Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Published: September 18, 2012
Publisher: Spencer Hill Press
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal
Rating: 3.5 stars
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“For a brief second, I entertained the idea of ripping off my gloves, rushing down the hall, and jumping on Dustin’s back like a psychotic monkey.”
― Jennifer L. Armentrout, 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. (Goodreads)
I could be having a bad day, and JLR just makes it all go away with her wonderful books. First, I fell in love with the Lux series, and now I have thoroughly enjoyed Cursed. It was such an addictive read, and once again, I could not put down an Armentrout book. Her books are like crack. No lie. Cursed was a little darker than Obsidian or Onyx. Less witty banter and more death. Though it's a given that death is going to be a main focus of this book when the main character can kill with a touch.
I found I was really invested in the characters, especially Ember, Hayden, and even Ember's little sister Olivia (an occasional brat but so cute). I felt for Ember. She goes through so much. She can't touch anyone with her bare skin. So no hugs, kisses, cuddling. She treats her Jeep like her own little baby because she can actually touch it without hurting it. Despite everything she struggles with, she still takes care of her little sister, making sure she doesn't end up in foster care. She becomes the responsible one in the family with her father dead and her mother not all there in the head. I grew to respect Ember's devotion to her little sister and her fighting spirit. For someone who is surrounded by death, she is so alive. Even when she wants to curl up in a corner and cry, she defends herself and always thinks about her sister's welfare. She may be damaged goods, but she is able to come such a long way with her gift and her self-esteem.
As for Hayden, I didn't always like him, but I did love him. He wasn't Mr. Perfect, but he believed in Ember when others didn't. Not to mention, his infatuation with her was adorable while it was also slightly creepy. I love how the one guy with the gift for absorbing Ember's power ends up being drop dead gorgeous. Very convenient. Though they do have to work towards controlling their gifts. I felt their relationship was developed so well. They ran into a few issues, but they were able to slowly build the foundations of their relationship, developing trust in each other and revealing their dark pasts in confidence.
While there was not one dull moment in Cursed, I found the plot followed a predictable route. I guessed the villain less than halfway through, but, then again, I'm always trying to anticipate the ending. I'll be the one watching movies, saying it's that guy or they're all alien clones. This is why my favorite board game is Clue. It didn't decrease my enjoyment of the book, but it wasn't a surprise. And the plot as a whole wasn't anything amazing or mind-blowing. It was similar to Shatter Me or Rogue from X-Men. Basically, these kids were a bunch of X-Men hanging out in a big house, headed by one man who seemed to collect gifted individuals. Ring a bell? Though Jonathan Cromwell is not anything like Professor X. And in the book, the characters actually acknowledge that they're not anything like X-Men. They say they're not superheros but just gifted.
I would recommend this book for anyone who loves the Lux series or any action-packed, romance filled books. I loved it. The ending gave me closure, but there were a couple of questions left unanswered so maybe a sequel? But if it was a standalone and the questions remained unanswered, it would not haunt me for the rest of my life. I just can't wait for Opal in December! I also need to read the Covenant series!