Cursed is the first book in the new ‘Voodoo Nights’ series and as all voodoo related books should be…is set in New Orleans. The synopsis is very accurate and describes the book perfectly as we join Atlanta native Adrienne, who having gained a scholarship to a prestigious school for rich kids is going to live with her father in a run down area. Being there brings more curiosity out about her sister who went missing five years ago and is presumed dead, strange things start happening to Addy, she receives messages in her room, her sister’s journal appears from nowhere and she is marked. Over the richer part of town, Jordan has the world at his feet and is seemingly destined for big things, with a foot in both the elite & poor societies he rejects everything supernatural, feeling it was his mother’s downfall and that his maternal family are ‘backwards’ but he’s about to get a shock when Addy shows up and he is forced to re-evaluate his beliefs particularly when his father lays a heavy burden upon him. Jordan isn’t the only one interested in Addy though & whilst some will protect her, some need her for more sinister reasons – will Addy learn who to trust? They don’t know it yet but all of their lives are entwined by decisions their ancestors have made and a curse forged in the worst kind of magic hangs over all of their heads…. Will they be the ones to break it?
I really liked Cursed, I don’t read a lot of books steeped in the voodoo religion so I’m always interested in reading new things and I thought that it added a mystical & spooky element to the book. The beginning of the book was quite slow for me as we are introduced to the characters and their way of life, explanations of the magic & rituals, how they spoke to spirits etc. and whilst I normally like a faster pacing, it was never boring… it intrigued me & totally piqued my curiosity which in turn kept me reading. As I got involved with the characters & their world I was absorbed into the story, wanting answers, needing to know what was going on, feeling the ever present threat of ‘the Red Man’. For this being YA it was a pretty dark read, the only lightness to it was when they were at school and usual teenage behaviour was at play – bitchy cheerleaders, jocks, cliques, snottiness, jealousy – but that didn’t take over the book & didn’t define it. The culture was the defining factor, the Voodoo, the history, the curse and a prophecy which isn’t really touched upon but we know from the start that it revolves around our lead characters and they can be the ones to change it. It was dark, mysterious, spooky & slightly scary, one character in particular comes to mind as being a bit sinister and it’s hard to know who to trust but I like that, I liked all off it and you could really feel the atmosphere of the story too which is rare for me. My only grumble is that I was surprised at the amount of bigotry between some of the characters…. Addy’s father told her not to date anyone darker than her! Jordan’s Grandmother told him to stay away from the ‘white zombie’, Jordan’s father disapproves of him dating anyone ‘beneath him’, Jordan’s uncle doesn’t think he’s dark enough !…. Seriously?? Does this sh*t still happen? How about letting your kids be happy regardless? (sore point with me, I hate people being judged on race or circumstances) they weren’t even ashamed to show it either grrr. Never the less, this was a great read and left us with a big cliffhanger but definitely looking forward to more.