Sweet evil

I stumbled over Wendy Higgins’ Sweet evil by accident just a few weeks ago and thought it sounded very interesting. I can’t say I had extremely high hopes, but I did think it would be good. After finishing it three days after I picked it up, I’m not entirely sure what to say.

Sixteen year old Anna is in every sense a good girl. She doesn’t drink or party, she does her homework and never lies, most definitely not to her adopted mother. Her real mother died in childbirth the same night her father was taken to prison, where he remains. Anna’s family consists only of her adopted mother, Patti, and her friend from school, Jay. She is a normal girl, or some would say boring, but she has a secret. Not only is her five senses stronger than that of other humans, she can also sense how people feel just by looking at them. She thought this was just a freaky conscience but after an interaction with bad-boy Kaiden she learns that she’s anything but normal. Anna is, in fact, a Nephilim. Her father is a demon from Hell and her mother an angel from Heaven.

Anna needs to learn about the life of demons and Nephilim, and that fast. Kaiden helps her as best as he can but their relationship is far from simple. Not only is he very good-looking and a guy who most every girl falls for, he is also the son of the Duke of Lust, which means his work consists of sleeping around with as many girls as possible. A relationship between the two is thus impossible, but Anna can’t help but falling in love with him anyway. It’s only at that point when she realizes that the demons, called Dukes, have no problem killing their offspring for the smallest infraction. And any kind of Nephilim relationship would certainly be more than a small infraction.

I’ve actually never read a story about angels and demons before so it was a different ride for me. I didn’t dislike it, but for someone who isn’t religious it wasn’t quite fun reading about a protagonist who is a big believer. Overall the book touched the subject of God more than once, which isn’t really a surprise since demons and angels comes from hell and heaven and a story with that includes God. I don’t really know why it surprised me, but it did. I’ve never read a story that had any religious tendencies, or not that I can remember anyway, so I was a little overwhelmed here. There were moments when I wasn’t very comfortable.

What else put me on the fence for this one? Well, besides the religion, I didn’t like Anna. She’s sixteen, as I mentioned, and Kaiden is seventeen, so they’re young. But Anna in particular acted incredibly naïve at times. Her adopted mother does raise that issue at one point, saying that it’s her fault Anna is as naïve as she is, since Patti has had her sheltered from a lot of things her whole life. This definitely comes back to bite Anna in the ass and there are a lot of moments when I rolled my eyes at things she thought, said or did. She does live up to the goody-good girl she’s said to be and she annoyed me a lot. I tried to like her, but it was hard. She kept making decisions without thinking things through, or listening to what people who knew better said only to do the exact opposite, or just simply believe good in everyone she met, even though she was surrounded by evil. She also had a knack for deciding to not do one thing only to do the exact opposite a page or two later.

What was most annoying, however, was her relationship with Kaiden. At the back of the book I’m told that Anna is a nice and sweet girl who meet a bad boy who “you’re father warned you about. Too bad no one warned Anna.” But that’s not at all true, because her guyfriend, Jay, told her from the beginning to be careful around Kaiden since he had a reputation of being a bad boy and for Anna not to fall into the “good-girl syndrome”, which he explained was when a girl thought she could change a bad guy into being good. Anna is reminded of this throughout the novel and also realizes that she doesn’t want to be like all of Kaiden’s other girls, which she at some point feels bad for since they’re so desperate to see and be around him.

Despite that she falls for him and not only believes that he feels the same but also that she can change him into being a good guy. I wanted to facepalm myself when I hit that point. He repeatedly tells her that he’s no good for her, he neither wants nor can have a relationship and definitely not with her and that she should stay away from him. But she keeps calling and pushing for them to be together. When her friend Jay asks her to come to a party where Kaiden will be she gives a lame excuse only to cave in five minutes later and going anyway, even though she knows they have to stay away from each other. This overshadowed the whole demon-angel thing and became the sole story of the novel. Everything centered around how Anna felt toward Kaiden and what he said and did and how he looked. It was extremely annoying, especially when she acted in exactly the same way she said she wouldn’t. I know, she’s sixteen, she’s young and all that, but at times she seemed much older and the next minute like a child. She was rash, impulsive and naïve, which is not quite what I would expect from a “good girl”.

