Author: Monica Wolfson
Series: Tysseland Chronicles #1
Synopsis (according to Goodreads):
When 17-year-old Sasha orders her latte at a local cafe, she hardly expected to get robbed. Strangely, the men don't want money from the register. Instead they are interested in the necklace she is wearing that her mother gave her years ago.
Sasha can't understand why the men would want the worthless piece of stained glass that hangs around her neck from a leather cord. It's not worth anything or is it? She comes to realize not all value is measured in dollars and cents.
This is the night she meets Evan, who saves her life by distracting the robbers as the couple dodge flying bullets. It takes days for Sasha to acknowledge that her burgeoning magic abilities helped keep them safe. She's adamant in keeping the secret from Evan. She doesn't want him to know she's a freak.
Cursed is a thrilling romantic and exhilarating read. Monica Wolfson takes readers to a fantasy world they won't want to leave.
I received an e-book copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.
I include that line with all the books (electronic or physical), but it has never held as much weight as it does now. I fell in love with the cover of this book and fangirled so heavily that the author gave me a copy of the third book (not yet published) to compare it to. It too was gorgeous, by the way. So, when I first started reading I was absolutely positive that I would love the story. While in some aspects I was correct, others I was not.
The story opens with Sasha, a young college student who frequents a less populated cafe due to its homey feel and comfortable fireplace to read or study beside. One evening, while avoiding going home, she stops in and meets Evan. The same night they are held at gunpoint by a couple of masked thugs. They escape, barely, with the help of Evan's quick thinking and Sasha's budding magical abilities. After that it is a tale of evil queens, magical worlds, a growing romance, and Sasha's struggle to simply stay alive and find answers to who she is, where she comes from, and why she's being hunted.
Sounds interesting, right? To an extent, yes, it was. The story line of Sasha and the world of Tysseland was all in all well thought out and something that would spurn many a fantasy lover into intrigue. However, a lot of it was poorly executed. There were boundaries the protagonists encountered that made me wonder how they were going to figure a way out of it, but then the problem just seems to disappear with no rhyme or reason. One minute, I'm on the edge of my seat with bated breath, trying to play out the different scenerios that could save the heroine and her love interest, the next it gets fixed with no explanation as to how. It's like slowly chugging up a steep hill on a rollercoaster, excitement and thrill is almost palpable and then once you reach the top they stop the ride and tell you to get off because that's it.
Another aspect I struggled with was the romance. As an example of the rollercoaster metaphor, Evan tells Sasha he can't be with her because he's not in an place in his life where he can handle a relationship (heard that before, so... that's real), then all of a sudden he is ready. No interactions between the characters occurred to cause this sudden change of heart, no death-defying antics, and no reason for it to happen out of the blue. After that, the connect between Sasha and Evan just never resonated with me. I didn't feel emotionally involved with them so their confessions of love or romantic interludes were met with a sad sigh that I wasn't closer to them so I could almost feel what Sasha or Evan were.
Now, I don't want you to think the entire book was a flop. It was not. The fantasy aspects of the story were fantastic. The different world with its many facets? The evil, remorseless queen? The questions of Sasha's magical abilities? Those were all the things that kept me reading and kept me involved. The people of Tysseland and their stories would make for fun interludes in Sasha's story (I need to know more about Deal!)
I think that despite some of the flaws I found personally in the execution of the story, Cursed was okay.