Publisher: HarperCollins (HarperTeen)
Publication Date: May 1, 2012
Type: ARC, received as gift
What if there were teens whose lives 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 to meet her father forces Anna to face the reality that hope and love are not options for her kind. When she confronts her destiny, will Anna embrace her halo or her horns?
This book was a very quick, enjoyable read, but there were a few things that really soured my reading experience.
There were a number of things that I liked. I liked it's readability; I read the bulk of this in less than a day, constantly shunning my schoolwork in favor of reading another chapter. I wanted to read on, and I love when a book keeps me invested enough for that to happen.
I really enjoyed the whole concept of this, with the Dukes, the Legionnaires, and the Nephs. It was fascinating and unique and I loved every glimpse we got into this dark and crazy world.
I liked that family--whether it was the Nephs' parents or Patti--played a huge role in this. I know I've said as much in several previous reviews, but I really do love when family is actually relevant to a book's plot and not simply shoved aside because they might interfere with the protagonist's doings.
I liked Kaidan despite myself. I disliked the way he objectified Anna. I disliked his constant mood reversals. But the shallow part of me was attracted to him, and the not-quite-as-shallow part of me gave him a nod for effort. There's something to be said about someone fighting their rules and their nature to do what's right, or defend what they care about.
Despite this, though, there was one thing that truly bothered me, and that ruined what otherwise would've been an enjoyable read: the messages this book sends.
Slut-shaming. Scorning/looking with disdain upon/judging other girls because they have big boobs, they wear tight shirts and short skirts, they dare to flirt with the guys around them. Clearly, they must be sluts and empty-minded, terrible people. Anna has too much of a conscience to blatantly think something along those lines, but the narration constantly notes and belittles girls for their choice of clothing or behavior. Furthermore, all the girls who flirt with Kaidan are made out to be lusty airheads.
I hate the message that this sends. I hate it, I hate it, I hate it. And it's most certainly not just this book; frighteningly enough, I've seen much, much worse. But diminishing girls because they dared to wear the clothes they wanted and talk to boys? Not okay. Never okay.
And, along those lines, the idea that virginity somehow makes you a pure and beautiful soul. Anna's virginity is considered disgusting to all the evil, lusty demons; it's suggested that she be deflowered as soon as possible, because this will lead her further down the path to sin.
Um, excuse me?
I'm sorry, but someone's sexual activities does not say anything whatsoever about a person's character. You can be a fantastic person regardless of how many people you have or have not fucked, and the same thing applies to you being an asshole. Being a virgin does not make you a beautiful unicorn.
Aside from the disturbing messages, there was also a fair amount of telling, both in dialogue and in narration. Fortunately, it never became too overwhelming, and didn't seriously hinder the reading experience. I just cringed a bit whenever I saw a few solid paragraphs of dialogue.
In the end, would I recommend this? I suppose. It was an entertaining read, and will certainly appeal to fans of angel and demon lore. My personal issues with the messages this book contains hindered me from truly enjoying this, but I'll stick around for the sequel to see where it takes us.