Review: Cursed by S.J. Harper

Posted October 3, 2013 by B. in 3.5 stars, Rating B, Reviews, Urban Fantasy Tags: , , , , ,

Author: S.J. Harper 
Reviewer: B.
Rating: B+, 3.5 Stars

What I’m Talking About:

Having the best track record around for resolving missing persons cases for the FBI sounds great, but it still isn’t enough to free Federal Agent Emma Monroe from the vengeance of an angry goddess. Demeter has a bad temper and a long memory, and until she’s satisfied that the Sirens have suffered enough for the loss of her daughter, Emma must endure her fate alone. But, when her new partner turns out to be the one man she can’t keep at a distance, she may have to give up everything to save them both.

Trained to kill and duped into doing so with lies borne of corruption, Zach Armstrong is seeking an absolution of his own. Joining the FBI seems like a good way to atone for some of the hurt he’s caused, especially after the politics of life in his former pack lead him to start over on his own in San Diego. That his new partner has one of the highest success rates in the department, as well as the fact that she calls to him like no other woman ever has, makes the entire situation as close to perfect as he could have hoped for.

As S.J. Harper, Ms. Stein and Ms. Sommersby have crafted a solid Urban Fantasy novel with Cursed, giving their main characters an intriguing mystery to solve in the midst of their internal struggles. Emma and Zach seem to be in motion the entire story, even their few moments of respite and introspection positively buzzing with the need to decipher the trouble surrounding them. It takes a good, long while to get to the bottom of the mystery, stretching the suspense out for the length of the story.

Emma and Zach are extremely well paired as partners, their true natures, and the need to keep them hidden, creating sensual tension alongside the easy rapport they establish fairly quickly. They play off one another nicely and are adept at filling in the blanks the other might not see. Sexually, they can’t resist one another for long, and the attention the authors give to the chemistry between them outside of the bedroom makes their encounters more meaningful and believable for it.

As much as I’m fascinated by various mythologies, stories that involve the associated deities (usually Greek and Roman) hardly ever fail to make said gods rather loathsome on some level. That doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy the tales I’m reading, however. Quite the opposite often happens, in fact, and I’m thrilled when they finally get their comeuppance. Demeter is the goddess pulling all the strings in Cursed, and although she did suffer over the loss of her daughter to the Underworld, that suffering was limited and certainly doesn’t justify what she’s been putting Emma through for centuries. Still, it makes her fun to hate a good bit, and made me hurt for Emma as she wrestles with the concepts of love and inevitability.

Overall, Cursed is a highly enjoyable read, especially if you like some romance mixed in with the main characters’ struggles. Emma is definitely a worthy heroine, and is more than capable of holding her own against both allies and enemies alike. The authors present an interesting take on familiar mythology, finally giving these lesser-known immortals some much due attention. Although this isn’t a genre I’ve always had an easy time reading, Ms. Stein and Ms. Sommersby have created an intriguing whodunit, complete with an emotional cliffhanger that pulled me in, and I know I’ll be worrying over Emma’s fate for the duration of the series.

3.5 stars: Liked it – recommend (B+)


About the Book:

She’s cursed. He’s damned. Together, they make one hell of a team.
Emma Monroe is a Siren, cursed by the gods and bound to earth to atone for an ancient failure. She’s had many names and many lives, but only one mission: redemption. Now that she works missing persons cases for the FBI, it could be just a rescue away. Unless her new partner leads her astray.

Special Agent Zack Armstrong just transferred into the San Diego Field Office. He’s a werewolf, doing his best to beat back the demons from his dark and dangerous past. As a former Black Ops sniper, he’s taken enough lives. Now he’s doing penance by saving them.

Emma and Zack’s very first case draws them deep into the realm of the paranormal and forces them to use their own supernatural abilities. But that leaves each of them vulnerable, and there are lines partners should not cross. As secrets are revealed and more women go missing, one thing becomes clear: as they race to save the victims, Emma and Zack risk losing themselves.

Release Date: October 1, 2013
Publisher: ROC
Series: Fallen Siren #1
ISBN: # 978-0451263297 
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Format(s): Paperback (304 pgs), e-book
Book Source: NetGalley

Purchase Info:
Cursed by S.J. Harper (Fallen Siren #1)