Blood Cursed (The Shadowfae Chronicles #4) by Erica Hayes
August 2, 2011
St Martin’s Press
Reviewed by Tori
Favorite Quote: “…the most compelling memory is the ache sharp pain in his heart. Her hot green eyes dazzle him. Her toothy smile stops his pulse. Her touch befuddles his senses and wobbles his legs weak. The rich purr of her voice makes him crave chocolate cake.”
Ember is a bloodfairy, which makes her a highly sought after prize to the vampires in the underworld. A prize her boyfriend Jasper has no problem capitalizing on. When he sends her on a mission to seduce a vampire and steal a jewel in his possession, Ember has no idea that she will unwittingly make herself a target to one of the underworld’s most dangerous figures. Forced into a life or death bargain Ember goes to her boyfriend’s boss for protection-Diamond. Diamond is a dark sexy glassfairy who has made some bad deals himself. Deals that ultimately put Ember in even more danger. As Ember and Diamond struggle to stay one step ahead of death, he will be forced to sacrifice one in order to save another.
Blood Cursed is the fourth installment in Erica Hayes dark and wickedly decedent Shadowfae Chronicles. Set in an alternative Melbourne Unseelie nightclub scene, Ms. Hayes magical mob world of gangs, turf wars, and violence stain the pages as we sink into the muck and mire along with her characters. Deception, sex, and magic all work together to weave a seductive spell; holding you tightly in their “loving” embrace until you accept their will as your own. Ms. Hayes doesn’t write pretty stories about happy people. These beautiful and slice your throat and bathe in your blood all the while seducing you into loving every minute of it.
The beginning starts out a little slow for me as Ember was hard to connect with. She is extremely insecure and knows her existence hinges on her boyfriend’s wants and needs. Though she knows her value to him lies in her magically addictive blood, she fools herself into thinking that he loves her. Emotionally vulnerable, she projects victim in huge bold letters. Ember finds out Jasper has been lying about the jewels he has her stealing when Kane appears and claims the jewels as his. He binds her to him, demanding she find the rest or she will suffer for her failure. Ember realizes the only way to get the jewels is to enter hell and for that she goes to Diamond for help.
Diamond, our hero, was first met in Poison Kissed. When his girlfriend betrayed him, it destroyed him and created the cruel and disconnected man we see now. He crossed lines to punish her and something inside him broke, making him feel dirty and unworthy of love. A seductive beautiful glassfairy ganglander who is part of Angelo Valenti’s’ gang, his life has made him a brutal realist. Dark and complicated, he chooses to present himself as shallow and narcasstic in order to keep his real self hidden. Yet for all his flaws, he has a strong conscience that tends to appear when he least needs it to. While he likes Ember and feels bad for what he plans to do to her, he can’t help himself when his ex comes to him begging for help against the abusive man she choose over him. Diamond sees Ember as a way to finally extract his revenge against the man who stole his girlfriend. As we are drawn deeper in to Ember and Diamond story, we find out that both have been taken advantage of by those they loved. A change occurs between them; almost a swapping of personalities. Ember becomes stronger and harder while Diamond softens and his need for revenge takes a back seat to his need for Ember.
The secondary characters add a new layer of betrayal and deprivation to the story. Everyone has an ulterior motive and a score to settle. We see some old friends; Kane *swoon*, Mina, and Joey, along with some new ones. I love Hayes’s ability to drag empathy out of me for these characters as she reveals the nuances and depths of their personalities. She has created people who she doesn’t mean for you to like. She offers no excuses for their behavior and leaves it up to you to discover if they deserve redemption. Everyone here is a victim in some fashion or form and watching them head towards self destruction is both appealing and appalling.
Even though these books can be read alone, each with a hero and heroine and conflict resolution, I would recommend starting at the beginning. Ms. Hayes books are like puzzle pieces. Each one a separate picture in their own right but when you place them together you begin to get a whole different picture. I’m starting to understand where Ms. Hayes is going and it makes me even more excited to see where this series goes.
Fast paced (even with Diamond’s modified speech) and smoothly written with plenty of action, danger and conflict. Hayes continues to seduce me with her addicting dark and cruel erotic urban fantasy that appeals to the darker side of our nature.