Release Date: May 1, 2012
Source: Bought via Audible
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 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? (courtesy of Goodreads.)
My friends have been raving about Sweet Evil for such a long time that I kept kicking myself for not reading it. So I finally decided to pick up the audio book and see what I'd been missing. Sweet Evil is an enticing story with both lovable and hate-able characters, a complex paranormal world, and hot romance. Unfortunately, it did not work well as an audio book. It's a tribute to the story's innate strength that I still managed to enjoy it.
If you look up "good girl" in the dictionary, you'd see a picture of Anna. She's the daughter you'd want, the friend you'd want, the student you'd want, the girlfriend you'd want. All sugar and nothing so risque as spice. This innocence begins to change when she meets Kaidan and she discovers who she really is. To Anna's credit, she has the strength of character to stay true to herself and her values even when the cloak of naivete is lifted from her.
Then there's Kaidan. I've read a lot of YA paranormal and met lots of male love interests. Kaidan is one of the better ones. He's the bad boy type so many readers crave. And not just the kind who seems dangerous but is really a softy at heart. Kaidan actually is dangerous. He does things that many would consider abhorent. He's edgy and angry. Yet it's easy to fall for him. It's clear that his inner nature is good regardless of the "work" he has to do.
I am not fond of angel books. It's a mythology that I don't find that interesting and, ironically, I often find less believable than vampire or witch books. But a well crafted paranormal world impresses me no matter what creature it features. Wendy has drawn upon traditional notions of demons and nephilim (offspring of humans and demons or angels - demons in this book) to create a layered world of demon hierarchy, professional temptors, and hellish consequences of disobedience. The book follows the standard angel framework, but inhabits a structure and character set of its own.
The romance between Kaidan and Anna starts off slow but very quickly heats up to burning hot. Wendy knows how to write a romantic scene so that even the slightest glance or touch can make the reader's stomach flip flop. For all her good girl qualms, Anna can't help herself around Kaidan. And who could blame her? I think it's the British accent.
Why did I not like the audio version? I didn't like the narrator's voice. She used a southern accent for Anna that made her sound idiotically naive. She adopted a British accent and faux deep voice for Kaidan. This made him sound disingenuous and like a player, which he isn't when he's alone with Anna. And the passionate romance scenes were uncomfortable rather than hot coming from her voice. I don't know if this is because it was the wrong narrator or if I don't like listening to paranormal romance on audio (it was my first). I do know that when I flipped through the physical book, my qualms about the characters disappeared. So I'm not judging the book on the audio version.
Sweet Evil introduces us to a world of infinite danger, sinful pleasure, but also innate goodness. Anna and Kai are two pawns in a greater world trying to survive on their own terms and hopefully together if they can beat the odds against them. I'm definitely looking forward to reading on in this series.
Rating: 4 / 5 (based on the print version not audio)
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