Cursed | Jennifer L. Armentrout | Hodder and Stoughton | Stand Alone | 5 Stars| Source: Review (Bookbridgr) | 305 pages | Young Adult | Fantasy
Release Date: September 18th, 2012
“Dying sucks–and high school senior Ember McWilliams knows firsthand. After a fatal car accident, her gifted little sister brought her back. Now anything Ember touches dies. And that, well, really blows. Ember operates on a no-touch policy with all living things–including boys. When Hayden Cromwell shows up, quoting Oscar Wilde and claiming her curse is a gift, she thinks he’s a crazed cutie. But when he tells her he can help control it, she’s more than interested. There’s just one catch: Ember has to trust Hayden’s adopted father, a man she’s sure has sinister reasons for collecting children whose abilities even weird her out. However, she’s willing to do anything to hold her sister’s hand again. And hell, she’d also like to be able to kiss Hayden. Who wouldn’t? But when Ember learns the accident that turned her into a freak may not’ve been an accident at all, she’s not sure who to trust. Someone wanted her dead, and the closer she gets to the truth, the closer she is to losing not only her heart, but her life. For real this time”
A standalone young adult fantasy tickles my fancy and leaves me sceptical in equal measure. I think striking the balance between having the right amount of character development, world building and plot in a standalone can be difficult. With young adult being saturated with series and trilogies, I was happy to find something different in Cursed.
Cursed follows the story of Ember. Her baby sister, Olivia, brought her back with her touch after a car accident and now she has a death touch. Anything she so much as grazes with her thumbs will die within seconds. This makes daily life difficult and with her flesh toned gloves in tow, makes her high school life a living hell.
This is probably one of my favourite standalone novels of all time. It provides all of the above with the perfect balance and I finished it in one sitting!
We don’t learn too much about how people with certain gifts came to be or how they are policed. All we know is there is “The Facility” and a gentleman named Cromwell makes it his duty to look after other children like this. This was enough for me considering it was more about the characters and their development rather than the fantasy.
I definitely have a soft spot for our main character. Ember is easy to empathize with, strong willed and level headed. At points in the novel she is taken out of her comfort zone and introduced to new things. Her reactions to these are so plausible! Recently I have found main characters to be quite limp and Ember definitely breaks that streak for me.
The mystery aspect of this novel is so gripping! Following Ember on her journey to finding how and why the car crash with her family happened kept me guessing and the twist at the end was so well done!
This was my first taste of JLA and it definitely won’t be my last! Half-Blood here I come!