Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Book Review: Cursed

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 have 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. Quoted from Goodreads


So many issues, so, so many issues I hardly know where to start. First off, I guess I should preface my review by saying I like Obsidian and Onyx, and Jennifer Armentrout's Lux series. They are what drew me to Cursed in the first place. I think they're fun, have great characters, and a good plot.  I also think Armentrout is a good storyteller.  Her books draw you in and make you want to keep reading, so I will absolutely keep reading other books by her.


Yes, there is a but.

This book drove me absolutely crazy.  You can ask my family, it honestly put me in a bad mood.  And this book is supposed to be a stand alone. If it was a series, I would probably like it better, but the ending was horrible---Be warned, from here on out, I'm giving away basically the whole plot, so there are tons and tons of spoilers.  If you don't want to know, don't keep reading, but I can't review this without giving some major stuff away---I'm sorry, but so you killed the crazy guy trying to kill you?  That's nice, but you're still living with a family of creepers who kidnapped you and mind-wiped your best friend.  How is that possibly okay?

Okay, I'll back up.  First off Ember gets kidnapped along with her little sister.  Then Cromwell and his "family" tell her, if you can't accept living her with us, not giving away our secrets, and not trying to run away, we will keep your sister and send you to "The Facility," basically a place where the government locks up and trains (read: tortures) kids with gifts. Then when she tells her best friend she is staying with family (because she isn't stupid enough to tell him she was kidnapped by a crazy family of paranormals) and he comes to visit her because he is worried (I mean, she left suddenly, aka was kidnapped), they wipe his mind of all his memories of her.  Then they get mad at her for not telling them that she told her friend where she was staying, claiming the mind-wipe thing it is all her fault.

And in the end, these people are supposed to be the good guys?  I'm sorry, but in what universe could they ever be construed as decent human beings? Oh, wait, I guess they don't even think of themselves as human. In fact, they don't eat lunch with humans, or really associate with them at all because they're "gifted." If they were good, why didn't they talk to Ember straight up instead of kidnapping her in the beginning?  She was desperate, and the home they took her to could have been a refuge, but I guess where's the drama in that?

Then there's Ember's love interest, Hayden.  Yes, he is sweet to her and gorgeous and tries to help her control her curse/gift, but he also believes that the mind-wipe thing was justified, blaming Ember for not telling him, and he stalked her for two years.  I get that he is a broken boy and is drawn to Ember because of everything she suffers, but how could Ember ever really fall in love with him when he supports the his adopted father and helps kidnap Ember? Can you say Stockholm syndrome?

Plus, he still sympathizes with his empathic "sister," Phoebe, who put dead bunnies, nooses, and models of the car-crash that killed Ember and her father in Ember's locker because she doesn't like her.  You would think since Phoebe can literally feel how miserable Ember is, she might try and help a little, but no.  Let's just scare the girl into running away or being taken by the Facility. Yeah, lovely family of creepers we have here.

Now to the ending.  Okay, so throughout the book someone has been trying to kill Ember. Finally she gets kidnapped, big stuff is revealed, mysteries solved, etc.  But not really.  Yes, Ember kills the bad guy before he kills her, and everyone discovers she has partial control of her gift. But she also finds out that Cromwell tried to train someone else with her exact gift years before and failed. He "tried" so hard to help and did horrible things that caused the girl to commit suicide.  Then, when the Facility tries to take Ember away, he doesn't let them, stating,"She's mine now.  And she's very important."  Does it get any creepier than that.  I mean, the girl who can kill with a touch is his and very important?

But in the end this is supposed to be okay?  Cromwell tells her he would have never sent her to the Facility, though he threatened her with it earlier in the book. So am I supposed to believe that Ember's life is going to be great now.  Yes, she can kiss her beautiful boyfriend for almost a minute now (which is how the book ends), but she is still basically being held captive by a creeper family.  The absolute only difference in her situation now is that she is in love with one of them, and she has partial control of her ability.  Oh, and they didn't kill her father. That's it.  The mind-wipe thing is never addressed again, and suddenly they look so much better because someone worse kidnapped her from her kidnappers?Yes, let's introduce another villain so we can pretend the love interest and his family aren't a bunch of crazy psychopaths.

The worst part about this book is that there isn't a sequel.  If there were, I would think that all these issues would be taken care of or at least addressed.  I would be okay with the ending, probably even her being with Hayden, because obviously the author would, after a lot of struggles, pull out some kind of escape or punishment or mind-wipe and leave us with a slightly less creepy ending.  As it is, why is Ember happy? Because she is in love, and therefore all is forgiven?  I don't get it.

As far as writing goes, this book is probably 3 stars for me.  Obviously Jennifer Armentrout drew me into the story and made me feel things (mostly frustration and irritation, but at lest she made me feel things and care about the Ember).  As far as how much I liked the book though . . . 1 star. I'm sorry, but I just couldn't get over the aforementioned issues.  I know most people like this book, and that's fine.  I really wanted to as well, but I couldn't.

1 comment:

  1. This book sounds, in a word, dysfunctional. Thank you for the heads up, because I really like those other books too.
    p.s. is there ever going to be an ending to this series with "the facility"?