Hello readers! Today, I’m reviewing Cursed by Thomas Wheeler and Frank Miller as part of the blog tour organized by Fantastic Flying Book Club!
Author: Thomas Wheeler & Frank Miller
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Retelling
Published: October 1st, 2019 (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers)
Synopsis: Whosoever wields the Sword of Power shall be the one true King.
But what if the Sword has chosen a Queen?
Nimue grew up an outcast. Her connection to dark magic made her something to be feared in her Druid village, and that made her desperate to leave…
That is, until her entire village is slaughtered by Red Paladins, and Nimue’s fate is forever altered. Charged by her dying mother to reunite an ancient sword with a legendary sorcerer, Nimue is now her people’s only hope. Her mission leaves little room for revenge, but the growing power within her can think of little else.
Nimue teams up with a charming mercenary named Arthur and refugee Fey Folk from across England. She wields a sword meant for the one true king, battling paladins and the armies of a corrupt king. She struggles to unite her people, avenge her family, and discover the truth about her destiny.
But perhaps the one thing that can change Destiny itself is found at the edge of a blade.
Thank you to the publisher, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, and NetGalley for providing me with an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
“Whosoever wields the Sword of Power shall be the one true king.”
Cursed retells the famous legend, with one major difference. It isn’t Arthur the Sword of Power chooses, but Nimue. Nimue belongs to the clan of Fey known as the Sky Folk, and due to a run in with a dark beast when she was young, she has a connection to dark magic which has always made her an outcast in her village. But when the Red Paladins, a section of the Church who have made it their mission to wipe out the Fey Folk, attack her village, Nimue finds herself journeying across England to fulfill her mother’s last wish: to return the sword to Merlin. But knowledge that the Sword of Power has surfaced again has spread across the country, and Nimue is caught between multiple forces who all want to claim the sword for themselves – King Uther Pendragon, the Viking Ice King and the Catholic Church, all fixated on the ancient prophecy.
I’m not familiar with Arthurian legend beyond the basics, but I always enjoy a good retelling. The author manages to present the story in a refreshingly new manner, particularly with the concept of the Fey clans. Each clan’s culture was very well thought out. When it comes to the magic system, Nimue’s strangely powerful connection to the Hidden, much of it is still a mystery, but there was enough information to enjoy the concept. The world building is fantastic, and Cursed is one of those books that make you feel like you’re watching it rather than reading it. This makes me extremely curious as to how the Netflix series is going to turn out!
“You’re not some Fey girl anymore. You are the Wolf-Blood Witch. You wield the Devil’s Tooth. Some will worship you, Nimue, and some will fear you, and some will do everything they can to burn you on the cross. But unless you claim this fate, it will eat you alive.”
Nimue is an interesting character to watch as she grows from a girl who wants no responsibility to someone who can unite her people and do some good with the reputation she has unknowingly cultivated with her actions in the name of revenge for her family. She is an extremely realistic character in that she is believably flawed, and she definitely had the most character growth in this book. The same goes for many of the side characters, for instance, Arthur, whose arcs were also very well written.
Throughout the story, we come across some very familiar names – Arthur, Gawain, Morgan, Guinevere and more, but their roles in this narrative are anything but what I expected. I really liked Merlin’s portrayal, it was a definite departure from how he is traditionally depicted. I also want to know more about the Weeping Monk’s backstory and what might have driven him to join the Red Paladins, especially after that startling revelation of his identity.
Overall, Cursed is a well-paced, enjoyable read, and from the sound of the epilogue, this story is just getting started. I’m quite interested to see where this tale goes next. Definitely recommended!
Cursed releases on October 1st, 2019.
About the Author
Thomas Wheeler sold his first screenplay at age twenty-two, to Twentieth Century Fox. He has continued to work on major Hollywood features for the last several years. Wheeler lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Christina, and his son, Luca. The Arcanum is his first novel.
Frank Miller is an award-winning comic book writer, novelist, inker, screenwriter, film director, and producer best known for Daredevil, The Dark Knight Returns, Sin City, and 300, among others. He also created Cursed with Tom Wheeler, which is being adapted as a series for Netflix starring Katherine Langford. Visit him online at FrankMillerInk.com or on Twitter @FrankMillerInk.
Do you plan to read this book? Let me know in the comments below!