Today is the premiere of a new Preternatura feature, “Readers Write.” Thanks to all the terrific bloggers and readers who offered to contribute reviews of books they really loved.
Today, I’m excited to welcome Lee from the awesome She Wolf Reads review blog. Lee’s talking about one of her recent favorites, Cecy Robson’s Sealed with a Curse. And, as a special prize to kick off this new feature, Cecy is offering a commenter a signed ARC of the book—and the contest is international. Thanks again to Lee for bringing us this great opportunity!
ABOUT SEALED WITH A CURSE: Celia Wird and her three sisters are just like other 20-something girls—with one tiny exception: they're products of a backfired curse that has given each of them unique powers that make them, well, weird…
The Wird sisters are content to avoid the local vampires, werebeasts, and witches of the Lake Tahoe region—until one of them blows up a vampire in self-defense. Everyone knows vampires aren't aggressive, and killing one is punishable by death. But soon more bloodlust-fueled attacks occur, and the community wonders: are the vampires of Tahoe cursed with a plague?
Celia reluctantly agrees to help Misha, the handsome leader of an infected vampire family. But Aric, the head of the werewolf pack determined to destroy Misha's family to keep the region safe, warns Celia to stay out of the fight. Caught between two hot alphas, Celia must find a way to please everyone, save everyone, and oh yeah, not lose her heart to the wrong guy—or die a miserable death. Because now that the evil behind the plague knows who Celia is, it’s coming for her and her sisters. This Wird girl has never had it so tough.
Review by Lee of She Wolf Reads:
A SCENE I’D READ TWICE: One of the standout scenes for me was the opening. The sisters are brought before a vampire tribunal for Taran’s murder of a local vampire. The scene is very funny, introduces each sister’s voice perfectly, especially Taran, and sets the stage for the central mystery of the book.
I DIDN’T QUITE BUY: There wasn’t anything I didn’t “buy” per se, but one issue I did have was the amount of action in the book. I can’t believe I’m saying this but I felt like there was too much. I really enjoyed the sisters themselves, their wonderful sibling dynamic, and the romantic elements between the sisters and their potential mates. Unfortunately, right at moments when I was getting settled into a scene, someone had to rush off to save someone, get into a battle, check out a potential threat, etc. I think these were missed moments for more character development. A couple of action scenes less would have been a better balance for me.
THE WORLD: The world-building in Sealed with a Curse is fun. The Wird sisters have spent their lives avoiding the supernatural world so they find themselves a little out of their depth now that they’re neck deep in it. As a result, you, the reader, learn along with them. The rules and mores are revealed throughout the story and there are definitely some unique aspects to it—the magical setting of Lake Tahoe has an important significance to the supernatural community as its members draw power and energy from it; gold is a source of weakness for all supes; there are interesting master vampire/coven relationships; and werewolves are the enforcers of the supernatural world. And the world Robson creates is imaginative, original in many ways, and fun. Pure fun.
THE CHARACTERS: The sisters, for me, were the best part of the book. I love the sibling dynamic and diverse personalities. There’s Celia, the oldest and the main character of this story. She can shift into a tiger in addition to having a couple of other very cool powers. Celia is independent, strong, and fiercely protective of her sisters. Then there’s Taran, the wild child of the bunch who can fry you with her fingertips. She’s a smartass and provides a lot of laughs throughout the story. For all her bravado I think there’s someone a little more vulnerable underneath and I can’t wait to see that storyline develop. Shayna is a kickass knife thrower/swordswoman/archer who can bend wood and metal to her demands. Finally, there’s Emme, the sweet innocent, who can heal with a touch and move things with her mind.
Celia is the central character here as the story follows her attempts to help stop a killer and keep her family safe. All the sisters are unique in their own rights, though I think Shayna suffered from the classic middle child syndrome of needing to stand out a bit more. Robson successfully does that by story’s end. The sisters’ powers are explained by a backfired curse but there’s no explanation deeper than that. I hope as the series develops so does the origin story of why they are the way they are. The Wird girls are fertile ground for more storylines and they’re all interesting enough to make me curious to see what Robson has in store for them.
GENERAL THOUGHTS: When I finished Sealed with a Curse my first thought was “fun, fun, fun.” Robson writes with a sense of exuberance that kept a smile on my face throughout. And she doesn’t shy away from the violence, which makes for a great dichotomy of light and dark. I think what it comes down to for me is her voice as a writer – I enjoyed it. Fun and witty with a lot of pop culture references, snappy one-liners, and a group of sisters that stole my heart, this is a great read if you’re interested in a fun UF with some engaging characters and an interesting supernatural world. 4.5 stars.
Thanks, Lee! This does sound like a fun read, and I like the sound of the sisters’ dynamic. Want to read a copy of Sealed with a Curse (which was released on Monday)? Just leave a comment, and we’ll let random.org pick a winner. This contest will run through Saturday, January 12, at midnight CST.