Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Publisher: Spencer Hill Press
Released: Sept 18, 2012
Buy: The Book Depository
In Cursed, the whole touch-of-death issue is one a few of us may have come across before. Ember McWilliams, our protagonist, has the ability to kill all living things with a single touch. Although this idea is not particularly new in young adult fiction, Jennifer L. Armentrout puts her own twist on it to deliver a fairly entertaining supernatural tale.
After having been brought back to life following the fatal car accident responsible for her father’s death, Ember is left to deal with her unresponsive shell of a mother and to care for her younger sister, Olivia. She is an admirable character, albeit a little forgettable, especially as it is instantly apparent her sister’s needs and happiness are always put before her own. Once the story gets going, Ember has a hard time believing that her ability is anything more than just a curse – a repercussion of having been brought back from the dead. This was understandable, of course. The thought of having to wear gloves at all times and needing to avoid physical contact with others is a pretty depressing one. I appreciated her way of thinking but do have to admit that she was really quite dull at times as a consequence. She is not unlikable, but I wish there had been something more to grasp hold of when it came to her character, as I’m sure then I may appreciated her further.
Olivia, like Ember, has her own ability. She has the power to bring people and animals back from the dead with a touch. She is the reason Ember is still walking and talking, and perhaps even the reason for Ember’s unexplained new capability. I actually really liked her, which surprised me as she’s somewhat bratty, but then again, she is only five years old. She has a bubbly personality which brought a smile to my face and I wouldn’t mind reading about her again.
Now this wouldn’t be a Jennifer L. Armentrout book if there wasn’t a steamy romance present. The love interest, Hayden Cromwell, may not be quite to the standard of Armentrout’s Daemon or Aiden, but he was still pretty likable. Seeing as though touching is off-limits where Ember is concerned, the romance in this book was slow-moving but very sweet. It was interesting to see how the author managed to get around the issue, although somewhat torturous in the process. It takes a while for the swoon-factor to drop in, but it’s worth the wait. Their interactions with each other were not of the irritating kind and Ember never lets her feelings for Hayden overcloud her judgement, which I appreciated a lot.
Unfortunately, I was left a little disappointed by the plot. Even though I was not expecting anything of great complexity, I did find it incredibly easy to identify the ‘bad guy’. There was a slight element of mystery surrounding the car crash, but nothing exactly enthralling or mind-blowing. In fact, I feel that way about the book as a whole; it is not a particularly staggering read and it failed to blow me away. However, I did still mostly enjoy it (quite a bit, at times) and was adequately invested in the characters. Cursed is currently a standalone novel with the potential for a series. If Jennifer L. Armentrout does decide to add a sequel or two, I do think I am curious enough to want to pick those up, provided that they are better polished than this book.
Rating: 3 stars