Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK
Released: September 3rd 2011
My Rating: 3 stars out of 5
For the past two years, Jenn has lived and trained at Spain's Sacred Heart Academy Against the Cursed Ones. She is among the few who have pledged to defend humanity or die trying. But the vampires are gaining power, and the battle has only just begun. Forced to return home after death takes a member of her family, Jenn discovers that San Francisco is now a vampire strong-hold. As a lone hunter apart from her team, Jenn is isolated and at risk. She craves the company of her fighting partner, Antonio; his protection, his reassurance, his touch. But a relationship with Antonio comes with its own dangers, and the more they share of themselves, the more Jenn stands to lose. Then Jenn is betrayed by one who was once bound to protect her, causing her to doubt all she had held as true. To survive, Jenn must find the courage to trust herself - and her heart. (from Goodreads)
The Cursed Ones begins with Jenn, our protagonist, and the Salamancan Hunters on a mission to destroy three Cursed Ones. Ever since they announced their existence to the world, with claims of living with humans in peace, the Earth has been divided – the people who are with the Cursed Ones, and the people who are against them. Jenn is against them – she’s seen what they can do and knows their quest for peace is just a lie fed to humans to keep them docile. But Jenn is a hunter now, and she won’t just stand there and do nothing. But when the Cursed Ones take something precious to her, will she have the courage to fight like a hunter, when it means risking the lives of people she loves?
The Cursed Ones was an interesting book – I loved the idea that the Cursed Ones, or vampires, “come out” with their existence – it’s very different to any other vampire novel I’ve read. The idea that everyone hated the hunters who were trying to protect them was also something I liked, because it just made the situation seem so much more desperate and unfair. My favourite parts of the book were probably the flashbacks, especially the ones about Aurora and Antonio, because as well as helping to build up the characters, it also gave insight into a world before people knew vampires existed, which was very interesting to read about.
However, I did have a few issues with The Cursed Ones which is the reason it’s rated 3 stars. First of all, the main character Jenn, and there is no other word for it, was annoying. She was constantly doubting herself and her abilities, she always, always, always had to be “rescued” by someone (mainly Antonio, who rushed to her side the moment her knees even “buckled”) and the moments where she did actually do some awesome fighting, she ruined it by complaining she’d done it wrong and the consequences were all her fault blah blah blah. I wanted to jump into the book, shake her and say “Pull yourself together!” It seemed she was suffering from a severe case of Bellaitis. I mean, I understand having a heroine that isn’t very confident, which is fine, but I felt with Jenn it went too far. And because of this, the ending was hard to believe, because if she had never before thought she was a good fighter, then why would she suddenly accept she was “special” – especially when there was absolutely no evidence to suggest this?
Another issue I had is that there were a lot of things that I found hard to believe, the main thing being Antonio and Jenn’s relationship. They both claimed to love each other (we know from the beginning they are in some kind of relationship), yet this is never explained, and we never see how their feelings developed. It was all just, “I love Antonio, but I can’t be with him” and “I will never let anything happen to you Jenn, my love”. I understood that they loved each other, but why? They barely talked to each other. Scratch that, they barely even saw each other! How can we be expected to believe these two characters were hopelessly in love when they’ve never even sat down and had a real conversation? We never find out what drew them to each other in the first place – it just seemed so odd that they were willing to die for one another when they practically knew nothing about each other.
Another thing I didn’t really buy was Jenn’s dad. What he did was just twisted and unrealistic and just so odd and crazy. I mean, I suspected he hadn’t forgiven Jenn (and thought she was stupid for believing him), but I just can’t believe a man that claimed to love his wife and his daughter (Heather) would be idiotic and cruel enough to do what he did. Even if he were cruel, how can someone be so STUPID? How could he not figure out what would happen? Then he turned into a complete coward, completely forgetting about his original aim. It just seemed so ugh – it frustrated me. I felt like no real person could be like this character. He just annoyed me so much and I really didn’t enjoy the parts of the book he was in.
One thing that was quite good was the use of language for each character. Jamie, who was Irish, often said a lot of British and Irish phrases (though as a Brit myself, I can safely say no-one says “bloody hell” THAT much), and Antonio, who was Spanish, often said things in his native language, as did Eriko, who was from Japan. I felt this helped build their characters and give the reader a sense of who they were.
In conclusion, The Cursed Ones had a very interesting premise, but was lacking in likeable characters and had a plot that was difficult to follow.