Cursed Moon – Jaye Wells

About the Book

When a rare Blue Moon upsets the magical balance in the city, Detective Kate Prospero and her Magical Enforcement colleagues pitch in to help Babylon PD keep the peace. Between potions going haywire and everyone’s emotions running high, every cop in the city is on edge. But the moon’s impact is especially strong for Kate who’s wrestling with guilt over falling off the magic wagon.

After a rogue wizard steals dangerous potions from the local covens, Kate worries their suspect is building a dirty magic bomb. Her team must find the anarchist rogue before the covens catch him, and make sure they defuse the bomb before the Blue Moon deadline. Failure is never an option, but success will require Kate to come clean about her secrets.

370 pages (paperback)
Published on August 12, 2014
Published by Orbit
Author’s webpage
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This book was sent for me to review by the publisher.

I really loved Dirty Magic. I thought it was a fantastic example of urban fantasy I didn’t expect to like but ended up liking quite a bit. It was well written, fun, dark, intense, and full of characters that you can’t help but remember. It made a mark on me, and I just about jumped on Cursed Moon when I was informed that it was on Netgalley.

Cursed Moon is another example of powerful characters, and an addicting, dark plot. Cursed Moon is a bit grittier than its predecessor, and there is plenty of content here (dealing with sexual assault) which might offend readers or make them rather uncomfortable, but if you go in expecting it, and prepared for it, you’ll probably enjoy this one quite a bit.

Kate Prospero is a hard character to forget. She burst into the urban fantasy scene last year and certainly made her mark. She’s strong, capable, and isn’t willing to bend her morals and standards for a quick roll in the hay. I instantly appreciated the fact that she was her own woman, and she was a strong, fierce character that constantly battled something that could overpower her easily (addiction).

Wells only expands on that in Cursed Moon. Kate’s past and the things that went into creating her adult self are expanded on quite a bit. Her past is fleshed out. We meet her infamous uncle and we see a bit of the tug-and-pull of their relationship. Her brother, who she is raising, and their rather strained and difficult sibling relationship is explored a little more. Her network of support is needed, and her relationship to her partner is strained in some predictable and unpredictable ways.

In short, Cursed Moon is a fantastic novel that really fleshes out who Kate is, and how she came to be that person, and Wells does all of that fantastically. I think it would be very difficult to fault the way Wells creates her characters. They are all so compelling, and while they might seem fairly simple on the surface, she does a wonderful job at adding subtle and compelling layers to all of the people she creates.

Cursed Moon also fleshes out the magic system, the nuances of it, and the underground and shadow culture that surrounds the magic. It also shows a bit more of the power-play between the haves and the have-nots. It’s quite compelling and was necessary. In fact, Cursed Moon added so much in the way of magic and culture that I think Wells has laid the groundwork for something truly amazing in future installments of the series. There’s always room for more depth, but I think Wells has finished with most of the heavy lifting in Cursed Moon.

The plot, as I mentioned above, deals with sexual scenes that can be somewhat graphic and pretty uncomfortable if that sort of thing bothers you. Cursed Moon is surprisingly dark and incredibly emotional. Wells deals with it with aplomb, but I can see how some readers might think it’s a little over-the-top and just too much for their taste. Readers should be aware of that before they jump in. Know your topical limits and if sexual violence and uncomfortable sexual situations is one of them, you might want to stray from this book.

That being said, the truly graphic stuff that might turn readers away is actually pretty short in the scope of things. It should be fairly easy to skip over/breeze through quickly and move beyond. The truth is, there is so much in this book to enjoy and so much to savor that the sexual aspects shouldn’t be too off-putting, but I still think readers should be aware before they dive in.

The dark elements in the plot seem to highlight the moral and emotional battles the characters are facing with the world around them, as well as themselves. While the characters are all fairly morally gray in some ways, the contrast between light and dark in Cursed Moon really made me look at many of the central players differently. It was actually quite moving and I didn’t expect it.

In fact, there’s a lot about Cursed Moon that I didn’t expect.

Cursed Moon actually surprised me. It was brave in the fact that Wells seemed to dive into darker waters than I ever expected. She seemed to say, “to hell with caution” and just went for it all. It paid off. There is massive amounts of character development, history explored, magic and world expanded on, and a plot that is as emotionally powerful as it is gripping. This series is really revving up to something great. I can’t wait to see where Wells goes next.

 

4/5 stars

 

One Responses

  • My UF reading experience is rather limited (Harry Dresden and The Iron Druid) and I have been wanting to expand it. I like magic systems that are backed up with explanations which sounds exactly like what Jaye Wells does in this book. Thanks to your review I have another book for the pile! 🙂

    Reply

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