It's no secret that I am a huge fan of Armentrout's work. I am very excited, therefore, to have a brand new storyline from her to read. My two favorite things about Armentrout's writing are her strong characterization and her plots that contain nonstop action. Those two strengths shine through with Cursed.
Strong characterization doesn't always mean that the reader will like all the characters. In fact, there are a lot of characters in this book that the reader will not like. They are, however, distinct from one another in motivation and behavior, and they provide the structure for the reader to empathize even more strongly with the main character.
That main character, Ember, is an exceptionally strong female teen. Circumstance has required her to be so; she died in a car accident, only to have her gifted little sister bring her back. She learned quickly that she now brings death to anything she touches. That same car accident left her father dead, and her mother so emotionally damaged that Ember has to take on most of the responsibility for caring for her little sister, Olivia. And she has to do it without touching Olivia; in fact, without the comfort of any human touch whatsoever. Ember is easily one of my favorite YA heroines ever, both for her strength and her selflessness. She refuses to indulge in self-pity, and marches on against the odds. She has an ability that could easily become a weapon, yet she manages to endure the cruelty of others without lashing out. We need more YA heroines like Ember.
This is an action-packed plot that imprisons Ember, and at the same time, frees her. She is forced to question the motivation of every person who is nice to her, and the reader goes through the discovery process right along with her. There is just enough of a plot twist to make sure that the reader will not be able to guess the ending, yet that ending is still satisfying.
May I cast the first vote for "more, please?" I am hopeful that Armentrout will choose to continue to tell Ember's tale. She's only begun to explore this world, and I want to take the journey with her.