Sunday, September 1, 2013

Review: Blessed Curses by Madeleine Ribbon

Blessed CursesTitle: Blessed Curses by Madeleine Ribbon
Genre: M/M Romance, Fantasy
Published August 7th 2013 by Dreamspinner Press
Length: 168 pages

Rating: 5 Stars

Though he’s a sorcerer with a talent for creating blessings, David can do very little with any other magic. He works the night shift for his cousin’s magical supply shop because he’s cursed—his brother did it when they were kids—and now people can’t stand to be near David since he inspires irrational fear. Many experts have tried to remove it, but the curse has proven completely binding. Then David meets Vaughn at his brother's wedding. 

Vaughn works for the magical enforcers, picking apart complex curses and making sure sorcerers stay within the law. He has the ability to dampen magical effects around him and loves solving supposedly irreversible curses like David’s. He quickly develops a more personal interest in David. Despite the distance David attempts to keep between them, he finally realizes when Vaughn is injured on the job that he doesn’t want to stay away anymore. But what about the curse?

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Blessed Curses is a lighthearted, fun read with a lot of fairy tale elements that will appeal to fans of fantasy and fairy tales. 

When he was a child, David was cursed by his brother, Todd, to be disliked and avoided by people. What started as sibling rivalry and insecurity on Todd's part, became an irreversible, life altering disability for David. Now as an adult, David has giving up on finding a cure after years of disappointment from many cursebreakers. When Vaughn comes along to break his curse and expresses a romance interest in him, David fears that all Vaughn really cares about is the curse. 

The side plot of the story involves a mysterious thief who breaks into magical supply shops to steal high profile magic dampening herbs. While Vaughn is trying to catch the thief, David finds the thief breaking into the magical supply shop where he works as a security guard. In the process of catching the thief, barriers between David and Vaughn are broken and David starts to really give their relationship a chance. 

David's character is very endearing, especially his geeky moments when he invites Vaughn to go to his house to play video games. Readers can easily sympathize with him about his curse and the resulting limited use of his magic with blessings. Since the story focuses more on David's character, not Vaughn's, that leaves readers feeling that Vaughn's character can be further developed and more can be learned about him. However, they do make a cute couple and David's nickname of hedgehog is really cute. 

I really liked the ideas behind Blessed Curses and the worldbuilding, especially how the magical community and the non-magical community function and tolerate each other. The story left me feeling giddy with the HEA ending. Best of all, the sex scene towards the end of the book actually made sense. It had a reason to be there and it helped the plot. Too many times, I've read M/M romance books with a sex scene towards the end of the book with no reason. Of course, I appreciate the smut but the scene seems to serve no purpose other than to reaffirm the MCs' love for each other. 

I would have loved the story more if it was longer and explored Vaughn's character more. I'm still not completely convinced that Vaughn would make the kind of sacrifice that he did at the end of book to break David's curse. I wish there was more to solidify the characters and make them more "real," beyond being characters in a fairy tale book. Nevertheless, I really enjoyed reading the story, its paranormal setting, and its unique ideas. This is definitely a story that I would re-read and recommend for fans of fantasy and fairy tales. 

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