Saturday, December 8, 2012

Review: Cursed by Jennifer L. Armentrout

CursedWell, since we are on a JLA roll, why don't we keep it up, right? 
Here is our review of her standalone novel, Cursed
Hope you guys enjoy!!!

Cursed by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Steph’s Rating: 3 stars Dani’s Rating:5 stars Overall rating: 4 stars

Goodreads Synopsis:
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.

Steph's Review:
    I became a SUPER MEGA EPIC fan of Jennifer L. Armentrout after reading her first two series, Covenant and Lux. Although there was only a few books out in each, I thought JLA was THE Queen of YA fiction  and one of my favorite authors ever (I still do). The basis of this novel, a touch of death, was pretty cliché to me, but I thought something on the lines of “hey, why not? It’s a JLA book, it’s gonna be amazing right?”
    Well, it wasn’t all that great. I know JLA for making strong and independent female leads, and super hot swoony guys. You fans know exactly who I’m talking about ;).
    In Cursed, we have our protagonist Ember, who was killed in a car accident two years ago but was brought back to life by her “gifted” younger sister, Olivia. Before the accident, Ember was one of the popular girls at her school who had a perfect world, but afterwards everything falls apart for her. Her classmates taunt and torment her, she no longer has parents to be there for her, and she has also gained a mysterious power--she will kill anyone she touches. Now she thinks she’s some soulless freak and that there’s no atonement for her.
    ARGH!!! I just had so many problems with Ember! Yeah, I know she’s been through a lot, but she spent so much of this book just being whiny and helpless. She also gets jealous way too easily. When she moves to her new home, and there is a lady who acts like Olivia’s surrogate mother, she hates on that lady instead of feeling happy for Olivia! Ember also has like, no self confidence! “I can’t do it”, “No, I’m just a cursed, soulless freak”. She’s spent two years, and the majority of this book, just moping about the accident. Get over it girl! It was hard for me to sympathize with her because I just felt like her self-pity had gone on long enough.
    Then there is Hayden...I guess he’s kind of hot in a way, but I think he’s just too submissive (yes, you’ve noticed I like my bad boys). His step brothers and sisters all say that Ember (and us as the reader) haven’t seen Hayden’s real side--the one other than his calm, sweet, and selfless one. But throughout this book, there was never an instance in which Hayden showed his supposed true self! He also won’t go against that adoptive father of his (whom I don’t trust at all by the way uh uh) even when it comes to Ember. He’s supposedly in love with Ember, but I can’t imagine why he would be because he never talked to her, but only stalked, yes stalked, her for two years after the accident.
    The plot of this book wasn’t bad at all, but I thought it was a little predictable. I did love the mystery shrouding the “Facility” and the part about Ember finally learning how to control her powers, but the whole subplot was pretty transparent. I basically knew what was going to happen during the “climax”.
It was a cute and fun-ish along the way. Though, I wish JLA made this into a series, because I feel that as a standalone, it didn’t conclude all of the points it started with. The ending was vague in my opinion, and I still had a lot of unanswered questions. I might recommend this if you don’t have anything to read, and just want something pretty brief and interesting. But don’t worry, no author can be perfect at everything, and I will still forever love JLA for all of the rest of her books!

Dani’s Review:
I completely disagree with Steph’s statement. Jennifer Armentrout has DONE IT AGAIN. She has created another amazing novel that happens to be a STANDALONE. I would love it if she made Cursed into a series, but then she wouldn’t have time to finish her Covenant and Lux series!
Ember is such a strong heroine, as strong as Alex from Covenant. I love her name; it makes me think of fire. Her name seems to reflect her personality. She somehow managed to care for her mother and sister after the accident and cope with her  newfound social rejection. This book literally made me BAWL because of the pain Ember was feeling. Ember thinks that she’s evil and soulless because of her ability and that just broke my heart. I found myself angry at the people who hated Ember for absolutely no reason.
Hayden is such a sweet, not to mention pretty HOT, boy. He’s one of the few who are nice to Ember, and what’s more they actually have a chance of a relationship together. Now you may be asking “How do the have a chance?”. Nope, lips are sealed. Not spoiling it.
The only complaint I have of Cursed is the ending. It seems like loose strings are left untied, but sometimes I like books to end that way. In this case, I enjoyed the rather vague ending. Now I can imagine my own happy ending and create my own stories to explain various events. (i.e.  This was how fanfiction was born.)
I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. It truly came from the heart; I feel like Mrs. Armentrout “left a bit of her soul behind” in this book. I know, cheesy description, but that’s what I think. The tone was much different from the Covenant and Lux books. This is the story of a girl trying to mend her broken family. A girl trying to believe that everything will be okay.

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