Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Double Review of Cursed by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Happy Wednesday!

Since Cursed by Jennifer L. Armentrout was released yesterday, here is the double review of Cursed. Both me and Liis read it and here is the result of it!




Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout

Title: Cursed
Release date: 18th of September 2012
Published by: Spencer Hill Press
Reading level: FICTION – Juvenile: Fantasy, Magic
URL: http://www.spencerhillpress.com and http://www.jenniferarmentrout.com/
Pages: 304 pages in ARC
Source: BEA2012 author signing at Spencer Hill Press’ booth

Summary:

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.

Review:

Liis:

This book was a very pleasant surprise, I felt like I was reading something similar to X-Men or a comic book: the younger years of a future super hero generation. And while I’m not the biggest admirer of superhero stories, I enjoyed this story immensely. A couple of Intriguing characters, a dash of mystery, a squirt of romance, a handful of an engaging plot, sprinkled with the supernatural - a recipe for a solid story!

Inga:

Cursed by Jennifer L. Armentrout was a great book! I have read few other Jennifer’s books and I have to admit, that Cursed was a surprise for me. Not because I did not like the other books I’ve read, not at all! On the contrary, all Jennifer’s books have fallen greatly for my taste. Cursed was different because it was very suitable reading for younger range of YA books and that took me by surprise. I loved it!

Cursed was well-written, with captivating plot and the story was engrossing. It was smoothly written and very easy to read. Cursed caught my interest from the very first page and it was an emotional roller-coaster ride for me.

Plot:

Liis:

While it wasn’t anything extraordinary there is just something that clicks and makes all the pieces work in unity to provide an enjoyable story. I addition, I have to admit that I would have given it 5 stars if it wasn’t for the fact that the explanations weren’t entirely to my satisfaction and I was left feeling that there should be more. Too many loose ends were unanswered and I expected more closure. For example, the reasons for the villain to act as was done weren’t entirely convincing and came out of the blue, even though as a reader I could detect something fishy there. Nevertheless, the focus point for me without a doubt was the plotline of Ember’s acceptance of herself, her journey to control her gift and her relationship with Hayden. Those were the pillars and everything else was just icing on the cake.

Inga:

Meet Ember, a teenage girl who has died and brought back to life by her sister Olivia. After this accident Ember is changed, everything she touches dies. When she meets a cute guy Hayden, her world turns upside down. Suddenly she finds herself against her own will in a school for kids with special abilities – her mom is non-responsive, her sister Olivia almost taken away from her, hated by the other students. On top of everything, she finds out that the accident that changed her, wasn’t accident at all, someone wanted her dead! Desperate to find out how to use and control her abilities and what happened during the accident, she learns how to trust Hayden.

I have to admit, there were times when I just wanted to close Cursed and not continue reading. I felt so badly about Ember and was so angry about what was done to her. The feeling of powerlessness and anger what Ember felt when she was put into dilemma – either you leave and never see your sister again or learn how to behave – put me on the edge. Leaving wasn’t an option because of Olivia; they would have taken Olivia away from Amber. There were moments where I wanted Ember to hurt them badly, just because of the injustice done to her. I was frustrated and thinking how can the author do that to her.

I loved to see how Ember’s story developed, it was very professionally created. And as said, it made me feel lots of emotions while reading and I consider that being a big plus while reading.

Characters:

Liis:

I was really fond of Ember – a strong heroine who always tries to act in her sister’s best interest not caring if she suffers while maintaining a solid façade and trying to cope as best as she can with the “curse,” and during all that, battling her inner confusion, insecurities and fear. I liked that she was determined when trying to figure out a solution for her risky situation, though hesitant and doubtful in the beginning, a little push was all she required to start working hard and succeeding. Another pleasant surprise was that Ember never acted how you’d expect, I was betting her to escape the Cromwell house at least on 5 different occasions but she surprised me every single time by straying firm, stubborn and not giving into her concerns and discomfort.

Inga:

I liked Ember! She grew on me quite quickly. In the beginning of the story I did not understand her, but as soon as she was threatened in the Cromwell house, I could relate to her actions and emotions. She did deliver some surprises too – her stubbornness to make sure she controls her ability, her stubbornness when she pursued the reasons behind the accident – I admired that about her. She did not give up even though she had to pay a price for that.

There was a scene in the book, when Ember finally found a way not to kill a plant – that was beautiful!

Liis:

Hayden was a somewhat typical YA hero: swoonworthy, supportive, loyal, kind and only wishing what’s best for Ember and his family – not to forget – all equipped with a tortured past. I didn’t fully grasp or believe his attraction to Ember but it was loads more convincing than going on the slippery path of direct insta love. At least Hayden actually possessed reasons why he developed feelings towards Ember that didn’t include just one look, a whiff of her smell, “faith” or a couple of sentences exchanged. He admired and identified with her which was a strong basis for a good relationship, even though, Ember constantly doubted the intentions of Cromwell, mistrusted her new family and, likewise, couldn’t entirely trust in Hayden and let her guard down. All in all, I liked Hayden and have a soft spot for him, he’s a great guy.

Inga:

Hayden was cute! He was very likable from the beginning. When I said, that I had to take my time to grow on Ember, then Hayden fell to a right place from the very beginning. I liked his supportiveness. No matter what his friends said, he was there for Ember and who doesn’t like that in a man. I did not understand his love towards Ember when they met, but I liked the way it was developed by the author.

Liis:

I bet many found Olivia to be incredibly adorable but, honestly, she me made me extremely sad and cross on too many occasions to count. I understand that she’s a child and there was nothing outstanding in her behavior but it didn’t hold me back from feeling very bad for Ember when Olivia didn’t appreciate her as she did before. Especially if you take into consideration everything Ember sacrificed and how she gave her all to provide for Olivia and their mother. Nevertheless, I realize that Olivia didn’t act that way on purpose but it still left me angsty having to see Ember suffer and feel excluded and alone.

Inga:

Olivia was hard to swallow and not because I did not understand her, but because she acted like a kid she was. Not really remembering what mother’s love means, she was clinging to her new nanny in the Cromwell house and I felt sad for Ember that Olivia hurt her. I can understand that when you are coming from an environment, where you basically do not have a mom who can take care of you, then you feel affection towards any grown woman who is showing you the ways of love. It was painful to see, how Olivia’s actions influenced Ember. That is also the reason why I love Cursed – it made you feel and understand and ache.

Liis:

The rest of the Cromwell family was quite intriguing as well and it would be interesting to focus on other members for diverse views on the “gifted.” Not all were, however, completely likable in the beginning or even by the end, but it would be fun to see the story through another voice. Still, despite there being other exciting characters, Ember and Hayden were definitely the stars of this book.

Inga:

There were many other interesting characters in Cursed. I was actually surprised, that Cursed was a standalone book and not the beginning of the series, because the characters featured in Cursed would give plenty of material for a whole series. I would love to know more about few supportive characters in the book, learn more about their background stories: why where they in the Cromwell house, what happened to them? There were bits and pieces of information about supportive characters which were necessary for Cursed, but due to great potential of them, it could be built into a series.

Overall:

Liis:

An exceptionally satisfying paranormal YA read. I guarantee it would make an awesome superhero comic! I’d definitely read it. Not entirely yet on the same level as Obsidian, but it’s getting there, it’s getting there.

Inga:

Cursed by Jennifer L. Armentrout was a very good young adult novel. It is highly suitable for especially more juvenile audience of young adult readers. It was well written, quick-paced and easy to read. Loved it!



Liis: 4 stars
5 Flowers!

Inga: 5 stars
5 Flowers!

I hope you enjoyed our double review!
Happy reading!


 



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