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The Curse of the King

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Laura Wilson is the heir to an ancient curse.

As a young witch descending from the very powerful trio of witches that had cursed Macbeth, the pressure she faces daily is non-stop. When Laura is forced to participate in her school’s rendition of the classic play, she gives herself a single task: breaking the curse once and for all.

This task proves itself to be more difficult than she ever could have imagined when a miscast spell leads to the summoning of her dead ancestor, Cecily Wilson, one of the very witches that cursed Macbeth.

As Laura attempts to send her resurrected relative back beyond the veil, she is faced with one of the harsh realities of high school—having a crush on her best friend, Holly. However, things only get more complicated as Holly pines after Peter, a lonely, quick-witted vampire.

While she grows closer to Cecily, Laura sees first-hand the true horrors of being a witch in Elizabethan England as demonic forces arise in her little town of Shipley Hollow.

Can Laura break the curse and save her family name before the curtains rise on opening night?

Brought to you by Winnie Lyon, The Curse of the King is an action-packed novel with mysterious and magical twists at every turn.

Kindle Edition

Published September 1, 2020

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Winnie Lyon

3 books7 followers

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5 stars
23 (54%)
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Displaying 1 - 23 of 23 reviews
Profile Image for Brianna Sugalski.
Author 3 books201 followers
May 6, 2020
Once I read the synopsis, I've waited for the day there'd be a Goodreads page. So excited to read, Winnie!
Profile Image for Maria.
2 reviews2 followers
June 14, 2020
i saw this book on tiktok and i’m excited!
Profile Image for Kat Mullen.
117 reviews28 followers
September 5, 2020
Thank you Parliament Press for the review copy!

As a theatre kid and a Buffy fan I had the BEST time reading this book.

It does deal with some serious themes, but in such a relatable way. The writing is exactly my type of writing because it’s how I think and write. I was obsessed with the premise the second I read it. Theatre! Witches! Vampires! Queers! Shakespeare! The whole thing gave me such Buffy season 1-4 vibes and I LOVED that.

I wrote 5 pages of notes while reading and had no idea how to turn them into a coherent review. So I hope I’ve done that below :P

Relatable to Theatre Kids

There were so many moments I read and was like ‘hella relatable’ or ‘that’s such a theatre kid thing.’ During my high school musicals we were rebels and went around the theatre screaming ‘MACBETH!’ just to spite the curse, so it was funny seeing the gravitas put on it here (though seeing as the curse is 100% real in this world, makes sense). I felt so much nostalgia when they were sitting in a circle of stage reading through the script. I miss those days!

So many moments where I just said ‘me.’
Laura getting cast: “I didn’t expect to get this far” - me with my Big Brother Audition sitting in the second the last round.
“Oh my god, he’s a vampire” - legit would be my actual reaction
‘I’ve always been scared of drowning’ - yep, me too.

And the theatre kids moments! ‘Once the props crew gets their shit together’ and
- demon threatens to kill her - "I actually have a performance in a few weeks, so it would be really inconvenient to recast" had me cackling! 😂😂😂

Laura

Laura is a great protagonist! She has confidence that can only come with being a teenager, she’s determined, she speaks like an actual teenager, and references things that teenagers would actually reference. She uses her powers for everyday things like locking her door, which I would totally do. She doesn’t wallow about things, she does what needs to be done because she knows she can go back to other things later. But she’s not as good at hiding her crush on Holly as she thinks 😛

Holly
I love Holly! We stan a supportive bff that stays for the plot. She doesn’t disappear as soon as the plot starts like we see in so many other stories.
Laura: “This is insane, right?”
Holly: “Yeah, but not so insane that we can’t still do it” YES.
She accepts knew magical information really well and she didn’t feel like a side kick, she felt like a partner in crime. She had me cackling and saying ‘I love her!’ so much.
When Laura yelled for Holly to come quickly she comes running with a magic book and a blood bag - “didn’t know what kind of emergency it was” 😂😂 Loved it!

