Team TBR Challenge Review: Evil Twin by Kati Wilde

Evil Twin by Kati Wilde
Released by Kati Wilde on July 31, 2021

Bane should have been king…

But he was born four minutes too late. Though it was Bane who’d led armies to victory against the scourge of the undying, now he must watch as his undeserving twin claims yet another throne through marriage to a princess of a neighboring kingdom. A kingdom that Bane had saved.

That throne should be his. So he’ll take it.

All Bane must do is deceive his twin’s innocent bride. He’ll trick her into his bed, and once he’s planted his seed, the bride—and her kingdom—will be his. With such a prize in hand, he won’t care if she ever forgives him for his deception. It hardly matters if she does, because his evil plan doesn’t include falling in love.

But his bride has a few plans of her own…

If you know anything about my reading tastes you know I love me some adult high fantasy romances. The February theme for the TBR Challenge was “fairy tale” and … close enough. While this is an entirely (as far as I know) new story not based on anything, it does take a number of fairy tale tropes – the [evil] twin, magicked land, who is deserving etc, etc. And a lot of the usual tropes are turned on their heads, as one might expect from Kati Wilde. If you’re interested in reading a sexy good time romp, you should pick up a copy.

I’m at a bit of a hard spot here because … if I mention who the heroine is it’s a bit of a spoiler. Not much of one because you find out pretty quickly … but it is a thing. I’m trying to balance not being coy and such (I’m not a fan of that in reviews) – however this wasn’t something I saw, and I think you’ll enjoy the little surprise. I really liked her – her authenticity, her imperfections, her fearlessness and fears, the fact that she’s really the actual hero that saved the lands. And yet that’s almost just brushed over. There are such sweeping things that are swept over. Evil Twin is everything you expect and not.

Bane is a wonderful hero. I think the blurb makes him seem a lot more sinister than he actually is in the book. (Even with the venom stuff.)  He’s the “evil” twin … but he’s actually the good one. It’s a theme in this book. (And maybe in the loosely connected books as well?) I liked that Bane did what he could to help his people and country. And yes, he did want his brother dead … maybe I’m looking at it through rose colored glasses but it wasn’t so much “because I want the throne because I deserve it” so much as “because he’s beyond incompetent and his lack of care will and has caused harm and he must be stopped.” While I get why his mother was killed off – so she could extract that promise – I do wish she hadn’t been fridged, not just in general, but because it would’ve been interesting to see if she’d have still thought the same of her boys or how she would’ve reacted. (And yes I get I’m being a bit too flippant/callous in my addressing the mother. She is barely a blip though.)

One thing that really stuck out to me in this book – and I think will for a long time, is the discussion the characters have about kindness vs. niceness. In a way I wish I could sit everyone in front of a wall with that conversation projected in front of them, because it’s so important yet it seems so few people understand it or see the difference. I think a lot of people will feel seen while reading it. That scene alone makes this book a re-read worthy story. Of course, there’s a lot more. The longing, the romance, the “courtship” – it’s adorable.

That being said, one thing that really annoyed me was when the heroine … I don’t even really want to use the phrase because ugh but – “loses her virginity.” It’s all “there’s a barrier and she bleeds everywhere.” Like – there’s blood on her, blood on him, blood on the sheets, it’s a fucking blood bath. And [I think I annoyed blocked it out and don’t want to look for it again] – but pretty sure there was the whole “barrier” thing again and look. Women aren’t fucking capri suns. I absolutely understand it was ~necessary to the story, for everyone to have some sort of visible evidence the heroine had never been with anyone before … but ugh.

However, that was really the only part of the book that bothered me, and that was done with in like chapter one. I liked that two such strong and willful individuals were so uncertain with each other. Also that they were so in love (or at least smitten) from go – but didn’t know how to address it or discuss it, and also that they were so prickly and protective of their soft underbellies. And their underbellies were – so soft. So adorable! Both of the main characters are kind. It also isn’t so ridiculous/love at first sight – the heroine had heard of all the hero’s exploits. She’s known of him, and much of what he’s done. For his part, he sees her. Her expressions that show who she is and hide who she is. Her intelligence and wit – how her family has crushed her.

I think it’s also important to note that like other Kati Wilde books, Evil Twin is a bit ridiculous, a bit over the top, a sexy good time romp. (Although i think there are ~only three explicit sex scenes? It’s a a rather short story …) The carriage scene is hot, but also absurd. [The clean up/aftermath. Y’all.] I liked the secondary characters as well, although they don’t factor in too much. (Again – rather short story.) But there were a number of unexpected twists that kept things fresh – and like a fairy tale.

Overall I’d say this was a really fun read that I know I’ll be revisiting. It in fact made me want to look for the other stories in this book universe that I’d skipped over in the past. If you enjoy high fantasy romances, and/or Kati Wilde’s writing (or want a lighter version of Milla Vane…) I definitely recommend Evil Twin.

Grade: C+

You can buy a copy here.*The book is also currently in Kindle Unlimited.

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