Thursday, 24 October 2013

Book Review: Cursed by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Title: Cursed
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Release Date: September 18th 2012
Publisher: Spencer Hill Press
Number of pages: 304 pages
Source: Paperback copy purchased by reviewer
Purchasing Info: Goodreads, Author's WebsiteAmazon, Kindle, B&NBook Depository US, Book Depository UK, Read an excerpt

Grade: 3 stars

Novellus Bonus!
Goodreads appetizer: 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.

My Thoughts: Okay, you all know how much I absolutely love Jennifer Armentrout and everything I have read of hers up until now. I adore this author and think that her work is phenomenal! So keeping that in mind, it really pains me to say that Cursed is the first book by this author that I couldn't really enjoy and fall in love with. There, I said it. And it's harder for me to admit it than one could imagine.

My problems with Cursed were various and not just a couple of them I'm afraid. Before I even reached the middle of the book I was pretty certain that it would be a lost cause but still I kept on reading it because we're talking about an Armentrout book here and hope dies last. But things never got better. At this point let me just clarify that Cursed isn't that bad of a book and still, considering how many times I rolled my eyes while reading it, I still managed to enjoy parts of it, but for better or for worse, my expectations of this author are somewhat high, so when I picked up Cursed I was expecting fireworks and instead I got a mediocre story delivered in a haste and mediocre way. So not the norm for this author. The writing style may be good, after all it is an Armentrout story and there are a few toe curling moments but that's not enough to make me fall in love with a couple's story or a book in whole. I need more.

First of all I have to say that the reason I kept rolling me eyes was the fact that Cursed reminded me a lot of Twilight. Oh yeah! Don't get me wrong, the story isn't anything like Twilight or the characters for that matter but there were parts of the story that were as if extracted from the Twilight Saga. And that was completely unnecessary. I don't know if it's just me and no one else noticed anything similar. But let me just state a couple of the similarities I noticed:

* Ember has The Touch of Death gift and can't have physical contact with anyone up until she meets Hayden who she can touch even if briefly. His gift kind of absorbs her own. Sounds familiar with a certain vampire who can hear everyone's thoughts but his beloved's one?
* Ember is afraid she has no soul. That dying jeopardised her very soul. Again, sounds familiar?
* Hayden is a stalker. Enough said.
* Hayden sneaks in Ember's room, watches her sleep and she wakes up finding him there.
* Cromwell adopts kids with special gifts in order to save them. To me it sounds pretty close with Cullen's family who turned kids into vampires in order to save them and then adopted them.
* Hayden's family of "gifted" teens are regarded in their high school much like the Cullens were.

I may have spotted a couple more familiarities but that's all I can remember right now and I think that it's enough for me to highlight my point. So yeah, all those Twilight moments made me roll my eyes. And not in a good way. But, since I have enjoyed other stories who bare a resemblance to other books, let me say here that those similarities were by no means the reason I didn't like so much Cursed. They just added to the whole picture.

Let's talk about the characters. Ember, was a pretty decent character. I liked her. I may have wanted her to act like the brave person she was supposed to be a little bit more often, but in general I liked her. Hayden on the other hand, not so much, or any other character in this novel for that matter. Well, except for Adam, Ember's best friend, who had a very brief appearance to my dismay. He, was the kind of man I would have liked Ember to end up with, Hayden on the other hand, mehhhh. Hayden was too much of a stalker for my taste. Some may think that falling in love with someone and obsessing with them is cool and romantic, me, not so much. Add to that the fact that he was overly possessive for no apparent reason and his jealousy fits made me gag and yeah, Hayden wasn't my ideal kind of man and as a result I kind of secretly hoped that Ember would open her eyes and leave the hell out of that hellhole.

The rest of the characters were a bunch of people I wanted to slap so many times I lost count. Olivia, Ember's little sister? Spoiled little brat I would gladly laugh at her face during her hysterics. The whole bunch of "gifted"? I secretly hoped that Ember would touch them in their sleep, especially Kurt and Phoebe. I mean after what Phoebe done, instead of properly reacting with a WTF reaction and see why the girl was so rotten, everyone kind of blamed the victim. Anyway, that's how bullies are born people! With somehow seeing the bully as a victim and blaming the victims for the horrendous behaviour they had to put up with. I know everyone reacted in such a way towards Ember to make us see clearer what she has to suffer in her life and not in some attempt to glorify the bully but it angered me. I have to exclude from my murdering spree Parker. I liked him. He was cool. And Liz. She was indifferent to me.

Anyway, the plot was good, the mystery well delivered although it was pretty obvious who the bad guy was but the why's and everything was hard to see up to a point. So, one could say that as a story, Cursed was pretty good. Because I liked the story and how it was delivered. But everything was ruined for me because of the characters. There were way too many characters I couldn't even remotely like. So, even if the story of a book is good, when there are no strong characters to carry you along for the ride, you can never fully enjoy it. And that is exactly what happened with Cursed.

Verdict: Cursed is the first book by Jennifer Armentrout I didn't absolutely love. She's still of course one of my favorite authors ever, it's just that this story wasn't the right one for me. I'm not worried though! I'm pretty certain that whatever I read next of hers will be just as perfect as her numerous previous releases!

Plot: 7/10
Characters: 5/10
Writing: 8/10
Ending: 7/10
Cover: 7/10

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