The Sweet Trilogy by Wendy Higgins (Sweet Trilogy #1-3)

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“Sweet Evil”–4 out of 5 stars. “Sweet Peril”–4 out of 5 stars. “Sweet Reckoning”–3 1/2 out of 5 stars.

Anna Whitt is a good girl to the core. She’s responsible, a good student, respectful, and a great friend. Addictions to substances, however, have always been a struggle for her, and resisting their dark lure has not been easy to resist all these years.

Despite the fact that dark desires aren’t uncommon among the human population, being able to see other peoples’ guardian angels and their emotional auras is definitely a little out of the scope of an average teenagers abilities, and ever since she was a little girl, Anna has known that “different” was just a small part of who she is. Anna’s adoptive mother has always been there for her, helping her when she struggled with her unique gifts, but despite her mother’s dedication, Anna has always felt that there was something more to who she was than just being special.

Years of wondering what had made her able to know and see things that others couldn’t come to an end when a very attractive and very bad drummer named Kaidan Rowe swaggers into her life, giving her the answer, as unexpected as it is, that she has been seeking for: she is a Nephilim. Anna now knows what she is, but there is so much more to who she is, and even Kaidan is stumped as to why this seemingly unsuspecting teenage girl is so different from the other Nephilim he knows. With a change in heart, Kai begins to help Anna in her search for answers to questions as old as time, and the more times he spends with her, the more Kai wonders if there is something more to life than just surviving it.

During their journey to discovering how to take down the Dukes and stop their reign of destruction on the earth, Kaidan, Anna, and their friends find that there is always hope even in the darkest hours of their lives. And with that hope, they rediscover who they are and that second chances do exist. But facing up against the Dukes in their most dangerous encounter yet, Anna and Kai’s group of reformed Nephilim wonder if they will live to see that second chance…

Last September I was low on books and school was a bit stressful, so upon the suggestion of my older sister, I borrowed her copies of Wendy Higgins’s “The Sweet Trilogy” to take a breather and walk away from the work and anxiety of college for a little bit. I had expected to enjoy Wendy’s books, but dang, they were really interesting and fun to read, and I ended up loving this trilogy and the characters in it!

Anna had a really sweet and good voice, and I enjoyed reading from her perspective. I hate it when sometimes I’m reading a book and I love the style of writing, the secondary characters, and the plot, but I don’t care for the protagonist’s voice, which ends up stopping me from loving the book. Those are the times when I beg for third person rather than first person perspectives, but I was so happy while reading the “The Sweet Trilogy,” because Anna was such a kind person with a pleasant voice that endeared her and these books to me. It was refreshing to have a female character who wasn’t overly wild or rebellious, and I appreciated that fact because it made Wendy’s books stand out from the other paranormal and contemporary novels that have flooded the YA market the past few years. I also loved seeing Anna go from a sophomore in high school to being college age, and it was great seeing her growth as an individual and determination to do what was right in the face of great obstacles. Anna was the kind person who lived by the motto “kill them with kindness,” and it was nice to have a character female who was strong, as well as kind and compassionate towards others. And in the tradition of most great stories, the bad ass heroine had an equally amazing hero to stand by her side.

I fell for Kaidan Rowe. Wendy Higgins did such a great job of writing this character, how the awful world he’d lived in had shaped him into a person who could be very, very bad, but who also had immense depth and potential to do good. Anna was the one person who came into his life and expected nothing of him, and she gave him the tool he needed to turn his life around: love. I liked him in “Sweet Evil” a lot, but it was “Sweet Peril” that made me really love both Kaidan and Anna as individuals, as well as a couple.

“Sweet Peril” was the book where I got to see how much both of them had changed and how they had become stronger because of the things they went through, and I loved their unwavering determination to keep traveling down a better path for themselves. Kaidan  made my heart hurt throughout this trilogy, because for most of it, he was prone to pushing away the people he loved due to the environment that he had been born into and the life he had lived. Whenever Kaidan had a moment of revealing his heart, Wendy did such an amazing job of writing a character who had not let anyone get close to him in a long time and was just beginning to feel again. It was surprisingly emotional to read about, and I may or may not have been drowning in my own feels during the moments when the walls that Kai had built around his heart started to crumble.

