Title: Cursed Prince
Author: C.N. Crawford
Genre: Fiction/ YA/ Fantasy/ Romance
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Favourite Quote: ‘My body might be damned, but my soul was intact, far away from me. Bound in gold and magic, it remained hidden outside the walls – waiting patiently for his match. The one destined to free me.’
Ali is an assassin of the Shadow Caverns, trained to fight and protect the Night Elves who have been cursed by the High Elves to live underground for the past thousand years. There were rumours that there was a magical object that would lead them to the dark sorcerer who had cursed her people all those years ago. A chance to save her people from the darkness underground once and for all. Her current mission with her brother Barthol will change everything for them, but when Ali finds herself caught from the High Elves and dragged into the royal dungeons with a dark cursed creature wrapped in smoke, she couldn’t help but feel disappointed that she had failed. What she didn’t realise was that the very object she was looking for, she had unintentionally found in a rush to escape.
Marroc had spent the last thousand years in the High Elves dungeons in solitude, a curse taking away his ability to talk even if he wanted to. A being like himself had no need for human sustenance so even the guards left him alone in peace, waiting for the day his destined mate would reunite him with his soul. A soul he kept in a magical ring held by the very people who had locked him away. When he felt a sudden jolt in his chest, he knew his time had come. His magic had finally brought his mate to his soul at last. What he didn’t expect was for her to be a Night Elf, knowing full well that she would kill him if she found out who he truly was, and she was the only person who now could.
‘I focused, trying to see who had found it. As I did, I felt the curse kindling. Shock ignited me as she finally came into focus – the one who would free me. Horror wrapped around me like the coils of a serpent.
One part of me was thrilled. At last, my magic had finally done what I’d commanded. It had bound itself to my twin soul, the perfect complement to my own. The one fated to life the curse and join me for eternity.
And another half of me wanted to scream at the dead gods. My twin soul was a Dokkalfr. A Night Elf. Once she learned who I was, her only goal would be to send my soul to Helhiem. I lay back on the stone that served as my bed as I waited for her to find me. Whatever happened next, I’d have to make sure she didn’t figure out how to end my life for good.’
I’m not sure how I felt about this one. It had all the right pieces of a fantastic fantasy adventure with exciting characters ..but I didn’t feel anything. No compassion, no connection with the characters, nothing to relate too or even get excited for between them. The lack of emotion in the writing was disappointing, because the overall plot was brilliant.
We were almost instantly thrown into the edge of the world portal that bound the world with other realms of fantasy creatures, creating a Journey to the Centre of the Earth like world, mixed with the memories of the Norse Mythology Gods of Ragnarok, with high elves and night elves divided in a war lasting thousands of years.
So much fantasy thrown into one big adventure to locate Loki’s wand ‘Levateinn’ – the only way for Ali to save the night elves from being forgotten underground where they had been banished and for Marroc to be rejoined with his soul once and for all.
The story included brilliant fantasy creatures throughout the journey; elves, sorcerers, assassins, undead draugr (zombies), trolls, gods of the dead, a lonely emperor, fairies, shadows of the underworld, giant sea serpents… the list goes on, and they are just as detailed as the next, all with dark murderous intent that continually pulled me in.
I loved the detail in the world building, you could easily put yourself in each scene, and there were a lot of locations our two main protagonists went through to their journey to the Shore of the Dead in the Well of Wyrd. Even on the world’s surface after escaping the high elf citadel, I loved how the world was based far into the future from the present day Boston with all modern technology and transportation forgotten. It was interesting to see Ali’s reaction to items from the ‘past’ that she became exited by when she found herself in Marroc’s old home. Her love of the ‘ancient music’ was weird to read, especially when she found love for Beyonce. It was sweet though when Marroc gave her the music player to listen too for their journey.
‘Before I could ask what the plan was, he turned and ran into the darkness. For whatever reason, the draugr weren’t interested in him, only in me. And I stood above them like their queen.
On the frigid platform, I leapt to my feet, looking out at the ragged undead army as they spilled into Harvard Yard. The bluish, gnarled bodies of the draugr were everywhere. They moved in the shadows. Their rheumy eyes all fixed on my position.’
The story was told from both perspectives of Ali and Marroc, and whilst I did like that you could see both their viewpoints throughout the journey, it felt rushed and lacked the depth it needed to relate to the characters on any level. Ali didn’t trust Marroc since he was a mysterious Leech, but at the same time knew she was safe with him in the unknown realm they traveled across since he took such an unknown interest in her. Besides her determination to save her people at any cost, she was an assassin in both heart and mind, completely closed off from anything. Whilst this stuck true to her character, it made her boring and difficult to identify with.
Marroc was just as similar in personality, a completely closed off character who whilst wanted to keep Ali close, failed to show any emotion besides his own desire to be re-united with his soul. I felt he was weaker in his temperament than Ali, which was surprising considering he was a thousand year old feared leech sorcerer and didn’t actually have a soul – it was still easy for him to feel jealousy and desire which he kept to himself.
I did discover a few writing errors throughout the book like when Marroc mentioned Ali’s name when they were escaping but then somehow had forgotten it and made a point to try and find it out, also when he was jealous of Ali mentioning Barthol numerous times but failing to put the two together when she mentioned her brother.
Whilst the characters may have disappointed me, the rest of the book was great. I really liked the magical elements that were there, even Marroc’s curse made it interesting, although probably didn’t help their lack of connection with him unable to talk to her. I liked Ali’s dagger, she just had to call out ‘Skalei’ and it would instantly appear like it was part of her. I also liked her vergr crystal that allowed her to teleport across a distance, even the fact that it was delicate so if it became damaged, it would also damage her if she used it. It’s the details like that that really pulled me into the story and I’m not going to lie when I say that I’m curious to see how the next book plays out.
My heart hasn’t beat in a thousand years. I haven’t uttered a word in prison, and the guards keep their distance. If they get too close, they die–until at last, my magic binds my soul to another.
Unfortunately, the person destined to save me is a Night Elf–the enemy of my kind. And yet, when I see her in the cell across from mine, an ember starts to burn in my chest. When we escape together down the palace walls, it’s almost like I can feel again.
As we journey to find the magic that will save us both, attraction simmers between us. But I keep my secrets close. Because if she finds out what I am, she will find a way to kill me–even if it means sacrificing herself to do it.