by Alyssa Day
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Excerpt: Yes | Book Trailer: No
Reviewed by: Kate | Source: NetGalley
Bordertown private investigator Luke Oliver’s beat is the dimensional fold in Manhattan between the human and supernatural realms. But now a secret from his past—the League of the Black Swan—has surfaced. Because Luke isn’t any ordinary P.I. He’s the Dark Wizard of Bordertown, and he never backs down from a fight.
But this time the fight threatens his life and his heart. Rio Jones, the only woman he loved, needs his help against a deadly menace. Luke pushed her away once before, so she’d never fall prey to the curse that threatens to destroy him. He swore he’d never let her go again.
Luke and Rio, with the help of the newly reformed League, must keep evil forces from taking over Bordertown—all the while battling a passion on the razor’s edge between danger and desire. And going to take everything they have just to stay alive.
The blurb for THE CURSED was what drew me in- a supernatural private investigator in a dimensional fold in New York City with a romance storyline to boot? Yes please! But if there is one thing I’d like to get across with this review, it is that though THE CURSED definitely has those elements, it is more a book about Rio and Luke (not just Luke), and it is far better than the blurb makes it sound. Set in a richly created world, with likable main characters, and excellent pacing, THE CURSED is a perfect first installment in the League of the Black Swan series.
If I were to rewrite the description for the book, it would go something like this: Rio Jones is just a bike messenger…until she sees the kidnapping of a human girl in Bordertown. Then, all of a sudden, everybody is after her, and she has no choice but to seek out the Dark Wizard of Bordertown, Luke Oliver, the very person she has been trying to avoid since despite their obvious mutual attraction, he has rejected her advances in the past. As Luke and Rio start the search for the little girl, they meet up with fae, demons, and other denizens of Bordertown, all who seem to know more about Rio’s past and parentage than she does. Why is everybody suddenly so interested in Rio, and what significance does her 25th birthday have? As the date grows closer, Luke is desperately trying to keep Rio safe, but is it because she hired him, or something more personal? And when Rio finds out about her heritage, will it bring them closer together, or will it tear them apart- forever?
Rio and Luke are really spectacular main characters. This is definitely a case of opposites attract with Luke, a gruff loner, and Rio, super friendly and fun, making an interesting, unexpected combination. Luke having to contend with feelings for somebody after being alone for so long is a realistic struggle, and it is satisfying when he comes to the (obvious) conclusion that Rio is the one for him. And rightly so! Rio is an independent, strong woman, the kind of person ready to stand up for children and small animals and who wins everybody over with her charm and manners. For example, at points, Rio makes friends with a troll and acquires a pet kitsune! And though THE CURSED took place over a short period of time, the growth of the relationship didn’t feel forced or rushed. The pacing did a really good job of balancing the action and romance and I was never bored, always wanting to know what was going to happen next
Seeing how Luke and Rio work out their relationship kinks is something I’m hoping we’ll see in the next book in the League of the Black Swan series. Plus, I feel like Day has only scratched the surface of the world she created, and I want to learn more about the fae and the demons and other creatures of Bordertown. There are so many great elements that made for an excellent story in THE CURSED, and I have high hopes for further installments.
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