My favorite part of romance novels is the tension and build-up, and Jennifer L. Armentrout writes it like no one else. In my opinion, she is the queen of romantic paranormal YA fiction. In a few short months, I have devoured every one of her books, starting with Obsidian and the Covenant series -- and now with Cursed, she has hooked me again. She just loves to frustrate us readers by erecting barriers - whether society rules and taboos, or in this case, physical issues - which keep young lovers apart. But, that frustration only fuels the fire of romance and keeps us reading to find out how it will all work out (and we know it has to, because YA/paranormal or not, they are all still romance novels at heart!).
Cursed brings us into the world of Ember McWilliams, a high school senior who was killed in a car accident two years ago, and then miraculously brought back to life by the special touch of her younger sister, Olivia. But, that event apparently awakened her own "gift" -- killing anything living she touches. What she thinks of as a curse, has made her an outsider with very few friends and an obvious lack of a love life. Enter Hayden Cromwell. A mysterious boy with a "gift" of his own who promises refuge and help controlling her gift. He gives her hope that maybe she doesn't have to be quite so alone in this world...but only if she can trust him. Which means trusting his family, who may or may not have had a role in the accident that caused her father's death and brought upon her curse.
The beginning of Cursed starts out a bit slow, even though there are some fairly interesting events that occur right away, I found it a bit difficult to get into because Ember's world just seemed so bleak, and it just kept getting bleaker. Ember herself describes it accurately as "desolation". There didn't seem to be a bright spot or silver lining to be found in the first 100 pages or so, and that desolation was palpable, even a bit hard to read. But, as Ember and Hayden get closer, and more is revealed about the true nature as to why they are all where they are and how they got to be there, some of that darkness starts to lighten. I flew through the last 100 pages felt a little sad it had to end just as things were really getting good. Not sure if this is one in a series as a lot of her other YA books are, but I, for one, would love to read more. For fans of Obsidian and Half-Blood, Cursed is a must read -- you will not be disappointed! 4.5/5 stars