Peter
I didn’t know what to make of Peter when he first turned up but soon after I was like ‘this boy is adorable!’ and I pictured him as Jordan Fisher the whole time. Definitely got some Simon Lewis vibes from him: “How long have you been a vampire?” “A little over a year” 😂 Peter became the person they called for help and he was instantly there. The friendship group in this book was one of my favourite things.

Family/Friendship
Friendship was a HUGE part of this book and there was also some focus on family. The girls are gone from their houses for days and their parents didn’t even care, which could’ve been bad writing, but was revealed to be terrible parenting. Holly’s parents are terrible and Laura’s mum isn’t the best but the girls are aware of it and Laura wants to work on repairing her relationship with her mum. Because the family relationships are so rocky the friendships became even more important and the ‘found family’ feel of it was great.


I Just Love It

Three pages in I already wrote my first note about how I loved the writing and how it was only exposition but I already laughed. Later on there was some back and forth of questions between Laura and Peter. It was quick fire exposition and it worked so well. And the banter! “Sabrina? That’s a ballsy name coming from you, Dracula” 👌

Any book that has a chapter that opens with ‘oh, f*ck’ has my love. There are witches, vampires, merfolk, nymphs, and werewolves in this world. It’s only a standalone, but I want more!

There were little things that make me love the book even more. Like Holly putting her phone in her bra so she has a free hand to climb. * shakes fist at women’s clothing without pockets *

Things that usually wouldn’t get explained in books got explanations here. Like why does the coven leader live in a huge mansion? She owns a multi-million dollar witchery company. And when there wasn’t an explanation it was addressed too: “So ghosts have to breathe, but vampires don’t? The magic world needs to get itself together.” ha! A lot of the writing was just very self aware and I appreciated that.

The Macbeth quotes were funny as a Hamilton fan though, like: “tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow creeps in this petty pace from day to day.” - tell me you didn’t hear that in Lin Manuel-Miranda’s voice? 😂


Chapter Titles
And to wrap up, the chapter titles made me laugh, so here’s some of my faves:
‘A brief interlude, to the tune of high school’
‘Thought all this was complicated? Buckle up!'
‘Interview with a vampire’
‘That got dark, let’s debrief’
Profile Image for Alice J..
Author 54 books51 followers
September 4, 2020
This book was unputdownable! I loved the story and the characters from beginning to end and devoured this in just a couple of days. Laura is a witch and a direct descendant from the witches who placed the curse on Macbeth. When she realises she’ll have to act in the school reproduction of that very title, she wants to do all she can in order to remove the curse.
The Curse of the King was a fast paced novel dealing with issues of not only the supernatural, but friendships, family and relationships too. The characters were developed and likeable and I loved the snarky banter between Laura and Peter, her best friends almost-beau.
And the friendship between Laura and Holly, her best friend since forever, is just amazing. I can see the love and feel how much they care for one another so that when this develops further into something that Laura has been longing for for a long time, it feels just perfect.
I honestly loved this book and would definitely recommend!
Profile Image for Olivia.
110 reviews6 followers
September 11, 2020
Thank you Parliament Press for sending me an eARC in exchange for an honest review.

