Sweet Damage by Rebecca James

13131625Published: 4th March 2014, Faber & Faber

Pages: 400 pages, ebook

Standalone/Series: Standalone

Summary (from Goodreads): ‘I still dream about Anna London’s house. In my dreams it’s as if the house itself has sinister intentions. But in real life it wasn’t the house that was responsible for what happened. It was the people who did the damage …’ 

When Tim Ellison finds a cheap room to rent in the perfect location in Sydney it looks like a huge stroke of luck. In fact the room comes with a condition, and the owner of the house, the mysterious Anna London, is unfriendly and withdrawn. When strange and terrifying things start happening in the house at night, Tim wonders if taking the room is a mistake. But then his feelings for Anna start to change, and when her past comes back with a vengeance, Tim is caught right in the middle of it.

My review: I absolutely adored James’ first book, Beautiful Malice, so I was really excited to read Sweet Damage and see if it stood up to it’s predecessor. When I read Beautiful Malice I fell in love with James’ ability to deliver the most shocking twists and turns and you all know I love a good dark contemporary with a crazy twist (hellooooo Choker!) so I hoped Sweet Damage would be just as shocking.

Unfortunately…it wasn’t. Don’t get me wrong, I did really enjoy Sweet Damage, and I think if this was the first exposure I’d had to Rebecca James I would have enjoyed it even more, but it didn’t stand up to Beautiful Malice, so I felt a little disappointed. It’s probably my own fault, because they are two separate books, but James set the bar so high with her first release that I expected her second to be just as shocking.

I kept waiting for the twist that would blow my mind, and kept coming up with theories about what I thought was going on, but when we found out the truth behind Anna and her situation it just…fell a little flat. I’d come up with so many crazy theories in my head that the real story felt like a bit of a non-event. Like I said, it was probably my fault for expecting it to be as mind-blowing as Beautiful Malice, but Sweet Damage never really got off the ground.

It’s well-written, the story’s intriguing and the characters are engaging, but there’s never that explosive, jaw-dropping moment. It feels as though the tension is the same from beginning to end and I felt a bit ‘is that it?’ when I finished reading.

I really wish I could be more positive about Sweet Damage, as I’m a big fan of Rebecca James. I think she’s a brilliant talent and I’ll always want to read her books, I just wish I enjoyed Sweet Damage more than I did.

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