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"Brutal Curse" by Casey L. Bond

Updated: Dec 21, 2018

Title: Brutal Curse

Author: Casey L. Bond

Genre: YA Epic Fantasy, Fairy Tale Retelling

Editor: Stacy Sanford/ The Girl with the Red Pen

Cover Designer: Melissa Stevens/ The Illustrated Author Design Services

Prince Carden of Tierney lost his home, family, and claim to the throne in one fell swoop when he rebelled against his father for a cause he knew was right. Instead of wallowing in despair, he embarks on a new journey, starting a new life on the Southern Isle. When he finds himself caught in a web woven by the famously ruthless fae queen, Coeur, he insults her and she vows to teach him the most difficult and heart-breaking lesson he will ever learn: that humans are incapable of love, and that hearts are beastly things.

Arabella wasn’t really living, she was existing and surviving as best she could. A chance encounter with Carden changes everything for her, but the deadly game he’s dragged her into might cost her life.

Still, she agrees to play. The rules the fae queen gives them are vague, and it’s obvious there are things Queen Coeur isn’t telling them. She’s sure of it. But what she does know is that together, she and Carden must pass a series of tests and trials. If they fail, game over. But if they succeed, she just might be able to restore her family and carve out the life she’s always envisioned.

**I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.**

I'm going to admit that I struggled with this one a little. Not because it wasn't an interesting mashup of fairytales with its own unique twists and some really great characters, but because I've never quite taken to Ms. Bond's writing style. I tried reading "Savage Beauty" before this and didn't make it more than a third of the way before setting it aside.

Arabella and Carden were intriguing characters who were thrown at the reader with little to no backstory or explanation. While some may enjoy that air of mystery, it left me feeling off balance for a good portion of the story. I just kept feeling like I was expected to know more about them than I was told. They were a little cookie cutter in their character traits, but I liked them all the same. Both were strong, fierce, and determined to survive not only for themselves but for each other. The Queen was wonderfully wicked and definitely had some curveballs for our hero and heroine. The secondary characters were unique and presented in such a way that I couldn't shake the feeling they'd be way more important than they seemed at first glance...but I won't spoil it by telling you if my suspicions were right or not.

The writing style was something I never was quite able to get comfortable with, as I constantly felt like Ms. Bond expected me to know as much about her story as she did without having to be told, and it was the same with the one other book of hers I tried to read. Her writing style is this hazy, foggy, albeit pretty flow that has very few transitions between scenes or buildup toward interesting/shocking/unexpected events. It left me feeling a little...lost, to be perfectly honest. Some of her descriptive word choices were also a little strange ("spongey voice" for example).

Bottom line: "Brutal Curse" was interesting and would have been a much more pleasant read if I'd been able to settle into the style. However, if you like your fairytale retellings dark and with some unexpected twists, I'd recommend giving this a go.

Award-winning author Casey L. Bond resides in Milton, West Virginia with her husband and their two beautiful daughters. When she’s not busy being a domestic goddess and chasing her baby girls, she loves to write young adult and new adult fiction. You can find more information about Bond’s books via the following links: 

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