Thursday, October 02, 2014

Cursed by S.J. Harper

Title: Cursed
Author: S.J. Harper
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: Fallen Siren #1

Mass Market Paperback, 288 pages
Publication: October 1, 2013 by Roc

Source: I purchased this book for my own reading.

Emma Monroe is a Siren, cursed by the gods and bound to earth to atone for an ancient failure. She’s had many names and many lives, but only one mission: redemption. Now that she works missing persons cases for the FBI, it could be just a rescue away. Unless her new partner leads her astray.

Special Agent Zack Armstrong just transferred into the San Diego Field Office. He’s a werewolf, doing his best to beat back the demons from his dark and dangerous past. As a former Black Ops sniper, he’s taken enough lives. Now he’s doing penance by saving them.

Emma and Zack’s very first case draws them deep into the realm of the paranormal, and forces them to use their own supernatural abilities. But that leaves each of them vulnerable, and there are lines partners should not cross. As secrets are revealed and more women go missing, one thing becomes clear: as they race to save the victims, Emma and Zack risk losing themselves.

I haven’t read many books that incorporate sirens as the main character, and so far I like what I see from reading the prequel and first book, Cursed in the Fallen Siren series. The authors did a great job balancing the supernatural and police procedural as well as the action and romance aspects of the novel. FBI agent Emma has been cursed by the Goddess Demeter for failing to retrieve her daughter Persephone when she was taken by Hades to the underworld. As punishment Emma must save/bring home all those that have gone missing until Demeter is satisfied. Until then she must live among the mortals. The incorporation of the Greek mythology was done through and through, making for a tight and believable world/setting. The curse affected every part of Emma’s life, from her appearance, her work/job and to her personal love life.The world building isn’t overly complex like most Urban Fantasy and it’s a closed world for supernaturals in this book living hidden amongst the humans; but it was simple enough to still be enjoyable and let readers focus on the case/plot.

While there were enough romantic tensions flying back and forth, the focus of the book was solely the missing person’s case. At the beginning of each chapter there is the day of the week, along with a number to show readers how long Emma and Zack been working on the case; which is cool as most people know the first 72 hours are always crucial, any longer then it means the person is less likely found/alive. The pacing of the book was quick with plenty of action and discovery of clues to keep readers engage. As the clues start to connect, it seemed like anyone can be a likely suspect. So it was quite surprisingly when the culprit was revealed because I’d never suspect said person. However, it isn’t to say that Emma and Zack didn’t have any down time. I loved the short moments that they found time to be alone, and the sexual tension brewing between the two. It is in these moments that we learn more of both characters background/past, and how alike the two are both looking for redemption by doing their job in helping others.

Emma is a great character, she strong and very level-headed. As a siren she can use her voice to get inside people’s head, and make them do whatever she says. She doesn’t use her powers often since Demeter is always watching, waiting for any opportunity to punish her more. The only times Emma does use her gift is when she comes to a dead-end in a case, using her voice like a lie-detector. I felt bad for Emma at times, unable to fall in love. When/and if Demeter finds out that she has fallen in love, Demeter punishes Emma by taking her lover away. So it makes sense that she wants to keep any love interest at bay, fearing for both their lives. The only thing that bugged me in this book about Emma was how she was giving Zack a hard time about keeping secrets (she knows he’s a werewolf but want him to tell her) yet she wasn’t willing to do that same. It was a bit annoying, like you can’t fault someone for keeping secrets, especially when the person barely knows you. It’s rare for people to go spout their deepest, darkest secrets to a stranger.

Zack use to be black ops, tormented by his past he seeks retribution by working on the FBI missing unit. I really like Zack; he knows when to be funny and when to be serious. He never once let his emotions get in the way of his current case. He kept personal business separate from the job, which was very mature…and unlike Emma at times. I also liked that he took Emma’s secrets and abilities in great stride. He respected her choices, and was patient when he waited for Emma to decide if she’s willing to take their relationship to the next level. However, the authors kind of threw in another potential love interest at the end of the book. While I like Zack and am rooting for him to be with Emma…I couldn’t help but get excited about the new guy. He’s intriguing and very persistent! I can’t wait to see how this new development transpires in the next book.

Cursed is a great debut to a new Urban Fantasy series and I am looking forward to seeing where this series go. If you love Greek Mythology, supernatural creatures, awesome police procedurals, and a forbidden romance then check this book out!

*Captured, the prequel to the Fallen Siren series is out and is currently free. Get a first look at how Emma and Zack met. (Please make sure to double check price before purchase.)

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