Since I was a little uncomfortable with the religion and since 95% of the novel was about Anna and Kaiden’s none-existent relationship, there wasn’t much else left to enjoy. The writing was average, a bit hasty at times. They were at one place one second and then the next at another and you had no idea how they got there. Higgins left out both conversations and moments which I would’ve liked to read, to get to know the characters better as well as the story. She probably thought they were unnecessary but I had a feeling throughout the book of always being a step behind, of always missing something. At times I had to go back and reread parts and there were moments when I even asked myself if I had accidently skipped a page or two by mistake, because it felt like I missed something. After a big showdown at the end Higgins decided to not have an important conversation between Anna and her father, nor mention repercussions for said big showdown, in the novel, but rather to focus on Anna’s relationship with Kaiden, yet again.

Many of the characters felt a little bleak and they both said things and talked in a way that I think Higgins expects teenagers to act and for me, it didn’t feel natural. I thought Anna was annoying and I thought Kaiden was, too, but mostly because it was so obvious that he was in love with her even though he tried to act all tough and like he didn’t care, while Anna struggled between believing that and thinking that they might have a chance. Other characters came and went and some bothered me more than others but none really made an impression, except two. Anna’s adoptive mother, Patti, and her father. Patti was extremely annoying (so I can see were Anna gets it from…). She was overly protective one moment and then unbelievingly trusting in the next. She was almost as naïve as Anna only to go full-on bear mama the next. I did not like her character at all, she was exhausting. Anna’s father, however, might be the only one I liked. I do think he could’ve been more worked through and I feel like a couple of more scenes with him would only have made the story better. He only appeared a few times and it wasn’t quite enough to see his and Anna’s relationship to its full extent.

The novel also had something of a love triangle and was filled with teenage drama. There were an episode of a character drugging Anna and trying to take advantage of her, which I didn’t think was handled entirely correctly by the author. It was overall an average book, not that good but also not a disaster. There’s a few sequels and I might check them out if my curiosity gets the better of me, but I know I will prioritize other novels before those. I think that if you’re younger, and if you enjoy things that gives you a certain Twilight aftertaste, then this might very well be for you. It just wasn’t for me.

the exact opposite 


What a ride. That’s what I thought when I finished the third novel in Ally Condie’s Matched trilogy. What a ride. It has taken me some time to get to this point and there were moments when I wasn’t sure if I would finish the trilogy, but I’m very glad I did. I’m so very, very glad.

After Cassia was Matched with her friend Xander on their Match Banquet but another man’s picture showed up on the microcard she was given, Ky’s picture, Cassia has been trying to figure out what went wrong and why Ky’s picture was on Xander’s microcard. At the same time her grandfather has his Final Banquet, just before his death, and by him Cassia is given a compact which holds a few poems, something illegal in the Society. Slowly Cassia changes, from the Society girl she’s supposed to be, to a young woman asking questions about the world she lives in. She falls in love with Ky rather than Xander and follow him out of Society while Xander is left behind. She sees so much, learns so much and realizes that the Society isn’t the only way of living. There’s other things out there and if she just reaches for them, she might be able to grab it.

This is what happened before Reached took place. Now Cassia and Ky is out of the Carving and back in Society, but not together. Cassia is in Central, sorting, and still Matched to Xander. Ky is working for the Rising, the rebel group standing up against the Society, and Xander works as an official in Camas. They’re far away from each other but in some aspect always together. They’re part of the Rising and when the rebels make their move and the Plague sweeps through the Society, they all need to step up their game to help save the people they love as well as the rest of society.

It’s been over a year since I read the previous two books, Matched and Crossed, so I was a bit confused when I picked this one up. It didn’t take too long to get back to the world Cassia, Ky and Xander lives in, however, and I was overwhelmed by the story in a way that I never was during the first two novels. I remember, after finishing Matched, that I wasn’t sure if I would continue reading. I didn’t really like it and didn’t see a clear reason to pick the second one up, but I did anyway. Mostly out of curiosity. And I remember thinking that the second was much better than the first. Now, when I’m done with all three, I want to say that the third is the best. It’s different, in so many aspects.

