Title: Ever Cursed
Author: Corey Ann Haydu
Release date: July 28th, 2020
Damsel meets A Heart in a Body in the World in this incisive and lyrical feminist fairy tale about a princess determined to save her sisters from a curse, even if it means allying herself with the very witch who cast it.
The Princesses of Ever are beloved by the kingdom and their father, the King. They are cherished, admired.
Jane, Alice, Nora, Grace, and Eden carry the burden of being punished for a crime they did not commit, or even know about. They are each cursed to be Without one essential thing—the ability to eat, sleep, love, remember, or hope. And their mother, the Queen, is imprisoned, frozen in time in an unbreakable glass box.
But when Eden’s curse sets in on her thirteenth birthday, the princesses are given the opportunity to break the curse, preventing it from becoming a True Spell and dooming the princesses for life. To do this, they must confront the one who cast the spell—Reagan, a young witch who might not be the villain they thought—as well as the wickedness plaguing their own kingdom…and family.
Told through the eyes of Reagan and Jane—the witch and the bewitched—this insightful twist of a fairy tale explores power in a patriarchal kingdom not unlike our own.
“I might have given the king exactly what he wanted with my spell. A wife he can stare at but never have to speak to. A literal trophy on his lawn. A group of daughters so broken down and fragile that they are somehow more alluring than the strong, healthy, unenchanted princesses in other kingdoms.”
This was a powerful fairytale story about women’s agency in a patriarchal kingdom. We follow Jane, the eldest of 5 enchanted princesses, and Reagan, the witch who cast the spell that enchanted them. They must work together to break the spell, but in the process there’s a lot to unpack about the kingdom and the injustices that take place under the King’s rule.
It was a really interesting story and had a really impactful meaning. I rooted for these girls as they worked to learn about themselves, their kingdom, and the magic of Ever.
It did unravel slowly, but I feel this story’s strength lies in its meaning rather than a quick plot. It’s something to tread slowly through and take it in, not one that keeps you flipping pages with a fast paced plot.
It was a shorter fantasy, and for that it’s not full of world-building or detailed backstory. But like I said before, this doesn’t feel like a fantasy that needs that, it feels like more an allegorical fairytale with purpose.
Although that being said, it feels like it’s missing something to keep me from absolutely loving this. It was a great story, but I think it maybe packed in too much for this tale. I would’ve liked to know the sisters a bit more. With there being 5 of them, plus still having Raegan’s side of the character and her family, there were a lot of characters. This could’ve been especially powerful to have a bit less characters and more focus could go to the main ones.
*Book received from publisher for honest review*