Published by Amulet Books on December 31, 2018
Genres: magical realism, Young Adult
Picking up the pieces after the chilling events of the previous year isn’t easy, but the Graces are determined to do it. Wolf is back after a mysterious disappearance, and everyone’s eager to return to normal. Except for Summer, the youngest Grace. Summer has a knack for discovering the truth—and something is troubling her. After a trail of clues leads her to what could be the key to both her family’s mysterious past and the secret of Wolf, she’s determined to vanquish yet another curse. But exposing secrets is a dangerous game, and it’s not one Summer can win alone.
At Summer’s behest, the coven comes back together, reluctantly drawing their erstwhile friend River back into the fold. But Wolf’s behavior becomes unpredictable even as Fenrin’s strength fades, and Summer must ask herself whether the friend she so loves is also planning her family’s ultimate, cursed demise.
This riveting sequel to The Graces is saturated with magic, the destructive cost of power, the complications of family, and the nature of forgiveness.
I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Be forewarned, there is swearing involved in this review, because, um…
What TF just happened.
I really wanted to review The Curses without giving spoilers for the first one, The Graces (please excuse the formatting on that ANCIENT review), but it’s so damn difficult because you absolutely cannot be reading this one without reading the first. Please don’t even try. So yes, there are some spoilery comments for the first book contained in this review.
You should be tolerant of every kind of behavior…except ignorance and stupidity. No one should ever tolerate behavior that ruin the world.
This book is so much better than the first. SO MUCH. Like so much I want to hug it. Once I started it, I finished in less than a day. I could barely put it down, I wanted so much to know what the heck was going on! Considering my “meh” feelings over the first book, I am just ecstatic that this one pulled the story out off the runaway train track. In fact, had it not been for the TOTAL shocker at the end of The Graces, I probably wouldn’t have picked this one up. But I think you would have to be just about inhuman to not be overcome by curiosity about that ending.
The Curses picks up a few months after the events of The Graces, and this time is written from the perspective of Summer, the youngest Grace. This was soooo much better than the narrative voice in the first book. I really hate unreliable narrators, it makes me feel like my entire life is a lie, so I was relieved that Laure Eve didn’t repeat that in this book. We also spend almost no time at the school in this one – hallelujah.
Thalia, Fenrin, Summer, River, and Wolf are all active players once again, but they are quite changed by the previous events and are all coping in various ways. Wolf’s dramatic disappearance and subsequent reappearance has cast a shadow of sorts over the entire town, and the Grace household bears the brunt of it. Everything is different, with an undercurrent of ill feeling, but no one seems able to quite put a finger on the cause. Summer, ever curious and following her gut, digs and probes until she has her siblings just as involved as herself, and eventually River gets dragged back into their circle as well.
Time had brought a folding inward instead of outward. They had trapped themselves in a relentless limbo of deliberate numbness. Too afraid to feel, too afraid to let go.
The magical realism in this story is, well…so very real. The Graces are pagan witches – which is an actual thing, and I have friends who follow practices very similar (and often with similar reactions from the general public, sadly), as far as the herbal magick and belief in binding, etc. However, none of them – as far as I’m aware – actually think there is a way, or if they did, would ever actually TRY, to resurrect anyone. Which is where the magical, or fantasy if you will, part comes into play. Also, the “power” of various witches to bend events or the future to their will (such as River, particularly) is set firmly in the realm of fantasy. The use of tarot cards, spells, wardings and bindings…not so much. Perhaps it is the slightly blurry line between the two that allows this story to pull you in so very well. At times I variously felt the hairs on the back of my neck raise, as though I’d been punched in the gut, and as if my blood was actually turning cold in my veins. Some of the events are just almost too much to bear, as the pain and loss with accompanying grief is completely palpable through the page.
My favorite part of this book though? The sibling solidarity. The Graces have each others’ backs, no matter what, and they will go down without even a peep to protect one another. Even if they fight and bicker like any siblings, if anyone else threatens one of them, the outsider quickly wishes they hadn’t. And when one of them is in serious trouble, the others think nothing of getting into trouble right alongside them.
The events really just come one right after another in this one, with none of the drag I felt in the first book. Also, the foreshadowing – maybe Laure Eve should take up writing suspense or thrillers, because OMG the cellar scene where all the lies come out was INTENSE and I was just left with my jaw hanging open…and then I realized, like Summer did, that HOLY SHIT IT WAS THERE ALL ALONG.
5/5 stars. I really can’t think of anything bad to say about this one! Which totally surprises me, given that I had quite a few bones to pick with The Graces. The Curses is full of amazing quotes and feelings, and the ending – while it left me feeling sad and melancholy – was really full of closure and not without hope. The author seems to have worked out just about all the things that made me twitch in the first book, and I was just left with a massive hole in my heart for all the things the characters went through.
Oh, and once again, let’s end with a note about this freaking fabulous cover. I am obsessed and I can’t WAIT to have this sitting beside The Graces on my shelf because they look absolutely stunning together.
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