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I adored Kaidan, and I think that his journey was really beautiful.

Another thing that I loved about this trilogy was that, although its characters were amazing and interesting, they weren’t the only things that kept me reading these books. I really appreciated the fact that I enjoyed a little bit of everything that made up the “Sweet” books, including the dynamic that Wendy Higgins’s paranormal/supernatural aspects created. I found Wendy’s take on the Nephilim to be quite interesting, and I felt like she did a good job of laying it out well for her readers, which added a lot to the story this trilogy tells.

I guess at times you could say that Wendy Higgins’s books were pretty content heavy because of the issues presented in them, but I didn’t necessarily find these books overly heavy or despairing due to how well Wendy dealt with different situations. The various Dukes and their children represented the deadly, and not-so-deadly, sins that we all know exist in the world; this trilogy was brutal at times because the children of the Dukes all struggled with a specific vice more than the humans, and they had to take that predisposed sin and perfect it to use against mankind. Anna’s proverbial thorn in the flesh was substance abuse and Kaidan’s was lust, and they both struggled and fought to overcome their issues while not being murdered by the Dukes for failing to fulfill their “purpose” as Nephilim. It was interesting, as well as heartbreaking, to watch Anna and Kai’s journey, and I really appreciated that Wendy did not shy away from or attempt to sugar coat the heavy issues within her books. Wendy Higgins dealt with the issues her characters encountered and participated in really well, and she did not pass over them as if they, in some forms, were acceptable. Despite how heavy some of the content was, I never felt like Wendy Higgins’s books got gross or seedy, because at no point did she ever hail the destructive tendencies, nor she did not dwell on them more than was necessary to make me as a reader understand what was going on.

Anna’s struggle with addiction felt real the way Wendy wrote it, and her learning to overcome her addictions and fears made for a very compelling story. During these books, Anna had to pretend that she was serving her purpose as a Nephilim, influencing humans to give into their addictions in order to keep the Dukes from discovering that she had her own plans concerning the Dukes’ children. Despite participating in that kind of dark life, Anna was strong enough to be true to herself and to not give into things just because it was  easier than fighting against her own addictions. I admired Anna and thought that her evolution in this series was really great. I really enjoyed this trilogy as a whole, and I loved watching Anna and Kaidan grow individually and as a couple, but I definitely played the favorite card with two of the books in Wendy’s series.

“Sweet Evil” was a great start to Wendy’s “The Sweet Trilogy,” but my favorite of the first three books was definitely “Sweet Peril.” I loved seeing how Anna began to change and grow as a person, and it was admirable how she stepped up to the plate in order to stop the Dukes from terrorizing her Nephilim friends and her family. As much as it hurt me as a reader, I also really liked that Kai and Anna were apart for a little while between the end of “Sweet Evil” and for most of “Sweet Peril.” I liked that there was a fair amount of distance between them geographically and emotionally because it gave them the chance to grow as individuals, so that when they got back together, they were stronger than before due to what they had endured while apart. Another reason why I really loved “Sweet Peril” was that there were a lot more interactions between the secondary characters like Ginger, Marna, Anna’s mom, Jay, and a couple of other Nephilim in it, and all of them added a lot to the story.

I ended up caring a lot about the character that Wendy Higgins had written in “The Sweet Trilogy,” and their journey together in these books was heart-wrenching at times, but it also beautiful. I loved how this trilogy managed to be extremely entertaining while still being full of emotional and spiritual depth, and I thought that Wendy did a great job of showing the grittiness of the darkness that is in the world and balancing it with the power and truth that love and hope possess. I would not recommend the “The Sweet Trilogy” to people looking for a light read, but I think that if you’re up for a trying and emotional journey and you like books about angels, then Wendy’s trilogy could be a great read for you.

P.S. Keep your eyes out for a separate review of “Sweet Temptation,” which is a companion novel to the “The Sweet Trilogy” that is from Kai’s perspective. It is also my favorite of the “Sweet” books.

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