“Cursed” by Thomas Wheeler and illustrated by Frank Miller is a book that really is an experience. This book is very creative, essentially having a storyline that is a reimagined version of Camelot. Though it has many of the characters from the beloved franchise, “Cursed” couldn’t be farther from it in terms of the plot, character relationships, and storyline. I mentioned earlier that it is an “experience” and though all books are, this one really is filled with countless twists and turns. You won’t be able to understand or even predict what the book is as a whole until you reach the end. “Cursed” follows the story of our heroine, Nimue, a “fae” who lives in her village with her mother, who is the head. Despite her status, she is an outcast in her village because of the scars on her back, the mark of dark magic and what leads the village to believe that she is cursed, since even her father had left her. There finally comes a day when it is all too much, and Nimue decides to leave her village with her only friend, Pym, who tries to convince her otherwise. She realises that she has missed her boat, but when she returns to her village, it is no longer the same place that she remembers. Left and right, there are people being burned at the stake, shoved in the mud and murdered by the Red Paladin, members of a cult determined to rid of fae folk. Nimue desperately searches for her mother, but when she finally finds her, it’s too late. Her mother had suffered a bad wound, but before she dies, she hands Nimue a sword and tells her to find Merlin. Nimue escapes with the help of the sword, and it seems as though she is the only one to survive from her village. We then follow Nimue on her quest to find Merlin, but to also seek her newfound revenge against the Red Paladins.
In “Cursed”, all of these events happen within the first few pages, and there is still a lot to come as well as details I omitted to keep the summary brief. Like I mentioned, this book is filled with twists and turns as well as a lot of events. This makes it extremely important for the writing to be well executed. I don’t think that the writing is bad, but it can be confusing and difficult to follow from time to time. It doesn’t help that in addition to everything that is going on, there are also many points of view. A few things that I did like however were that unlike many books that show multiple perspectives, this one wasn’t as “formal”, which is a unique and interesting approach. What I mean by formal is that there were probably more than 5 different points of views and they weren’t used consistently either, some being used only once in the entire book. This was something that impressed me because even though the point of views can make things more confusing, they weren’t what made the book hard to follow, which were the lack of details. This book also had many creative ideas with great potential, which could have been stringed together better with more detailed writing. The book included illustrations as well which were a creative touch, since they aren't usually found in chapter books. In summary, this book is very creative with a lot of great ideas and unique additions, the only downside being the lack of details in the writing that make it difficult to understand every now and then. Regarding the book as a whole, I would recommend “Cursed” to people who like “dark fantasy” because there are a lot of gruesome scenes and even though it may seem fairytale-esque, the book takes a much darker approach. “Cursed” is an overall good read.
This book was reviewed by Carlingwood Teen Advisory Group member Rahmeen Rahman. Rahmeen Rahman is a Grade 9 student from Woodroffe High School.