Release Date: Feb. 28, 2012
Publisher: Kensington Pub.
A F***ed Up Fairy Tale Book 1
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Format(s): Paperback (320 pgs), e-book
Book Source: Publisher
When Cinderella is run over by a New Never City bus, her not-so-ugly stepsister, Asia, suspects murder. So she hires RJ, a private eye, to investigate. Little does she know RJ is actually a villain on mental health leave from the Villain’s Union. Cursed with an inability to say no to damsels in distress, RJ travels to the Kingdom of Maledetto, meets the rest of Cinderella’s family—including her fiancé, the flamboyant Prince Charming, Cinderella’s crazy stepmother, and a seriously twisted version of Hansel and Gretel—and dodges bullets, explosions, fires, and his own ex-wife to slip his own version of glass handcuffs on the wrists that fit. All while falling for Asia, who has a curse of her own to deal with….
This story should be all the good, irreverent, kooky fun I love to read in a story, and to a point, it is. Curses! is filled with familiar fairytale subjects twisted in some very wrong, but funny, ways. Kazimer doesn’t spare a single one, from Glenda the Good Witch to Humpty Dumpty. Virtually every familiar character I could think of either get hit by buses, turn tricks, are generally very naughty, get scrambled (literally), and so on. Even sweet, little bluebirds are transformed into menacing, murderous harbingers of doom. It’s unapologetically over-the-top, and given the thorough skewering these tales are receiving, that’s as it should be.
There were a few issues that caused the story to lose some of its shine for me, however. The use of certain gags, specifically of the “oh-so-gross-but-funny” variety, are okay once or twice, but not so much after many repetitions. Likewise, RJ’s reactions to an overly stereotypical gay character wore thin after a while. There are also a couple of scenes that were fairly crass, even knowing that it’s all “just a joke.” Nevertheless, that the author is poking fun at the main character, who seems to think he’s quite a noble fellow, to be as accepting and tolerant as he is, is obvious, and works for much of the novel.
There are some hilarious moments as well (Asia’s parents’ attempts on one another’s lives cracked me up) that make Curses! work. RJ himself plays well much of the time as the hero that doesn’t want to be but is, and the random appearance of each incidental character kept me wondering which tale would be upended next.
Curses! is a fearless, warped bit of entertainment that gleefully tosses the customary reverence held for traditional fairy tales out the window. Despite a few instances of overuse and excess, it’s a fun story that doesn’t begin to take itself seriously. The audience isn’t supposed to either, the only expectation being to let the absurdity unfold and laugh along. Regardless of my misgivings over a few moments in the story, Kazimer has an amazing imagination, and I would very much like to see what might happen in her version of the fairytale world next.
Liked it, but I had some issues – recommend (B)