Our three main characters live in a world where the Society rules, were they’re told what to do, what to eat, who to marry. They don’t have a choice and a lot of people likes it that way, but not everyone. In an effort to change it all, the Rising appears, years and years before this story takes place, but it lasts and it always tries to change the world they live in to something better.

All three of the main characters are involved in the Rising but they all view it differently and believe in it in their own way. In an attempt to overthrow the Society, rather than using violence, the Rising leaks a Society-made plague into the cities and watches as the people gets sick. The Rising has a cure which they provide and the idea is to get all the people healthy and at the same time show them what the Society really is like. What they can and can’t do and if the people do the right thing by trusting them. But it all backfires when a mutation of the plague appears and a cure for that is nowhere in sight. So many gets sick, so many dies and the only thing that can save them is a cure. But who will find it?

Like I said, all three main characters believe in the Rising for different reasons. They’re not alike, any of them, but work good together. In the desperate search for the cure they need to trust one another like they never have before and that takes strength. I find that Condie has created three strong individual who all brings something unique and valuable to the table and, who, paints the story in their own color.

There are so many books of this kind floating around the world right now, and has for years. Dystopian novels about a girl, or sometimes boy, who is somehow chosen and needs to save her world, her family, her life, one way or the other. What most have in common is that they’re usually a trilogy, there’s a love story or in many cases, a love triangle. Violence and often war of some kind is also usually involved. So what’s setting Reached and the Matched trilogy apart? Is there something? Yes, there is, and I find it to be a significant thing.

It is a trilogy and it does have a love triangle and some kind of war does appear, but there’s very little actual violence. Most of the big hits of the past few years, like The Hunger Games, Divergent and The Maze Runner, all include violence. It’s about fighting, killing and hurting to stay alive. But here, and especially in Reached, it’s about living. It’s about working together to save as many people as possible so they can have a change to choose. I really, really liked this, but it’s so different. To see that you don’t have to hurt someone else to live. You don’t have to fight other people to keep going. You don’t have to kill to survive. You can be unselfish and do everything in your power to save everyone. And what a message that is to send out, to the readers and to the world.

This was an intricate story which I thought Condi handled very well. She left clues for the reader to pick up on in search for answers to all the questions asked since the first book. It takes a good author and a good team to pull a book like this off and I think the result was great. It’s a story greyer than that of Katniss or Tris or Thomas, but it matters just the same, if not more. It shows the reader that you always have a choice and also shows that a good book does not need violence or even deaths to a big amount of the cast for it to work out. It can raise serious questions, talk about tough subjects and be a great read regardless. I’ve always wondered why so many of the best sellers of the past years need violence. Because that will attracted boys as well as girls? I really hope not. I hope that lot of novels in the future takes a cue from Reached, and the trilogy as a whole, and sees that it can still be action packed and an amazing ride without fights as a requirement.

Maybe this is a novel that mostly will speak to girls. I think it’s sad if that’s the case and I hope everyone gives this a chance. The first may be a little childish and the second a little dull but the third will give you a new perspective on life, if you let it. I had so many interesting thoughts while reading and I’m so thankful for choosing to continue Cassia, Ky’s and Xander’s journey. I’m a little melancholy over the fact that it’s over now but I felt like I grew a lot during this novel, which is why I want to thank Ally Condie too. For showing me a side of myself that I’ve been afraid to confront. This feels like an important story for me personally and I hope other people can find themselves in the pages, just like I did.


The problem with finding a really good series is that you usually need to do some waiting between each book. I read the first novel in Josephine Angelini’s Worldwalker trilogy, Trial by fire, in January, which was about half a year after its release date. Which meant I only had to wait until September for the sequel, Firewalker. Which, now, sadly, means I have to wait a whole long year for the conclusion.

Trial by fire ends abruptly and with a huge cliffhanger. Lily and Rowan together on the pyre in the middle of a war in a universe parallel to the one Lily grew up in. As the witch she is, she’s been fueling her army in battle against her parallel universe-double, Lillian. In the midst of everything, Lily worldjumps and she takes Rowan with her. It’s here that Trial by fire ends and Firewalker begins. Lily, now back in her own universe, is badly burned and taken to her house by her sister Juliet, her mother and Rowan only to discover that she might’ve escaped Lillian and the war in the alternate Salem, but something equally pressing is waiting for her at home.