The Curse of the King was such a great mix of magic and Shakespeare. The main character Laura is the descendant of the witches who cursed Macbeth, and when she’s cast in her school’s production of Macbeth the century’s old curse strikes again. I haven’t read much Shakespeare so that might have been why it took me a bit to get into the book, but after Peter was introduced as his full vampire-self, I was hooked. I really liked how even though I knew little about the play itself, I rarely felt lost or confused by the references. Overall this was a great read and I can’t wait to see what else this author comes out with!
Profile Image for Lauren Kelsen.
448 reviews34 followers
September 2, 2020
This was the perfect witchy book to start Spooky Season off with! More and more I am becoming a HUGE fan of retellings, and this Macbeth retelling hit the spot! If you are a fan of witches, breaking curses and Shakespeare then this is a must read. I absolutely loved the coven structure and heritage of Laura and other witch families. The whole keep the supernatural world hush, hush to humans was very suspenseful and I loved that Laura’s bestie just accepted it all no questions asked. Even though the characters are in highschool they are still very relatable and easy to like. This was a fast paced and exciting book, and I am sooo happy I picked it up!!
Profile Image for Nessa.
499 reviews2 followers
September 1, 2020
So I really enjoyed reading this book. The curse, the drama, the magic, the romance, the spells, the characters, oh my! First, I just want to take a moment and say that the spells in this book were awesome! They were like poetry and were so cleverly written, I was extremely impressed! There was non-stop action happening in the plot so this book was a real page-turner. So much happens to the characters in a single weekend, it’s amazing they can still pull themselves out of bed for school on Monday morning. I loved the supportive friendship between Laura, Holly, and Peter and the romance that comes later on (I won’t say between who, you’ll have to read the book to find out). The nicknames that Laura and Peter came up with for each other were so entertaining to read. Another thing I really enjoyed were the flashback scenes Laura experienced where she would go back in time as her ancestor Cecily to experience moments she went through during the European witch trials.

Some problems I had with the book were about Laura’s mother and the rules of the magic world. There’s a part in the book where Laura gets in huge trouble with her mother because of something she did and her mother ends up kicking her out of the house. I thought this was a little over dramatic because kicking your kid out of the house is never a solution and it’s not going to help fix the problem. Her mother was also super caring towards Holly, who had a bad relationship with her family so you’d think that Laura’s mother wouldn’t recreate this behaviour with her own daughter. Onto the rules of the magic world. Sometimes I felt like the rules were just there to help the plot but did not make sense in the overall scheme of things. Even Peter from the book thought so cause he says “The rules of magic sound like bullshit" 😂 The final problem I had was super random but… who doesn’t warm up their pasta sauce before they mix it with the pasta noodles?!?! There’s a scene in the book where Peter is cooking pasta and the noodles are done and he “pulls a jar of marinara…from the fridge” and the girls just put that straight onto their pasta… Who does this?!

Anyway this was a pretty great book overall and I enjoyed reading the story! If you love Shakespeare, theatre, witches, curses, and LGBTQ+ representation then definitely go check this book out! Also please tell me in the comments if you eat your pasta like Laura and Holly 😊
Profile Image for Vim.
110 reviews11 followers
August 23, 2020
Parliament House Press graciously provided me an eARC in exchange for an honest review. In no way has this affected my opinion of the book.

Have you ever wanted to back out of a school play’s audition? Probably yes, out of stage fright perhaps but I would bet it’s not because the play is cursed by your bitchy witchy ancestors that death would sure ensue during the performance. Welcome to the life of Laura Wilson, a normal witch with normal witch problems including crushing on Holly, her best friend, who is pining after Peter, who is – surprise – a vampire, raising a relative from the dead, and being in a play that would definitely kill people.

Lyon excelled in putting together an endearing band of friends with relationships as healthy as kale, which is saying a lot, in the YA world full of relationships more toxic than cyanide. Let the implied love triangle not turn you away because it had nothing of what makes the trope annoying. The main cast does not fail to engage the reader, from the witty banters and nicknames to the power team they form, that you would be quite willing to overlook the weird circumstances that all of these kids parents are conveniently absent throughout the book.

I also loved details to the world-building, how linguistics play its role in spell-making, the industry fueled by witchcraft, and many more. That said, there were also aspects that felt quite rushed and too convenient, such as how easy important spells could be performed without having to raise the stakes.

Sadly, being the uncultured swine that I am, I haven’t read Macbeth. I have no idea about half of the Shakespeare references thrown into the story and while that’s on me, I really wish there was a bit more context to the Shakespearean aspects of the story, just so it doesn’t feel like I have to read Macbeth before reading this book.

