By Wendy Higgins
Warning! Minor Spoilers!
CUTE writing, lots of hot innuendo-ing, fantastic world-building, and characters Kaiden, the Twins, and Blake were awesome. I only wish the plot was as much. The potential, oh the potential! The Dukes of Hell walk the earth, each the embodiment of a sin or a vice. Their children, the Nephilim, are enslaved to do their will. Let’s take Kaiden Rowe, for instance. As the son of the Duke of Lust, he’s charged with making others give in to seduction. Sound like a great idea for a story? Of course it does! There are many Dukes, each one with a different "sin” (you have your traditional Seven Deadlies and then you have some new ones that are primarily “acts” such as lying, adultery, theft, murder). How the Dukes’ children have to deal with being agents of Hell or forging their own path creates enough tension to make me squeal with delight!
Unfortunately, instead we follow sweet, demure Anna around. Anna’s likeable, but she reminds me of a Bambi that every once and a while grows fangs but for the most part plays a passive, reactionary role. Anna has seen colorful auras around people for as long as she can remember, but it isn’t until she meets the alluring rocker Kaiden Rowe who has a British accent (gasp!) that she realizes this ability is to aid her father Belial, the Duke of Substance Abuse (wuh, waaaah!), in making people give in to their drug or alcohol addictions. Fans of star-crossed romance rejoice: Wendy Higgins couldn’t have done more to make Anna Kaiden’s polar opposite. This is innocent meets experienced, naïve meets jaded, “saint” meets “devil” type fantasy love. It’s okay, though. All of the PG-rated teasing and dropped innuendos really make Sweet Evil an entertaining read—Higgins obviously knew what readers wanted, and tried to push the envelope as tastefully far as she could for a teen book.
Where I was not amused was the lack of a satisfying climax. I mean, if you can’t give me one in the romance department, then at least rev up the stakes for the big battle. Kaiden, Anna, and the other Nephilim children taking a stand, duking it out with the Dukes, shedding some blood, sweat, and tears—yeah, nowhere to be seen. The sense of danger to the main characters’ lives was not present (not counting the angst. I know you were worried, but never fear. There’s lots of angst). Sadly this is a trend that continues throughout the series. It has potentially explosive set-ups for a big kabang confrontation (Prophecy! Epic battles! Nephilim armies!), and then it just doesn’t go there. This is Twilight plotting as opposed to Harry Potter, Vampire Academy, or Percy Jackson.
Worth the read? Definitely. Sweet Evil was a very creative take on angels and demons, the romance was sexy, and I appreciate that Higgins didn’t limit her story to American borders. We have a few people of color, like Blake the son of Envy (Filipino-American) and Kopano, the son of Wrath (born and raised in Malawi), who plays a romantic part in Anna’s life. In Sweet Peril (Book II), they travel overseas where we meet another interesting character Zania, the daughter of Hatred (from Syria). Just be forewarned for some plotting frustration. If you like more action in your angel/demon books, I’d recommend Jessica Shirvington’s The Violet Eden Chapters or Courtney Allison Moulton’s Angelfire books. Sweet Evil is more like the Fallen series by Lauren Kate, but incredibly more well-developed and compact.
Btw, Sweet Evil is another fail in the “oh, I forgot, they’re teenagers so they need some sort of guardian. I’ll just make one up who takes actions most convenient for the advancement of Anna and Kaiden’s sexy kitten luuuuv” phenomenon going on in teen paranormal books.
Recommended for fans of: Becca Fitzpatrick, Cassandra Clare, Jennifer Armentrout
Upcoming Book Review: ??? I don’t know! Life has been busy and I haven’t had time to read! What Duke’s vile treachery is this? Rawr!