Book: Cursed by S.J. Harper
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publication Date: October 1st, 2013
Where Did I Get This Book: Library
First Sentence: “You’ve seen one dark, rugged werewolf, you’ve seen them all.”
Description: Meet FBI Agents Emma Monroe and Zack Armstrong.
She’s cursed. He’s damned. Together, they make one hell of a team.
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.
After reading the cover description, I was genuinely intrigued. I haven’t read many books about Sirens, especially fallen ones, so I thought it was an interesting enough concept. So I decided to give Cursed a shot.
Although the police procedural plot is a common one among urban fantasies, the authors did an excellent job injecting enough uniqueness into the main character, Emma, to keep the story interesting. We’ve all read our fair share of urban fantasy cop stories, but because of Emma’s heritage (she is a greek siren who was cursed by Demeter), the story is able to take turns you wouldn’t normally see. Emma has the power to seduce people into telling the truth, which comes in handy a number of times throughout the book.
From the book description, you might think that the story leans more paranormal romance than urban fantasy. I don’t feel like that is the case at all. Sure, there is a fraction of the plot that is focused on the romance aspect between Emma and her new partner, Zack, but the meat and bones of the story is the arc of the FBI agents finding the missing victims.
I feel like the authors did a number of things well, the mystery was well written and developed, I enjoyed the two main characters and the plot line was surprisingly creative. However, my main issue with this book lies within the Emma’s history. It’s not the fact that she’s a fallen Siren, as I mentioned before, I truly enjoyed this creative take. My problem was that Emma doesn’t feel like a fallen siren. She’s supposed to have lived for thousands and thousands of years, but I don’t get that wisdom from her. She acts like a normal woman her age. She doesn’t have any quirks or mannerisms that hint to her age. We also don’t get a lot of history from Emma, so it makes that aspect of the story somewhat disconnected. Which is a huge problem. Emma’s history is supposed to be a huge influencing factor on her current life (it’s the reason she’s on earth, it’s the reasons he’s finding missing women), but it’s treated almost like an afterthought.
All that aside, I did enjoy Cursed. It was a quick and entertaining read and I will definitely continue the series.