Damsel meets A Heart in a Body in the World in this incisive and lyrical feminist fairy tale about a princess determined to save her sisters from a curse, even if it means allying herself with the very witch who cast it.
The Princesses of Ever are beloved by the kingdom and their father, the King. They are cherished, admired.
Jane, Alice, Nora, Grace, and Eden carry the burden of being punished for a crime they did not commit, or even know about. They are each cursed to be Without one essential thing—the ability to eat, sleep, love, remember, or hope. And their mother, the Queen, is imprisoned, frozen in time in an unbreakable glass box.
But when Eden’s curse sets in on her thirteenth birthday, the princesses are given the opportunity to break the curse, preventing it from becoming a True Spell and dooming the princesses for life. To do this, they must confront the one who cast the spell—Reagan, a young witch who might not be the villain they thought—as well as the wickedness plaguing their own kingdom…and family.
Told through the eyes of Reagan and Jane—the witch and the bewitched—this insightful twist of a fairy tale explores power in a patriarchal kingdom not unlike our own.Ever Cursed, Corey Ann Haydu
July 28, 2020
There’s a lot of things about Ever Cursed that I should have loved. Princesses and witches, weird magical curses, a feminist fairy tale about the bewitched and the bewitcher. But honestly? It never felt right.
Ever Cursed is about the Princesses of a kingdom called Ever. A young witch casts a spell on the princesses to make them go without something; food, love, sleep, memories, or hope. After five years of this misery, the witch returns and gives them a way to break their curse in just a few short days. I hoped this would be a thrilling adventure of girls banding together in a kingdom they’ve never seen, but it was a slow paced, wrong-voiced read.
The way Ever Cursed is written, you’d think it was a middle grade story. It reminded me a lot of Wizards of Once and Dark Lord Clementine. And usually, that would be a good thing. But Ever Cursed is meant to be a YA; and a dark one at that. There’s sexual abuse, manipulation, gaslighting, sexism, and more hinted at through the early parts of the book. So when a character said “f*ck” for the first time, I was really thrown off because I just thought this whole time, I was reading a middle grade. The voice just never clicked for me.
The writing also circled around itself several times. Chapters, one after another, would repeat information we’d already gotten twice before and it felt slow. Like a whole lot of nothing going on. I appreciate the trigger warning we got right at the beginning, but it still didn’t really prepare me for all the abuse we underwent. It made me feel hopeless as a reader because I didn’t see a way things could improve with all the terrible things going on.
Ever Cursed also dragged on quite a bit, despite being a fast read. I got a quarter of the way through the book in one stretch of before-bed-time-reading. The prose itself read quickly, but the story dragged its feet. It was enough to keep me interested to finish, but I didn’t like doing it. The whole time I was reading, I just wanted to get to the next book on my TBR.
The cover is simply stunning, and I’m sure there are plenty of people who would fall head over heels for Ever Cursed, but unfortunately, I’m not one of them. The narrative style felt wrong for this book; too whimsical to counteract the dark themes. I’m sure it could have worked with a more careful hand, but to me, it didn’t.
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Maureen Johnson is the #1 New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of several YA novels, including 13 Little Blue Envelopes, Suite Scarlett, The Name of the Star, and Truly Devious. She has also done collaborative works, such as Let It Snow with John Green and Lauren Myracle (now on Netflix), and several works in the Shadowhunter universe with Cassandra Clare. Her work has appeared in publications such as The New York Times, Buzzfeed, and The Guardian, and she has also served as a scriptwriter for EA Games. She has an MFA in Writing from Columbia University and lives in New York City.
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