The Curse of the King is a book with so much potential, spell-binding enough to make me devour the story in one sitting. It’s definitely a fun read which is what I would expect when you throw vampires, witches, and the dead with Shakespeare. Its endearing characters interesting and world of magic makes this book a good read, especially for YA readers out there.


Characters: ★★★★/5
Plot: ★★★/5
Writing: ★★★.5/5
Total: ★★★.5/5

Profile Image for Siavahda.
Author 2 books110 followers
Shelved as 'dnf-it-s-not-you-it-s-me'
November 18, 2020
I really wish Curse of the King came from a bigger publisher, or at least one with more of a marketing budget, because I think it could be a huge hit if just made it onto more people's radar! The writing is very strong, there's a refreshing lack of pointless drama, and Lyon has walked the very fine between overthinking and underthinking her magic system. Her worldbuilding is padded well enough to meet the genre standard, and her characters are great.

Which is probably a bit of a strange thing to say, when I'm marking it as a DNF, but the problems I had with this book aren't ones that will bother most readers. I found the basic premise flawed - the reasoning behind why the main character's ancestors cursed The Scottish Play felt very flimsy to me, and that kind of thing makes it impossible for me to enjoy the story. (It's very possible that later in the book the reasoning is expanded on, and I just didn't get to it). Laura's decision to overturn the curse also didn't seem to have a whole lot of motivation behind it, like she just decided attempt a very dangerous thing Just Because. I also found the behaviour of the characters sometimes very arbitrary and hand-wavey - Laura's insistence on not telling Holly that her crush is a vampire, for example, didn't seem to be driven by anything except The Plot Requires This.

I'm also a huge anti-fan of irresponsible or outright stupid adults leaving teenagers to clean up their mess, and between the mother, the local coven-head, and the ghost of Laura's ancestor - not to mention the vampire who turned Holly's crush - there were just stupid adults everywhere.

But I think there are a lot of readers looking for stories about teen witches, and vampires, and ghosts, and I think most of them would enjoy Curse of the King a lot.
Profile Image for Jen.
228 reviews2 followers
August 19, 2020
The cover of ᴛʜᴇ ᴄᴜʀꜱᴇ ᴏꜰ ᴛʜᴇ ᴋɪɴɢ by Winnie Lyon is gorgeous and suits the story well. It's quite detailed but with the colours being simple, I didn't feel overwhelmed looking at it.

The author showcases a catchy writing style, that makes it near to impossible to put this book aside. The story itself is fast-paced and full of action. Also, even though it's a more serious kind of book, some scenes and conversations really made me giggle. There have been some jumps in time / throwbacks to history and memories, which kept the story interesting.

The romance in this book has been more of a slow-burn, which I didn't mind. The only thing I found a bit weird there, has been the constant reminder that the main character is gay. Don't get me wrong, it's not the fact that she's gay. It's a cute and heart warming romance between the two of them. But why does the author mention her sexuality every couple of pages? It confused me a bit as I honestly understood it the first few times she mentioned it.

The characters are amazing. Sometimes, I felt totally bad for the protagonist and her friends. Their task just seemed so damn huge and unbearable, but in saying so they also mastered it in a stunning way. They're so full of courage, forgiveness, and kindness. I love them.

I can definitely recommend ᴛʜᴇ ᴄᴜʀꜱᴇ ᴏꜰ ᴛʜᴇ ᴋɪɴɢ to all you YA and witch lovers out there. This book is an easy and fun read with amazing characters, a great setting, and a massive adventure. I mean modern witches and vampires? Call me intrigued. Mix that with ancient witches, a mighty curse, and Shakespeare? Count me in! I'm absolutely looking forward to see what else this author has coming our way.
Profile Image for Cat Gandhi (feedmefiction).
132 reviews7 followers
September 1, 2020
I am conflicted about this book. I loved the premise, it sounded delicious and new to me - I’m not overly familiar with Macbeth and I was looking forward to reading about the witches and bringing it into modern times. I’m not aware of many Macbeth-esque tales? If you know of any please let me know!

