A Nix Review – Cursed by S.J Harper (3.5 Stars)

Posted November 2, 2013 by Nix in review, Urban Fantasy / 0 Comments


3.5 Stars

Meet FBI Agents Emma Monroe and Zack Armstrong.

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

FTC : I was invited to read this book for a fair and honest review. I have no relationship with the author

Honestly, this was like two different books for me. The first half didn’t draw me in but the second half left me a little bit eager to read more; it was very disconcerting. I was a second away from marking it a as DNF when it started to get better. I am so glad that I continued.

Emma was both the hook and the turn-off for me. A Siren, she has to mask her beauty around mere mortals in-case they fall in love with her. She is also atoning for a crime she hasn’t committed and so can’t fall in love for fear her beloved will end up dead. The set-up was actually the big draw for me. Yes, the constant “I am perfect, woe is me” harping from the heroine was slightly annoying but this merge of Greek mythology and contemporary UF was quite exciting and it was the thing that kept me going. I am not incredibly sure how much a siren heroine works for me. She is gorgeous, it would be a struggle to know who loves her for her and who loves her for her Siren powers and it would be a struggle to constantly “shield” your true self; Every-time any of these issues was mentioned it did make me roll my eyes as they seemed like very superficial problems. The bit that felt like more of an issue was the threat to her loved ones from the bitch Goddess. I could believe she wanted to protect Zack from that but, on the other hand, it did make me wonder how much she truly liked him as she did sleep with him…more than once. She was just a complete muddle of contradicting emotions and actions and I found her incredibly hard to deal with.

Honestly, the issues I have with Zack are completely fricking stupid and I actually want to hit myself as I type. I wanted Zack to be the big bad Alpha and, whilst he was a bit Alpha-ish, he wasn’t as Alpha as I would have liked as his character seemed to be dwarfed by hers. This is probably because the book is written mainly from her POV (I know… this is a personal opinion and no author should have to cater to my whims. *slap*) I also wanted him to be a bit more moony over her. Instead he was the consummate professional, being her partner when he needed to be and being moony when they had time away from the horrific case they were working. Yes, I actually resented that the character could separate his professional and personal life. Yes, I am aware that this is a ridiculous comment to make on a book review but I really cannot help how I feel about it. I think the issue is my perceptions of this book, and of Zack, were very much different to the ones that I got. This is no one’s issue but my own.

The book heated up around the half way mark and the suspense plot was very well fleshed out. It kept me reading and, when some new characters were introduced, I suddenly found the book taking an unexpected turn. There are a few characters that we meet that I NEED to see some more from … one of them alone will keep me reading this series. These new characters shed Emma in a different light and, as the Siren issues became less of an issue, I actually started to see her as a heroine that I could read more about.  I could see her developing into the kind of kick-ass heroine that I adore and I got a little bit excited; I do hope that this series progresses as the last half of the book promised. I’m going to refrain from mentioning what happened at the end… that end will leave some of you with jaws on the floor.

Overall, this is a book that actually made me a little bit excited. Yes, the beginning was a little slow but the second half left me wondering if I’d found a new UF series that I could adore.  A good mix of traditional mythology and contemporary UF wrapped up in one well fleshed out book. I recommend. 


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