Release Day Review: The Curse Keepers (The Curse Keepers #1) by Denise Grover Swank

November 19, 2013 Review 4

Release Day Review: The Curse Keepers (The Curse Keepers #1) by Denise Grover SwankThe Curse Keepers by Denise Grover Swank
Series: The Curse Keepers #1
Published by 47north on November 19, 2013
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Format: Paperback
Pages: 312
Source: NetGalley
Sexual Content: Several sex scenes, minimal on the graphic description
Reviewed by: Libbie
3 Stars

The wall between our world and that of vengeful spirits has protected humanity for more than 400 years.

It’s about to come crashing down.

Ellie Lancaster has lived her whole life by the site of the mysterious Lost Colony of Roanoke, the Virginia settlement that vanished without a trace around 1590. Only the descendants of the two men who banished the spirits of an enemy tribe from the material realm know what really happened to the colony. Ellie is one of those descendants—a Curse Keeper. Her father took pains to teach her what he knew of the curse and the responsibilities of its guardians. He taught her that if the two Curse Keepers ever meet, the curse will be lifted, the gate will open, and the raging Native American spirits will be unleashed to seek their revenge.

Despite her father’s seriousness, Ellie has always taken the legend for a harmless fairy tale. Until she meets the darkly handsome, but downright infuriating, Collin Dailey and realizes everything she was told is true. For when they meet, it’s like the air is sucked from the room. Collin’s presence is electrifying… and it’s not just attraction Ellie feels, but the inexorable pull toward her destiny. The prophecy is real, and now Ellie and Collin must battle supernatural forces and their loathing—and passion—for each other to set things right.

The Curse Keepers are all that stand between the world and its destruction.

I really wanted to like THE CURSE KEEPERS. It sounded like it had everything I look for when it comes to searching out new authors: a romance, a few ghosts, curses, ancient magic – right up my literary alley. Unfortunately, I wasn’t all that pleasantly surprised with THE CURSE KEEPERS. It had its moments, but not enough to make me chair dance while I read.

One of the things that drew me to THE CURSE KEEPERS was the setting – I live very close to Dare County, NC and have been to the places mentioned. The author did a wonderful job with that part. She got the feel of the Outer Banks and it’s clear by her descriptions that if she hasn’t actually been there, she did her research well.  She also got the nature of the Outer Banks residents in her secondary characters – both the hospitality as well as the love-hate relationship everyone in a tourist town feels towards the tourists themselves.  For this, THE CURSE KEEPERS gets full marks.

The plotline itself is fairly tight. THE CURSE KEEPERS uses a great deal of local Native American lore and while I don’t try to be an expert on it, the stories she draws from match those I’ve heard and read since I’ve lived here. There were a few moments in the main exposition where I had to really stretch my this-is-fantasy muscles as Ellie comes into her part of being a Curse Keeper, but overall it’s an interesting dynamic.

The main thing that kept me from pushing THE CURSE KEEPERS from 3 to 4 stars was Ellie. She was at best irritating and at worst insufferable. She thinks about sex constantly, which might explain her insta-lust for Collin. The problem with someone having this much of a high-functioning libido, is that her claims later that she’d never wanted anyone like this ring hollow. Apart from her need to mention her lust every few pages, she also takes assertive young woman over that very nebulous line into stupidly reckless – something that, of course, puts her in further danger.  If it was a plot device to set up that secondary danger, I could understand it; but if the intent was to show her as a strong-minded woman, it didn’t quite work for me.

I’m on the fence about whether I’ll continue the series or not. It did end on a cliffhanger but it didn’t have me letting loose a  primal scream of “no!” I didn’t even really drop my jaw too much at the Big Secret Reveal in the end scene. I’m intrigued enough to be curious, so I may yet pick it back up. It won’t be an auto-buy, though.

Series Titles:
  1. The Curse Keepers
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4 Responses to “Release Day Review: The Curse Keepers (The Curse Keepers #1) by Denise Grover Swank”

  1. Grace Fonseca

    Interesting review, because I really felt quite different than you about it. I really liked the world building that the author had created. The character of Ellie had to grow and she did in a lot of ways.


  2. Libbie

    The world building was one of the things I really liked about the story!

  3. Gill

    Since this is almost my exact reaction to the book, I’m interested to check out some of your other reviews, and choose some new books to read from your recommendations.

  4. Cee

    I’m halfway through the book and I’ve been searching for a reason to finish it because I find Ellie so annoying. Your assessment of her character is spot on and I agree with everything else that you said about the book.