Since her disappearing three months ago the FBI has been connected to the case and it has been assumed that Lily was dead. Now she’s back but she can’t tell the truth about where she’s been and who Rowan really is. Her friends and family at home have all been effected by her sudden disappearance and her best friend, Tristan, more than anyone. When Lily goes back to school and meets two people he’s been hanging out with since she left, Una and Breakfast, and Rowan notices how they’re all drawn to her which simply is because they all have talents to become a witch’s mechanic, Lily decides to tell them the truth. They all believe her as well as agrees to join her and build up her new coven. For the truth is, just because Lily is back in her world doesn’t mean Lillian won’t come after her. She never got what she wanted from Lily and it’s widely known that Lillian always gets her way. But without anyone knowing, Lily and Lillian has been communicating and Lily slowly gets to see why Lillian made the choices she did. Lily is surprised to find out that Lillian might not be the villain she thought her to be, after all.

This is a book I’ve been longing for since I finished the first installment and I was almost afraid of reading it when I finally got it because I thought it might not live up to my high expectations. It didn’t quite, but I believe that’s based in the fact that I had no idea what would happen. Lily is back home and with Rowan at her side. It seemed like that would be enough to end the story and let them live a long and happy life. But of course not, since it’s a trilogy. I actually hadn’t given much thought to how Lily’s disappearance would affect the people around her but a lot of her friends and family members got harassed by an FBI agent in search for answers and Tristan in particular was believed to have harmed her. Lily’s sudden appearance again didn’t really help matters either, because that raised new questions like where she had been and why she hadn’t told anyone where she was the past months. It was all complicated, nicely done on the author’s part, but a little dull and boring to read, I’m not going to lie. I was afraid that the novel might suffer from second-book syndrome, but it turned out that was not the case.

Things heat up after around a third of the novel and Lily’s new coven is created. With that comes more complications and dangers and it is, in the end, unavoidable not to return to Rowan’s universe. Once there, Lily has to find out more about the reason for Lillian’s change while at the same time calm a brewing storm. And she stumble’s over an interesting discovery that might just change everything.

It might sound complicated with the parallel universes and the fact that there are, at times, two sets of characters, one in each world, but it’s actually not that strange. The ones that have a double are still set apart by some personality trait that the double lacks, some doesn’t have the same name and some doesn’t look entirely like the other, though it is a little confusing when the two Tristan meet.

There was never a character that outright bothered me but I have to say that I disliked the name of Una and Breakfast, two people Tristan (in Lily’s world) hangs out with while Lily is missing and later becomes her mechanics. Una is an unusual name but Breakfast is just downright weird. It may be a nickname but not one I liked at all. Just reading it made me annoyed and I was surprised that the characters themselves didn’t see how silly it was calling him that or just laughing at the sound of it. I would’ve been more comfortable reading had the names been different.

I found that, in terms of plot, the story was good. The first part was a little slow, however sweet, but slow. Then it heats up and they all worldjumps into Rowan’s world and once there things just seem to happen in a very fast pace, one thing after the other until it all abruptly ends, again. At time it could be a little repetitive which bored me and some choices made by the characters didn’t quite make me neither happy nor content, but rather annoyed. There were even a moment when a character I really liked did something that made me outright disgusted. Now I won’t say who or what, but the ability to make me feel that way for that reason is a compliment to Angelini.

Overall, Firewalker didn’t keep the same high standard as the first installment but it wasn’t in any way bad. I just found Trial by Fire to be richer in most departments, not least the landscape. Not that Firewalker wasn’t beautifully written, but not quite like its predecessor. The ending, however, is something I won’t get over for a while. The cliffhanger didn’t bother me but what happened just before that last page is something that scarred me and that I know I will be thinking about a lot. It might just keep me away from rereading Firewalker, if not for ever then at least for a long time. I am curious about the last installment, Traitor’s Pyre, but I really hope that there’s more to the ending in the second book then what I glimpsed before it was over. Unfortunately there’s another year-long wait for the conclusion but I suppose that’s the upside with a series. Having something to look forward to.