Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Cursed - Jennifer L. Armentrout

Cursed is one of the ARCs I snagged at Book Expo. It was one of those books that I read the back of, and instantly knew that I had to read it, no matter what. In this case, the driving 'omgomgomg' factor was the main character's special talent. If there's one thing that Shatter Me and X-Men have taught me, it's that chicks who kill with a touch tend to be pretty awesome.

Cursed is the story of Ember McWilliams, a high school student who died in a car crash. Unlike most tragic stories of teenager death, however, Ember had a little secret: her sister, Olivia, was a healer. In fact, she was such a good healer that she brought Ember back from the dead. But everything comes with a catch, and after her visit to the afterlife, Ember is cursed with the inability to touch anything without it dying. No more pets, no more hugging her sister, and no chance of ever having a boyfriend or a family. To make matters worse, her mother is stuck in some kind of dark trance after the death of her husband in the same accident, so Ember has to take care of Olivia on her own. But things are okay--usually. Until the day that everything changes and Ember's worst nightmare becomes her reality.

The next thing she knows, Ember and her sister are placed in a new home in West Virginia, where she has to adjust to a new life. Here, she lives with a family of adopted 'gifted', and they promise to take care of her sister. In order for Ember to feel safe, though, she has to trust the man running the house. But when she learns that the accident that killed her and her father wasn't an accident, she can't help but feel suspicious of the man who collects super powered children like baseball cards.

In all honestly, I'm not sure if I've ever read a book by Armentrout before. The books listed on her website don't sound like I've ever read them--but do, I might add, have some incredibly sexy covers--, but I could have sworn that her name was pretty familiar when I got in her line at Book Expo. Either way, I'm pretty happy I chose the line I did, because I thought this book was fantastic.

To begin with, I loved Ember's power. That's probably a given, since I already said that I enjoyed Shatter Me and Rogue, but it still needs to be said. I just love the idea of it, and I could read a thousand books about super powers like it and still be in love with it. Honestly, I kind of love -everyone's- powers in this book. Her sister is a super healer who can bring people back to life, one of the girls is an empath, there's a telepath, and... well, one of the boys is an 'enerpath', and that's a made up term, so don't ask me entirely what that means. Something about being able to bring down houses and make garbage cans split by draining energy. Wish I knew more about it, but it seems pretty cool.

The plot of this book is pretty interesting, and I liked following Ember on her path to figure out all the mysteries that are thrown her way. It's a little predictable at times, but overall, it's a pretty good storyline, and I look forward to any potential sequels that follow up on the many topics that were brought up but never concluded.

 Character-wise, I felt that most of the characters were very real, very human and flawed in the right ways. Ember's little sister was a very good character, and definitely encompassed to me what a 6 year old is. At times I wanted to hug her and cuddle her, and other times I kind of wanted someone to just take away all her pretty toys and make her stand in a corner for a while (or worse), because she was so typically bratty. But at the same time there are slight exceptions. The main love interest, Hayden, was my least favorite character possible, because he was so...meh. He was super powerful, magically able to handle Ember's death touch, gorgeous, and honestly...kind of bland, too me. Even his big background reveal towards the end of the book, which I obviously can't spoil for you...well, it was a really big issue, but it was also the exact same kind of thing I've read in a million other stories. The love story itself is deep with angst and happiness and fluff, but I feel the male lead could have been better.

That being said, I think the book was really good overall. I'd definitely recommend it, particularly to fans of Shatter Me who want to try a book of the same flavor minus the dystopian influence. I'd also recommend it to the readers who are hungry for semi-paranormal stories that don't involve vampires, fairies, or werewolves for once. Finally, all the current YA readers who are dying for another love story without the love triangle influence, like I typically am, should definitely pick up a copy of Cursed when it comes out on September 18, 2012!

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