Sweet Evil was a hard review for me to form, as well as a difficult one to decide on my rating for. Because whilst I ended up enjoying the book a lot, and I’m left definitely wanting to read on, there were a couple of things that stopped me from loving it with abandon. So, let me try and figure out how I feel.
The first half of the book was pretty slow. Especially during the journey Kai and Anna took to go and visit Anna’s father and the sister. Yes, I understand the journey was lengthy in order for the relationship development to build, as well as Kai’s character development that allows us a glimpse at a different side to him, and it was also the perfect opportunity for all the background history lessons to be woven in, but it dragged that section of the book a little.
As for those background history lessons I mentioned? Now, I’m not going to slam on them, because whilst they were a LOT to absorb, and they slowed the pace of the story down immensely, they were pretty imperative for the reader to fully understand and appreciate everything Anna and Kai and why certain events would/could or wouldn’t/couldn’t happen. So, they weren’t my favourite part of the book, but I appreciate what they bring to the table.
As for the plot, I enjoyed it a lot. I enjoyed where it all went. The twists and turns. The boldness of the author in the fearless decisions she’s made on her characters’ behalves. The descriptions that brought said plot to life and allowed me into this world she’s created. And yes, there is world building in here. Because, this story may be set here on our earth, but it also contain beings beyond our scope of understanding, outside of our mental grasp, or at least we probably don’t believe exist if we haven’t seen them with our own eyes. And that aspect of the story was great. In fact, the story as a whole was pretty great, especially as we hit that last quarter and everything began to get not just more interesting but more exciting, too, and I raced with renewed vigour toward the finish line.
Even Anna as MC was awesome. Her development upon finding out her role in it all. Even her acceptance of her heritage seemed authentic. And from unsure to bold, driven by her selfless desires for goodness, she made a great front-liner for this book.
On top of her, we have all the side characters (yeah, I’m skirting—I’ll get to Kai in a moment). From her friend, Jay, to the other Nephilim, to her father (who brought great and unexpected colour to the story once he arrived), her ‘mom’, and all those in between, the cast of characters in this novel were full-bodied and as alive as the MC.
And finally we have Kai. Now, here is where my biggest issue lies. Because I loved Kai’s character, don’t get me wrong, but I couldn’t—just couldn’t—fall in love with him. And with the position he plays in this book, I believe I needed to. I think a lot of it has to do with the reference to him up above, that whole ‘glimpse of another side to him’ we got. Because I saw those glimpses and I wanted—no, expected—better of him. Yes, I understand he might have been protecting Anna with his attitude (though, at times, it seemed like he was protecting himself more). And yes, I understand his indifferent behaviour was some kind of defence mechanism. However, throughout all of this, he played hot and cold and gave all kinds of contrasting signals that left poor Anna well and truly confused. As a reader who loves getting deeply inside the MCs head, this also left me well and truly confused. Also, seeing all those ‘decent’ glimpse of who he’s capable of being made me crave for some kind of redemption for him. Whilst some may argue it came when he stood during the meeting at the end (being vague for spoiler reasons), I would argue that each and every time he performed his duty pretty much negated that redemption for me—and even more so when that duty was carried out WHILST Anna was present, no matter that he sought her out afterward. I think the crux of it was: he just didn’t try hard enough, for my liking, which made me think he didn’t think it worth it, and so that knocked him down a few pegs in my estimation.
However, that excitement that dragged me toward the ending I mentioned does mean I have every intention of reading on, and I hope, hope, HOPE I will see the redemption I need from Kai to make me love him as I travel through the series. So, for that reason, because Kai didn’t leave me feeling breathless, but only frustrated, my rating ended up being affected quite a bit.