23 May 2013

Cursed (Cursed Magic Book 1) by Casey Odell Review

What they say: The night Claire Tanith’s small village is attacked, her mother sends her alone into the cursed forest, the one she’d been forbidden to enter all her life with these mysterious words: ‘They will protect you.’ On the run from her attackers, she soon finds the forest is not as abandoned as she’d once thought.

Beautiful and elegant, the elves seem to be everything the legends said they would be. But legends sometimes forget the true history of things and Claire’s eyes are soon opened to a world she never knew. One that has been kept from her for most of her life. All Claire wants to do is return home and start looking for her mother, the only family she ever had. But the elves have different plans. The mysterious mark that appeared on her arm isn’t a curse, at least not to them anyway, and before she knows it, she is whisked away on a mission she never agreed to, unless they help her in return.

Now she is stuck on an adventure with the perverted elf, Aeron, and one with an attitude, Farron. But there is more to this adventure than she’d ever hoped for.
What I say: Cursed was pretty much a mixed bag for me, because some bits were good whilst other parts were a bit hit or miss! I initially selected Cursed because I was intrigued by the idea of a series based around elves. More often than not we come across vampires, aliens, witches, magic, shifters and faeries but rarely actual elves.
The setting is a fictitious, sort-of-past (I kept thinking of 11th Century England) but with magical and mythological creatures. The book starts with an attack on human girl Claire's village and the separation from her mother. Claire is forced to flee into the forbidden forest where she ends up in the custody of elves. A strange mark (I imagined a fancy swirling tattoo) appears on her arm and bam, Claire finds herself being dragged across the country on a mysterious mission by the elves Aeron and Farron. Claire has her own agenda; to find her missing mother and any survivors from her village. On their journey they come across the handsome General.
I enjoyed Claire's spirit and willingness to learn to fight. Her dedication to finding her mother was admirable, but I also felt she could have pushed for answers more. She was also really blind when it came to telling the difference between friend or foe. A certain character obviously has it bad for her (I'm not entirely sure why) and she is completely oblivious even when several other characters all but tell her. I also found her bouts of crying really irritating and her inner dialogue annoyed me at times. That being said I suppose she has suffered a hugely traumatic event or series of events, but I kept waiting for her to grow up a bit.
The two elves had very different personalities, although their descriptions did tend to merge into one at times. Aeron was a kind of pervy best friend and Farron a stern, brooding figure. They both enjoy teasing Claire and to be honest she provides them with a lot of ammunition!
I wanted to smack the General at times and I thought he came across as kind of smarmy! I think the dynamics between Claire, Aeron and Farron were supposed to be similar to that of Meghan, Ash and Puck in Julie Kagawa's Iron Fey series, but in the Iron Fey series the character are developed much more and Meghan is a bad ass heroine.
I really like the idea behind Cursed and I hope that with the second instalment Casey manages to iron out some of the problems and develops the characters more.

3 Stars in my Sky!

My fav non-spoilery quotes:
  • "His Majesty has requested your audience," Aeron said. "You may continue to examine me later in private, if that is your wish."
  • "And if that means travelling with a pervert and an elf with attitude, then so be it."
  • "So, what's the plan?" "You tell me. You're the one asking the questions. It's my job to just stand in the back and look menacing."
  • She couldn't stop the laugh from bursting through her lips. An obese elf. That she would like to see. Especially if it was Aeron.
  • There was a growing haze fogging up her mind. Half of her wanted to scream out, to tell herself she was crazy, while the other half just wanted to pounce on him.

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