*I've decided to try something new on my reviews. At the bottom of my review, I added a quote from the book.
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?
Rating: 4.5 stars
Date read: June 11 to 12, 2013
Format: Kindle ebook
Where I got it: I bought it when it was on sale
First, I would like to talk about the moral, or theme, of this book (as I see it is).
The biggest message I got while reading this book had to do with good vs. evil. It was about the expectations of which how to act. Nephilim are meant to be inherently evil—after all, they are half demon, and therefore, aren't supposed to be capable of innocence. However, there's Anna, the girl whip was part angel and part demon. She had evil impulses and desires associated with her particular sin—substance abuse—yet she was an innocent girl that would've rather quashed them than to succumb to them (though she did fail at times when she was expected to "work" and spread sin). Since she was supposed to be evil due to her heritage, she was expected to live like she was. The other Nephilim were also victims of the harsh expectations and demands of working for their demon fathers. They had no room, and no choice, to try to live a life that wasn't destined for them—a life that could be their own. They were stuck spreading evil simply because they were born for that purpose.
The same kind of idea also relates to society as a whole. A lot of times, there was an expectation that more bad things will happen than good things. A lot of times, it involves a societal pressure or a bandwagon approach. Anna went to a few parties where there was a certain expectation that she would be drinking because everybody was. I was really proud of her when she decided not to drink at the first party (though she did end up being drugged), especially since her reason wasn't "I'm the DD tonight." There seems to be an expectation that going to a party equals drinking alcohol, and I was glad to see Anna representing the type of person that could go to a party and choose to drink non-alcoholic drinks because she didn't want to.
That's all I'll say on that message of the book, so I'll move on to characters.
The heroine, Anna, was someone that can be looked up to. Though she did struggle with her impulses, she had good morals. She knew the difference between good and bad, and when she crossed the line, she knew that it went against what she believed in. (However, I didn't like her dependence on Kaidan to make her happy. I wish she would've been more resilient in that area.)
I was also very happy with Kaidan, the "hero." I have a special weakness for flawed heroes, and he fit in very nicely in that category. He wasn't a happy guy—he was dealt a fate of spreading evil simply because he was the son of the Duke of lust. He may have had an enjoyable job, but it was obvious he wasn't happy. He had never experienced genuine love of any kind, and because of that, his life was empty, even though his bank account was anything but. Also, because he was expected to be evil, he wasn't supposed to fall in love. He and Anna had to constantly push each other away because being together would never fit into the Nephilim life. Love wasn't something that a son or daughter of a demon was allowed to experience.
Now, time for the story building. It really worked well for me. I loved how this Nephilim world was set up. It had some definite common themes that fit in with angel/demon books (instead of being "historically" correct, I guess those commonalities between different angel based books are "Biblically" correct due to the subject at hand). I liked the spin that Wendy Higgins had on the Nephilim world. It was nicely set up, and I loved how there was a system to the spreading of evil. The sins even were relevant to society today, and had different focuses according to how society was at the moment. It was also nice to see twelve sins instead of the standard seven.
Though I really did love reading the book, I do have one complaint: sometimes, I felt a little lost. There were moments where I wasn't sure about what was going on. Maybe they weren't described enough for me to fully grasp what was happening. This often occurred when the Nephilim were working. I knew what they were supposed to be doing, but there were several times where I forgot there purpose because it didn't seem that they weren't actually accomplishing anything. Other than that, though, most of the book worked for me.
Overall, this book fits in nicely with the seemingly classic type of story: the angel/demon, heaven/hell, good/evil one. I loved how I could actually get something meaningful out of it. I loved how the story didn't stay in one location, and I loved how I never got bored. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this novel, and I recommend it to anyone who loves a good YA paranormal book. Hopefully, the sequel will be as good, or even better, than Sweet Evil.