Review: Cursed (Fallen Siren #1) by S. J. Harper

October 7, 2013 Review 3

Review: Cursed (Fallen Siren #1) by S. J. HarperCursed by S. J. Harper
Series: Fallen Siren #1
Published by Roc on October 1, 2013
Genres: Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy
Format: Paperback
Pages: 304
Source: Publisher
Excerpt: Excerpt
Sexual Content: Sex scenes, references to sex.
Reviewed by: Julia
4 Stars

Meet FBI Agents Emma Monroe and Zack Armstrong.
She's cursed. He's damned. Together, they make one hell of a team.

Emma Monroe is a Siren, cursed by the gods and bound to earth to atone for an ancient failure. She’s had many names and many lives, but only one mission: redemption. Now that she works missing persons cases for the FBI, it could be just a rescue away. Unless her new partner leads her astray.

Special Agent Zack Armstrong just transferred into the San Diego Field Office. He’s a werewolf, doing his best to beat back the demons from his dark and dangerous past. As a former Black Ops sniper, he’s taken enough lives. Now he’s doing penance by saving them.

Emma and Zack’s very first case draws them deep into the realm of the paranormal, and forces them to use their own supernatural abilities. But that leaves each of them vulnerable, and there are lines partners should not cross. As secrets are revealed and more women go missing, one thing becomes clear: as they race to save the victims, Emma and Zack risk losing themselves.

It's a tricky business placing an immortal character in the modern world, and incarnations of Greek deities have been especially problematic in the past. That makes it all the more satisfying to read a book that gives gravitas and reasonable boundaries to the issue. I loved how Emma's curse shapes her profession, proscribes her love life, and constrains where and when she can unleash her Siren's magic.

CURSED is very well set up and executed, though I would have liked less drama in the romance department and more magical and criminal focus. Initially, Emma's honest and practical approach to her situation was refreshing.  Of course, rules are made to be broken, and it does not take long for circumstances to drive Emma off the straight and narrow.  I would have found these aspects of the story so much more satisfying if Emma had found clever ways to mitigate her risks, but her romantic struggles and repeated use of siren abilities quickly lost emotional impact through overuse.   Given that Zack's life was at stake, the few times Emma wasn't upfront and honest seemed unforgivable.  As her control slips and her choices become more and more emotional, I became less invested in what was clearly going to become a protracted "Will she/ Won't she" situation. Even worse, Emma can't control when the goddess releases her from her curse, which made me that much less interested in an integral part of the romance dynamic in this series.

S. J. Harper's CURSED does a great job with both it's procedural and supernatural elements. Emma Monroe is believable as both an FBI agent with a crusade, and as a mystical creature hiding her identity.  Emma and Zack are quite literally star-crossed lovers, kept apart by fate, and fans of that dynamic will really enjoy this well written blend of romance, magic, and police procedure.

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3 Responses to “Review: Cursed (Fallen Siren #1) by S. J. Harper”

  1. Eva Millien

    Thanks for sharing your review. Sounds like a great book. evamillien at gmail dot com

  2. Sharon

    I agree with you about the romance being on the front burner too much. It takes the book from urbanfantasy into PNR territory. I wasn’t happy with the convenience of the spell used on Zack at the end.