Review: The Cursed by Alyssa Day

Posted May 14, 2013 by Jen in 4.5 stars, Paranormal Romance, Rating A, Reviews Tags: , , ,

The Cursed
Author: Alyssa Day 
Release Date: May 7, 2013
Publisher: Berkley
League of the Black Swan #1
ISBN: #978-0425255773
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Format(s): Paperback (305 pgs), e-book
Book Source: Publisher

About the book:

Bordertown private investigator Luke Oliver’s beat is the dimensional fold in Manhattan between the human and supernatural realms. But now a secret from his past—the League of the Black Swan—has surfaced. Because Luke isn’t any ordinary P.I. He’s the Dark Wizard of Bordertown, and he never backs down from a fight.

But this time the fight threatens his life and his heart. Rio Jones, the only woman he loved, needs his help against a deadly menace. Luke pushed her away once before, so she’d never fall prey to the curse that threatens to destroy him. He swore he’d never let her go again.

Luke and Rio, with the help of the newly reformed League, must keep evil forces from taking over Bordertown—all the while battling a passion on the razor’s edge between danger and desire. And going to take everything they have just to stay alive.

What Im talking about:

Rio is a human living among the paranormal in Bordertown, a place out of sync with the “real” world. When Rio accidentally witnesses the kidnapping of a little girl by a shady underworld figure, she turns to Luke Oliver for help. Known as the Dark Wizard of Bordertown, Luke is the only one who can protect Rio. However, as her twenty-fifth birthday approaches, Rio becomes the target of interest by multiple paranormal factions, including both Fae and Demon royalty. It takes all of Luke’s control to not blow-up all of Bordertown while trying to protect Rio.

I absolutely enjoyed The Cursed! The opening two chapters drew me in completely as they painted an intriguing story filled with interesting new characters and concepts. Right away the reader is left wondering – what is the League of the Swan? What is Luke’s curse and why does the League seem interested? The journey of finding out the answers to these questions is exciting, action-packed and just plain fun!

As a couple, Rio and Luke are fabulous! Each had noticed the other for quite some time, but Rio backed off after Luke turned down her offer for coffee. Unknown to Rio, Luke wanted to say yes, but due to his curse, he felt the need to stay far way from (while secretly stalking) her. Once Rio turns to Luke for help, it doesn’t take long for the sparks to ignite. It cracked me up that within mere minutes of Rio and Luke meeting up, Luke was confessing how he wants her desperately (well, why and how he stayed away). He’s got it bad for her and it made their interactions very entertaining (and super sexy!).

Both Rio and Luke have their secrets. Luke has his mysterious curse, the truth of which he eventually shares with Rio. But for the reader, the reveal was drawn out over several chapters, which made his condition extremely intriguing. For example, the reader learns that Luke has built walls around his heart and soul to avoid activating the curse. This captivated me, driving me to learn more.

Then there is Rio, an abandoned orphan, who knows nothing about her parents or where she came from. Yet that never mattered to Rio and, she was content working in Bordertown, making good friends and not bringing any attention to herself. However a few days before her twenty-fifth birthday, suddenly she’s gained the notice of several different paranormal factions each of which hint she’s more than a mere human. First there is Merelith, Fae royalty, who recognizes Rio upon first glance and hints she knows more. And there is Chance Roberts, a powerful and wealthy man of unknown origins. Finally, the League of the Black Swan, lead by the mysterious Maestro, have a vested interest in the choices Rio makes. Each of these characters and the groups they represent, add great value to the overall story. Their combined pieces create the whole for Rio, which is revealed to be a fabulous family secret.

Ms. Day divulges her mythology and the nuances of Bordertown via finely-tuned and streamlined world-building. She presents everything the reader needs to know to understand her new world, yet there is never an overload of information. The details create a rich, exciting place that begs to be explored. Her universe is a blend of traditional and new fantasy elements that make for a superb read.

As Rio and Luke come together, the heat factor rises tremendously. I loved the easy banter between the couple. They are serious and sexy, fun and witty. And I adore how crazy Luke is for Rio. The way he has to process and deal with his emotions makes for enjoyable entertainment. I laughed many times. For example, in Luke’s own words:

“I don’t know how to have all these feelings. I know how to blow stuff up. You were hurting, and I wanted to help, but I didn’t know how, so I blew something up.”

Although the story is on the lighter side of the spectrum, there isn’t a shortage of depth. Both Rio and Luke experience positive character growth as they learn more about themselves and how to love one another. In addition, their passion is sizzling. At times the pair are needy and hungry and at others sensual and loving. Rio and Luke are two lost souls, and when they find one another, they make a whole.

In the end, The Cursed is extremely entertaining and the start to what promises to be an excellent new series from Ms. Day. The banter and character interactions are superb. The overall story is light and fun, but at times touching and poignant. The mythology of Bordertown and its denizens is thrilling and unique. Luke and Rio are a fun, sexy duo who have many adventures ahead. There is still so much to learn and explore in Bordertown, and I for one am very excited about this new series.

My Rating:
Loved it – enthusiastically recommend (A)

Purchase Info: