Cursed By Fire by Jacquelyn Frank

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Cursed By Fire by Jacquelyn Frank

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Category: Fantasy
Rating: 2/5
Reviewer: Stephen Leach
Reviewed by Stephen Leach
Summary: An interesting premise is spoiled by clunky writing and a drawn-out love story.
Buy? No Borrow? No
Pages: 353 Date: February 2015
Publisher: Piatkus
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 9780349400808

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The blurb of Cursed By Fire had me interested. I loved the opening, in which we meet Dethan, a former warrior cursed by the gods to suffer an unending punishment for daring to steal immortality from them, and follow his attempts to lead the armies of Hexis to victory to appease one of the vengeful gods.

Unfortunately, this thread quickly gets shoved into the background in favour of a rather forced romance plot between Dethan and the daughter of the city’s ruler, Selinda. Though initially the war plot is the main focus of the story, Frank does a bit too much telling and not enough showing and ultimately it doesn’t go anywhere interesting: I was expecting a twist of some sort, but none came. Instead we get far too many chapters of Selinda and Dethan pining for each other until they inevitably do hook up. After that, the remainder of the book is almost solely dedicated to far too many overly drawn-out sex scenes, which felt gratuitous and didn’t make me invest in the story any more. The book could have been so much interesting if the romance plot didn’t dominate the way it did: I didn’t find it at all convincing.

The writing style was a mixed bag. Frank has a really good descriptive style and there are several moments where she manages to create some powerful images. However, the dialogue at times felt incredibly stiff and unrealistic. None of the characters were particularly compelling: Grannish in particular was a fairly one-dimensional villain. If we had gotten to know him a bit better, it might have made him more compelling. There was potential for more with him, especially since some backstory was hinted at, but ultimately not explored in any detail.

I didn’t care at all about any of the side characters such as Tonkin, Hanit and Kyran, and the book didn’t make any effort to change my mind. Though Frank succeeds in creating a sense of tension and urgency towards the end of the book, I wasn’t invested enough in any of the characters to really care what happened to them.

I was really expecting to really enjoy Cursed By Fire. Jacquelyn Frank managed to create an interesting fantasy world, but not a particularly enjoyable story, which is why I cannot give it more than two stars. I can’t recommend this as a good example of either a fantasy or a romance novel, which is a shame.

I’d like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to TheBookBag.

For a better example of both fantasy and romance, check out Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor, which features both a compelling, evocative fantasy world and a strong protagonist. In Moth and Spark by Anne Leonard we said that it was a good romance but shame about the fantasy.

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Buy Cursed By Fire by Jacquelyn Frank at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Cursed By Fire by Jacquelyn Frank at


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