So I went into this with a lot of enthusiasm and it started well, I sped through the first 30% and enjoyed it … but then it seemed to nosedive. A lot was happening, many hoops needed jumping through but they were never big hoops, just little steps that were easily overcome. Our protagonists figured everything out far too neatly in some respects (I often felt like I was being told and not shown) and there were odd bits that didn’t add up for me.

For example, why did we need a vampire? Peter seemed a bit out of place since he was apparently just a tool to help Holly realise she liked girls. And when Laura started time-travelling it yanked me out of the story every time and some of the language just didn’t seem to fit with the characters although I do enjoy a bit of sass. There was also the inclusion of the vampire who turned Peter and was supposed to be a big bad and nasty, but when they need her help she gives it willingly and even gives Laura a hug? what?

So not a winner for me but I would love to hear other people’s views and chat about it! It is a shame because I had high hopes for something fresh but it fell a little flat for me.
Profile Image for Rafael Rodriguez.
47 reviews1 follower
September 1, 2020
Firstly I want to thank Parliament Press For Sending me an eARC in exchange for an honest review.

The curse of the Kind was such an immersive book it was easy to fall into and follow the plot. As ive read Macbeth Before hand I understood the references to it. Even then i felt the way they were written into the story line I do not believe you need to read Macbeth prior to understand the references they are easy to follow.

I found the love triangle between Laura to to her best friend holly who is after peter The Vampire, You ca never go wrong with Mixing Vampires and Witches Together. When usually introduced to a love triangle we are used to getting Very Toxic Relationships but Lyon did a good job keeping everything at face value and giving s some refreshing insights into the relationship building.

Furthermore Lyon did an amazing job with world building especial when tying in The past into the present. I did feel that in certain places the spell building was a little to easy compared to the situation and would of liked the stakes to have a been a little higher.
Over all i enjoyed the book and it was an amazing adventure would definitely recommend to anyone who is the mood for a witchy vampire teen romance.

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September 3, 2020
Don't hesitate to follow me on Instagram : @bookdragon_society
Found me on my blog for more reviews and bookish articles : https://thebookdragonsociety.wordpres...


🇬🇧 | E N G |
I have received this eARC by The Parliament House Press in exchange of an honest review.

Title : The Curse of the King
Author : Winnie Lyon
Genre : Dark Fantasy
Rate : 4 / 5

This first novel was quite a ride! Be ready to be enchanted by some magic and shakespearian words or in this case, by some curse.

For a first novel, the author is doing great! Her appropriation of the play Macbeth as well as the historical context of 17th century England is highly appreciated.

The magical and cryptic universe of the novel and its characters allowed me to appreciate and make me curious about the famous play.

As you can see, the potential is very present in this author and I look forward to discovering her future novels. No doubt, she is an author to follow.



“I, along with my entire family, am a witch, and that for four hundred years the name Shakespeare has been more or less unspeakable for us. I wonder what he’d say if he knew that my family, my ancestors, were responsible for the infamous curse of Macbeth.”


➡️ ➡️ ➡️ The full review is posted on my blog : https://thebookdragonsociety.wordpres...
Profile Image for Luxe.
76 reviews6 followers
September 1, 2020
I received a copy of this book from The Parliament House Press for reviewing purposes. THIS DOES NOT INFLUENCE MY OPINIONS IN ANY WAY.

Let me tell you right now that I am still really torn as to where I stand with this book. The premise of this is absolutely intriguing and I can't help but be pulled to it because of the gorgeous cover as well! However, it took me a while to actually get into the story because I never really connected with Laura, our protagonist, from the start. It's disappointing since I really think she's a great character and I tried very hard to like her. So for me, that can be a deal-breaker as I am mostly a character-driven reader. However, that's not to say that I didn't enjoy the book altogether.

