Review of Cursed by Keri Arthur

Title:  Cursed (Kingdoms of Earth and Air #2)

Author:  Keri Arthur

Reviewer: Shelley Russell Nolan

Synopsis: Whomsoever draws the sword from the ancient seat of this land shall rule it, and they shall bring peace and prosperity to its people.

For nearly a thousand years, the first-born son of every Cannamore King has drawn the sword, and the land and her people have indeed prospered.

Princess Nyx Bel-Hannon is neither male nor first-born, but it is her hand that draws the sword rather than her twin brother’s. As a reward, she is given a prison rather than a throne.

But a deep darkness now spreads across the Kingdom, and her borders are threatened by creatures capable of magic powerful enough to destroy mountains or split the land asunder. Without the true heir to wield the sword, Cannamore risks annihilation. The King and crown prince want nothing more than to be permanently rid of Nyx, but cannot afford her blood on their hands. Instead, they give her to a highland warlord in the hope he will do what they dare not. 

Nyx has no intention of letting the highlander get in the way of her thirst for revenge or the need to reclaim her throne. But it’s a quest that may well destroy the kingdom she loves.

Because Nyx has been cursed by the god of war. It is her destiny to save Cannamore.

Review: The second book in the series, Cursed opens with a gut wrenching bang and it does not let up until the last page. Though set in the same world as the first book, it features a new main character and is on a different continent. Nyx is the despised princess of Cannamore, forced into that position by her ruthless father and brother to hide the fact she is the true heir to the glass throne. The depths of her suffering over the past twelve years is slowly revealed, as is the strength of her desire for both freedom and revenge. Her chance comes when she is given to a highland lord and sent to serve as a soldier at the garrison defending Cannamore from the brutish Skaran. But once there she discovers that the savage Skaran are the least of her worries.

Nyx’s strengths come to the fore when she is reconnected with her earth powers and sent on reconnaissance to see what is the dark force that the wind had warned the highland lord about. I connected with Nyx, right from the start, and with the highlander, Donal, as well. They are such rich and interesting characters, brimming with so much life it was hard to remember that they were fictional. As they uncover the true nature of the threat Cannamore faces, they go above and beyond to prevent the destruction of everything they hold dear. But for Nyx, the chains of her past weight heavy, and she is forced to make the ultimate sacrifice to free herself from them.

This was the kind of story where you can’t help but cheer for the underdog as Nyx faces adversity after adversity, to reclaim her stolen heritage and save her people, while maintaining her sense of self and personal integrity. The action is thick and fast, the dangerous nature of the threat they face breathtaking, and it was engrossing to see Nyx overcoming the years of abuse she had endured to become a true warrior. It was equally wonderful to see those around her recognise her for who she truly was, even as I wanted to punch those that still refused to look past her father’s lies and manipulations. It made for a page turning read that I did not want to end. I really hope there are more stories to come in this series, even if I don’t get to catch up with familiar characters again.

Rating: Five Stars

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