Hello happy readers! So today I have exciting news a new book for Christina Bauer starting a new series put out by InkMonster. I’m so excited to share the news with you on this one as you may know with how much I mention it, I LOVE her other books in the Angelbound series. That being said the new book is called Cursed and is book one in the new Beholder series that deals in magic. I received an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley and Ink Monster.
There hasn’t been a book by Ink Monster that I haven’t completely loved and Cursed is no exception. We follow Elea, a girl with necromancer magic, who doesn’t see the need to use it for much but helping in chores around the farm. No formal training or anything. Then one day her best friend returns to town with the news that the new Tsar has placed a curse and she will burn and burn as a ghost tortured for all eternity in five years to the day. Elea knows the chances of her changing the curse are slim but she is determined. Embracing her powers she goes to be trained, made into a Grand Mistress able to kill the Tsar and void his curse. Five years of training and planning and then everything goes wonky when she runs into a handsome mage in Caster magic, Rowan. He has new information that makes her rethink her entire strategy and consider a partnership with this man who brings her a lot of confusing feelings.
Our MC Elea is a bit older, 18 when the curse is placed and then 5 years of training, so this story does contain a bit of adult material in way or violence and some language. Nothing extreme just a friendly notice that the characters are a bit older. Elea is a strong character who has had to fight for everything she holds dear and then when she is cursed she continues to fight, determined to fight the odds against her. She is fiery and I liked her instantly. She has magic but she isn’t controlled by it or reliant on it, just using it to help her with her normal life chores still doing work herself. Sometimes we find people with magic become lazy, let’s be honest I would, but not Elea. As she is trained they are taught to not show emotion, complete control of your emotions is a key to controlling the magic, but she’s a bit quick tempered and more in the speak/act then think part of the population; so 90% of us. Then she is pushed back out into a world in which she has to interact with vast amounts of people that is so different from her life thus far it’s a challenge. Rowan, our handsome Caster is guarded sure when he needs to be but he is also open and warm in ways that Elea isn’t used to. Their dynamic is rather fun. His type of magic is both similar and different and seeing them together was interesting for sure. Plus, he’s a sexy and powerful mage who wants to help so even someone trying to keep emotions cut off is going to notice.
There is a lot going on from planning and improvising to accomplish their goal. Nothing is ever as easy as it seems. There is always bumps along the way. I really enjoyed getting to know some of the secondary characters as well like Nan, Ada, Sophie, Laurel, Orion, Jakob, even Marlene and Viktor were very interesting. Plus we learn about the different types of magic and what they mean to Changed ones, cloisters, familiars and more. Bauer was able to create a unique little world that was easy enough to pick up and understand and want to know more about. There is action and suspense moving things along with just a touch of romance sprinkled in as we uncover the mysteries that are laid out before us.
I highly recommend this book for anyone enjoying a bit of magical adventure. I mean there are some brutal moments that hit you square in the feels but that makes it better. You connect with them and fall easily into the story. I flew through it and am already look forward to the sequel and seeing if some of my pending theories are true. Cursed is out now and I hope you will check it out because I need to discuss in spoiler-y detail with someone ASAP! Only half kidding ;) Tell me your thoughts and feels in the comments below.
Until next time…