Cursed – Jennifer L Armentrout
This was kind of like if Pushing Daisies and X Men got together and produced offspring. Kids with special abilities being cared for in a house segregated from ‘normal’ people and two of those kids have the kill people with one touch/ can bring people back to life by touching them thing going on.
…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’ve 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.
There was kind of a lot going on in this book, first you have the fact that Olivia is able to bring dead things back to life and that she was able to do so to her big sister, Ember, which in turn meant that Ember now can no longer touch anything without that thing dying immediately, plus there’s the fact that Ember’s mum thinks she’s dead and doesn’t speak to her, the fact that Ember is practically raising Olivia, is being horrifically bullied and then the girls find themselves being mysteriously whisked away by a man who collects children with strange gifts, like theirs, and keeps them all locked up in a creepy house in the middle of nowhere. So, with all of that going on, it’s quite a difficult book to review
Ember was written really well, she had the right reactions to everything, that sounds like a weird thing to say, but I mean, I’ve read books before where the lead character has suffered something traumatic and just shrugs it off and moans about something completely shallow instead. Ember felt oppressed and lonely about not being able to touch anyone, she felt exasperated at having to play the adult, she felt anxious and upset about being bullied at school, she was angry, confused and completely not ok with finding herself at Cromwell’s School for Mutants or whatever he was calling that place – so like, that was nice and realistic for once. She was a little self involved, but I think if I couldn’t touch a single living thing, got kidnapped and found out everything that Ember did, I’d probably be a little self involved too.
Anyway, on the story side of things, I quite enjoyed it, it wasn’t anything new, I mean, it even references X Men, and literally the first thing that flashed through my mind when I was reading it was, this is a lot like Pushing Daisies. Bits of it were kind of rushed, the whole, some people having special gifts thing wasn’t built up, it was thrust on us, which is fine, but like, world building… Also, Cromwell was the creepiest SOB ever. Like for reals. And the mystery of Ember’s parents was sprung on us far too late in the story and seemed a little rushed. The romance aspect with Ember and Haydon reminded me a lot of the Bella/Edward situation in Twilight, particularly at the beginning of Twilight when Edward was all aloof and “I don’t want to hurt you Bella” whilst spying on her. Haydon did that a lot. Which bothered me a bit, but in comparison to Edward Cullen, he wasn’t anywhere near as creepy. As their relationship progressed, it got better and he was much sweeter and nicer and weirdly, reminded me a little of an actor friend of mine…
I don’t think this is going to win any awards, but it’s a fun read and only took me about two days to finish, so if you’re looking for something short, fast paced and with some interesting characters, this is totally the book for you.