Cursed by Christina Bauer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received an E-arc from the author in exchange for an honest review.
One thing I've learned is you should never underestimate authors like Christina Bauer.
I loved her angelbound series and I was so surprised to see she had started another series that I DIDN'T know about. Cursed was just as good and unlike other series, I liked that Bauer created a whole new world separate from her other series.
Elea is a necromancer, she never planned on getting trained until her best friend, Tristan, dies and she learns that he will burn in hellfire for eternity. Not only that, but because of his love for her, in exactly five years, she's bound to burn in hellfire as well. She leaves everything she knows to become a fully trained necromancer in hopes of killing the Tsar that put cast the curse.
After he training, with a week to spare, she sets out to kill the Tsar and meets handsome, swoony Rowan and his band of casters. They get off to a rough start but slowly learn to trust and work together in hopes of saving Elea and Rowan's people once and for all.
Bauer has a way of really pulling her readers in with her feisty female characters. Elea has a moral compass that she breaks for no one. No romance, no letting my friend burn in hellfire.
Elea is also incredibly brave, but not foolish enough fall into traps she could have avoided like we see many female YA characters do. No, Alea is smart.
I know, I said Alea has a strict "no romance" rule, but don't fear! Rowan is pretty hard for Alea to fend off. As a necromancer, touch and emotions are forbidden. However, with Rowan we see Alea learning how to be human again. She regains a little bit of her old self by leaning the comforting feeling of a warm touch. I KNOW Bauer will not disappoint and I'm dying to see the direction in which she takes Alea's character growth in her next book, Concealed.
Something I really admire about Bauer's writing is that she's not afraid to explore the dark side of humanity. She really touches on the theme of power and the lengths people will go through to attain it. We also see a world that parallels our own where instead of political power, people use magic as their vessel of control. In this world, you see people who are powerless to control their mind, body, and soul in both life and afterlife. You can only wonder where Bauer gets her dark ideas and ahppreciate that she isn't afraid to share them. I for one, love dark themes since they get you thinking.
I have but one constructive critique that I must go over now. Cursed really struggled from repetitive phrase usage . Christina is a brilliant author with a lot of great stories, and a lot of that is taken away when she rehashes things we already know. I lost track of the number of times she reminded us that Elea was going to burn in hellfire. We get it, you've repeated it a million times. The same happens with her point that she's not supposed to enjoy touching. If this is something you feel the need to emphasize, use different language, say it in a different way, I don't want to read the same phrase over and over.
With that said, I absolutely CANNOT wait for her next book, coming out on October 25, 2016!!! You bet my hands are going to be on it exams or no exams. I'm hooked!
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