Author: Wendy Higgins
Release: May 1st 2012
Genre: Supernatural, Paranormal, YA
#1 in the Sweet trilogy
Sequels: Sweet Peril (#2), Sweet Reckoning (#3)
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?
This book is like the messed up love child of Obsidian and City of Bones.
City of Bones because in the first scene, the protagonist is 15 years old, soon turning 16, and at a party with her male best friend. She sees the love interest for the first time at this party, and even though he didn't earn her attention by killing someone, she caught sight of him because of something peculiar as well. Besides, this book was about angels and Nephilim and stuff like that, and the couple were considered siblings, thus couldn't be together. Ringing any bells? The romance part reminded me so much of Katy and Daemon because it was just as annoying and random.
Also, Teen Wolf because there is a guy called Scott McCallister. For real.
Again, let's start with the good things: I really liked the concept of this book. Dukes of the Deadly Sins, occupying human bodies and having offspring they train to promote their father's individual sins. There's a lot of backstory too that is well thought out, like the concept of conscience and some characters were nice. The structure was pretty okay as well, there were climaxes, and even though I can think of better climaxes, it didn't outright fail to be seen as a climax and there was a certain quality of suspense to each one.
What really killed this book was the protagonist, Anna Whitt. She is sixteen years old and never knew what she was before she met Kaidan Rowe. She has always known she was something special, because she has superhuman senses and can see auras, but one fateful night she learns that she is Nephilim, angelic offspring. And not just any Nephilim, no! Whereas most "Neph" are just the kids of their demonic Duke of Sins fathers and human mothers, Anna is the child of such a Duke and an angel. An angel of light that is not a demon or something. And there's more, most Dukes just discard their children and care little for them, but Anna's father actually cares for her! What a catch. How lucky and special she is. Aside from her specialness, Anna is a saint: she is a virgin, she doesn't drink, doesn't do drugs, prays and wants to wait until marriage.
But, when she first sees Kaidan Rowe, the first thing she thinks?
“Wowza. He was smokin' hot. As in H-O-T-T hott.”
Contrary to popular belief, that is an actual quote from the book, yes. Holy Anna puts on a sainty act, but constantly contradicts that character trait, lusting after two guys at the same time, having heavy makeout sessions and was even willing to throw her beliefs out the window and go all the way one night. But, it is only in those moments, and those moments alone, when she can put on the big girl panties. At all other times, she is a freaking cry baby, I can't count how many times she has cried during the novel on one hand. It was ridiculous. Even though she admits to being prone to crying, her well should be all dried up and then some by now.
Anna is completely hypocritic, selfish (When Jay was having a little success, she couldn't be happy for him), naive, childish, annoying and infuriating.
And Kaidan! He was more likeable than Anna, but not much. He is basically Edward, with a bit of Daemon mixed in. He is confident and devil-may-care like Daemon, and has this masochistic urge to deny himself any happiness like good old Eddie. He wants Anna, he falls in love with her, but because they can't be together, he puts on this facade of tough, cold guy and is a petty asshole toward her in the hopes of scaring her away, because he can't deal with her face to face and just tell her he can't, or just telling her he is not interested in her that way. He tries to several times, but fails. Other than that, he was of course the Son of Lust, who would have guessed? So he was always messing around with girls and bringing them to bed, which complicated things even more with poor Anna. With the other girls, he was what you would call a douchebag, smirking with "bedroom eyes" (What?) and flirting like there's no tomorrow, all while being out of this world hot, thus having a million girls follow him. That could either be because of that sex appeal, or maybe because he is seventeen and plays in this band that is super successful, but could only have been around for two years, so how have they become so successful in such a short time?
Kopano is the second guy in this love triangle, being the stoic, gentle guy there for Anna to run to after Kaidan is a meanie to her so she can cry on his shoulder and he can comfort her. It was absolutely painful to watch. Jay was Anna's human best friend who gets tangled up with one of her Neph besties later on (Simon and Izzy, anyone?), but he was a good character. I liked him. I also liked the Nephilim girl he has a fling with later on, Marna, she was nice and supportive and down-to-earth, while not being a hypocrite or anything. My favorite character was still Anna's father, Beliel, Duke of Substance Abuse, because the guy was just badass and awesome. His character is kind of spoilery, so I won't go there.
The plot was mildly interesting, but it was overshadowed by the sappy romance and lusting and general teenage drama. Anna couldn't do what she was told, ever, and if you weren't frustrated with her because of that, you hated her because she was chasing Kaidan. One time, when Kaidan was being shitty to her, she had this revelation that she was going to move on, she has to and would be able to. Sure. After that, she sat around for months in a dark mood and pining over him, I swear she was exactly like Bella was in New Moon. I don't know what else to do to properly point out how irritating this book was most of the time, so I'll just throw some quotes out there:
He'd been right to think I'd cry. The thought of such cruelty. I stood and went to look out of the window, trying to hide my tears from Kaidan.
I could not stop thinking about Kaidan Rowe.
Oh my goodness, I was going to see Kaidan!
In four hours I would see Kaidan again. Ginger's untouched tea sloshed over in my shaking hands.
If this makes you swoon, then go on and read this book. You will like it. However, if these quotes make you, like me, cringe, then you'd rather stay away.
The writing was disastrous and made me cringe again as well as extremely uncomfortable. The author really used words as "luv" to undermine character's "British" accents, "Gawd" and numerous other slangs. Apparently she thought she would appear as cool and gain favor with teenagers for using "their language", but it was not pleasant in any way to read this.
Well. It has the same rating as Opal, and I would view it as I did Opal: It was okay, and maybe I will read the sequel, but I am going to take my sweet time with that. Maybe Sweet Peril is going to be better, but personally, I was fooled by the 4.23 rating this novel has on goodreads and does not deserve.