've mentioned the second installment, I would also love to mention how stupidly happy I am that covers in this series have some continuity within them. Using the same models to represent the characters is something most books series should do, but they don't, and it makes visioning a character and keeping them as that original image quite difficult. I love a bit of continuity me, and it's fair to say I am very impressed with this series so far. The ending, well, I wouldn't have missed the last chapter had it not been there, but hey, I'm a sucker for gripping cliff hangers. Although it's both similar and so different to other fantasy books in the genre, Sweet Evil is just really great. It's captivating, it's intriguing and it's just got the right amount of mystery and passion to make me love it.

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