I found the plot of this to be unique and interesting. The fact that I am not that well-versed about Shakespeare did not take any of the book's appeal from me. The worldbuilding was great and it's been a while since I've read anything with witches and curses like this one.

Overall, the characters were the only let-down for me and with that aside, I really did enjoy this book! It is action-packed and has me constantly turning the pages!
Profile Image for CrazyBlondeNerd.
21 reviews
September 2, 2020
As a theatre nerd and horror/thriller addict, this book was right up my ally. I loved the idea of a curse based on a play. Mixed with elements of magic, romance and drama were amazing. The spells were great, the magic was a bit oddly done, but I still enjoyed it. I like different takes on magic, witches and the supernatural. It was filled with action so you didnt get bored and made sure you couldn't put it down. The friendships between the characters were great, supportive and exactly what you see in a true friendship. Some of the family drama gets pretty dramatic and confused me a bit. I don't think it need to escalate to that level. Overall though I enjoyed it. If you enjoy theatre, magic and Shakespeare, you'll enjoy this book.
1 review
January 24, 2021
I am not usually one to go for a fantasy novel, but after reading the synopses, this one intrigued me. I am so glad I took a chance on a book in a genre so different from what I'm used to. Once I started, it was hard to put down. I loved the fast pace and at no point was I able to predict what would happen next. I highly recommend this book to anyone, regardless of their interests. There is something in this book for everyone whether it is theatre, Shakespeare, witches, vampires, romance, LGBTQ+, humor, relatable high school experiences, history, thrillers, mysteries, coming of age and family legacy. I wish I could read this book for the first time again. Do yourself a favor and get yourself a copy today.
Profile Image for Lizbeth.
565 reviews22 followers
June 16, 2021
Laura's family is unconventional. They have cursed the Macbeth play and ever since strange accidents have been happening to people who play characters in the play. This quickly becomes an issue as Laura ends up forced to play a role in the play. It's also not just her, but her best friend as well.

She has to figure out how to undo a centuries old curse even as her coven is telling her not to do it and that she does not have the required experience.

This is a sapphic tale of witchcraft, friendship and monster filled adventures. It had a bit of an early season 2-3 Buffy feeling to it as it is also filled with humor (plus there are vampires in thsi world).

I very much enjoyed my time with this and I flew through it. I was pleasantly surprised
January 11, 2021
Lyon is an exceptional writer who managed to create a compelling and modern "maturation" *wink* novel set apart from the overdone, eye-roll, gag-worthy, hetero, tortured, awesomely-powered coming of age novels. The magic system is new and unique, and the lore contains various flavors of past and present while managing to stand on its own. The novel is absolutely dripping in queer, which is fitting as magic's totally gay, is it not? It was a refreshing read, and has this Queer's lil-gay-stamp-of-approval.

Thanks to the author for fulfilling my former teen's dream of reading a fantasy novel full of people like me. <3
Profile Image for Heather.
37 reviews1 follower
September 4, 2020
This story was a great way to begin fall. It has everything that you would need, witches, vampires, and spells done on a full moon night. The writing was well done and will keep you from wanting to put down the book.
Profile Image for Kate.
12 reviews9 followers
February 9, 2021
A book that draws you in from the beginning- it was hard to put down! The characters are well developed and lovable, the plot was exciting, and the writing was beautiful. I definitely recommend this book to anyone who likes supernatural themes!
Profile Image for Em.
80 reviews8 followers
October 16, 2020
A great homage to Shakespeare, high school, and witchcraft. Loved reading it!
Profile Image for Kathy.
Author 1 book218 followers
February 5, 2023
I really enjoyed this, even if I can pick apart certain parts of it.

I talk about this book in this wrap up video.
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