Cursed: #not_blessed

This is post number 3.
Background: This free book is written by Casey Odell. It is part one of a trilogy as mentioned at the end of the book. The cover is blue with black flowery vines on top which relates to the main character’s mark she receives in the beginning.

Plot: Claire is woken up in the middle of the night by her mother, who tells her to go to a forbidden forest to escape an attack by the centaurs. While running away from said centaurs, Claire is rescued by group of mysterious men in the forest. When she wakes up again, she discovers that she is now a ward of the elves, that she has a strange mark on her arm, and her mother is missing. In order to go out and find her mother, Claire agrees to help two elves on their quest for their king.

Spoilers: On their way, the trio meets a prince who joins them on their quest. Eventually the prince betrays the group and kidnaps Claire. He takes her to a man who tortures her and leaves her to die. At almost the very end, Claire uses her previously undiscovered powers to fight back and eventually causes the building she is in to collapse. One of her elf companions comes to her rescue, and he confesses that he has a crush on Claire. She responds by kissing him, but she is ultimately unsure whether or not she feels the same way about him.

Passage: The elves gathered close around her then. Her stomach dropped as she scanned their faces and the first hint of genuine fear swept through her. This wasn’t just a simple meeting after all. They weren’t smiling and neither was she. Perhaps she was going to be punished for entering their territory, for trespassing on their land without their permission. She’d escaped one horror only to stumble into another. Mother’s assumption that they’d take care of her was true so far. But why bandage her up only to punish her later?

Opinion: This is one story where I actually considered buying the sequel for it. For one, the author does a great job of creating a new world with magic and political intrigue. The main character Claire is a bit boring and quite oblivious to the people around her. For example, everyone else in the novel commented on the fact that the elf guy really seemed to take a shine to her, and yet she was still caught off guard when he said he had feelings for her. In a way this makes her believable since she is supposed to be young and inexperienced. Her elf companions are by far more interesting. Both have a history they would rather forget, and this helps round them out.
The main and really only complaint I have about Cursed is the fact that we don’t see what her arm tattoo thing does until the very last pages. Everyone else, including the elf with feelings, has some idea as to what her mark can do, but the actual power itself is not fleshed out.
Truly what I like most about this story is the writing. The words flow, and the author uses just enough description to give a vague idea of what the world looks like, but allows the reader to fill in some blanks so the story can move forward.

Ratings: This is a fantasy/sci-fi novel with romantic undertones. As such here are the ratings:
Powers: 5/10
Explanation of Powers: 2/10
Romantic Development: 7/10
Creativity: 6/10
Plot: 9/10
Overall I give this book a 9/10. The writing and intriguing plot wash away the gripes with not actually seeing the powers until the end, and made me want to keep reading. I definitely recommend this free read.
Citation: Odell, Casey (2012-07-21). Cursed (Cursed Magic Series, Book One) (Kindle Locations 320-324). . Kindle Edition.

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