Be still now, and I will tell you a tale.
Adalheid Castle is in chaos.
Following a shocking turn of events, Serilda finds herself ensnared in a deadly game of make-believe with the Erlking, who is determined to propel her deeper into the castle’s lies. Meanwhile, Serilda is determined to work with Gild to help him solve the mystery of his forgotten name and past.
But soon it becomes clear that the Erlking doesn’t only want to use Serilda to bring back his one true love. He also seeks vengeance against the seven gods who have long trapped the Dark Ones behind the veil. If the Erlking succeeds, it could change the mortal realm forever.
Can Serilda find a way to use her storytelling gifts for good—once and for all? And can Serilda and Gild break the spells that tether their spirits to the castle before the Endless Moon finds them truly cursed?
So, this one’s gonna be a slightly mixed review because this book was SO good. Dark and delicious with amazing atmosphere but, unfortunately, the ending ruined it a little for me. Please note that this review will contain spoilers for book one! Cursed picks up straight after the ending of Gilded. The Erlking has decided Serilda will become his wife, and will convince his court her baby is his. He wants his beloved back, and see’s Serilda as his way to make that happen. But the more time she spends with him, the more she see’s that there is another, darker reason he needs her. He also seeks vengeance against the seven gods who have long trapped the Dark Ones behind the veil. If the Erlking succeeds, it could change the mortal realm forever. Serilda will need to use every advantage she has if she is to stop the Erking’s plan and ensure she, and all the people she loves make it out alive.
Serilda has always been a pov I have enjoyed reading from. After the events of the first book, she is dejected and feels like she has failed those she loves. The children she cared for are dead, she is carrying Gild’s child but can’t tell him, and she is trapped in a bargain with the Erkling that could see her loose everything she holds dear. She is someone who would do anything for those she loves, but she is also just a young girl completely in over her head. I think Meyer did a great job of showing her as a girl on the cusp of adulthood. A girl who acts older than she actually is, sometimes making you forget that she is still a child, but then also has those moments that are just so youthful, filled with blushing teenage hormones and as desperate need to survive.
Something that plays a large part in this tale is stories. How important they are, not just to our history, but how speaking something out loud, putting confidence and belief behind it, has the power to make it come true. Thanks to Serilda being blessed by the god Wyrdich, she spends a good portion of the book telling stories, to the Erlking, to the children and to Gild. But what Meyer does brilliantly is use these stories to not only further the plot, but to foreshadow as well. Her writing style brings her world and characters to life, and I especially loved the fight scenes that we get, as well as the scenes with Serilda and the Erlking, the snark she gives him & how she never backs down. Meyer also uses her story, as well as the ones written in to the pages to give us a good bit of European folklore, filled with magical creatures and Gods, and I loved learning about all the different creatures, as well as seeing them described.
Similarly to book one, Meyer pulls no punches when it comes to the dark themes and events that happen in the book. For a YA, it certainly gets darker than I would have expected but, personally I loved it. It brings a tension and atmosphere to the story, that otherwise would have read a little more MG, so do beware if you’re not a fan of gore or descriptions of a gruesome nature. And now for the part I didn’t love, because for all the glorious darkness that she threaded throughout, the ending was just a little too happy. Now bear with me, I get it’s YA, so we’re not going to get major character death but she killed 5 kids of in the first book FFS, so I would have liked a slightly more realistic ending with some actual consequences. She also created a whole lore based around the magic system, that just seemed to go out of the window so our characters could get there HEA. So, yea, I wasn’t the biggest fan of the ending, & I did feel like it ruined the rest of the books for me a little.
As a whole, I have loved this duology. It’s been refreshingly dark for a YA story and I have loved the inclusion of the stories, the folklore and the romance between Gild and Serilda. I’m just a little stuck on the ending, which definitely let me down after some of the previous events that have happened in the books. If you love YA fantasy with romance and plents of action, plot twists to keep you glued to the pages, you should definitely check this out!