The Cursed is the first in a new series by Alyssa Day. Here, readers are introduced to an alternate Manhattan, Bordertown – the dimensional fold between the human and supernatural realms. Rio Jones is a bike messenger with no apparent past, but after witnessing a kidnapping she’s thrust into the political dealings of Bordertown. Rio knows there’s only one person that she can trust to help her find the kidnapped girl – the Dark Wizard, Luke Oliver, who just so happens to be the guy who rejected her when she asked him out. The pair team up and discover a much larger concern, one the deals directly with Rio’s unknown past, and may just come at the cost of her life.
Luke Oliver agrees to help Rio against his better judgement. He likes her (really loves her, *sigh*), but he knows he should stay away since he was cursed long ago and he knows that getting entangled with Rio could activate his curse. When Luke learns that Rio’s life is in danger he will stop at nothing to protect her and in the process realizes that he wants to keep her around and will do anything to make that happen. The question is whether the fae or the demons will allow Rio to live past her twenty-fifth birthday.
I have to admit that I was a little disappointed with this one. I really liked the premise for this urban fantasy, but in the end I found it difficult to finish the book. What I didn’t like was the pacing, as I found it was up and down constantly; it was ultimately a very uneven reading experience for me. For example, the kidnapping that instigates the plot was resolved quickly but then it was one thing after the other for Rio and Luke to confront and it came off rushed rather than action-packed. Even the relationship between the two of them was uneven and felt off kilter to me.
What I did like were the characters and their dialogue, if I could have had more of that I think I would have been more satisfied with the novel. Luke was kind of a bizarre character. He was cursed and immortal but he certainly wasn’t a ladies man and at times his interactions with Rio were downright funny. I would have loved more instances of him being an idiot for love; in my opinion it was the best stuff about the book. As for Rio she was a good heroine, but at times was frustrating because her thought process didn’t really seem to make sense to me. She was constantly back and forth with Luke, and I really didn’t understand where her priorities stood.
Overall, I thought the book was okay, but I didn’t find it all that memorable and I think my short review reflects that. I also have to admit that I’m not a huge urban fantasy reader and it’s not generally my genre of choice so I’m having a hard time rating it against other books that I have read.