Title: Ever Cursed
Author: Corey Ann Haydu
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Canada
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Release Date: July 28, 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.
The princesses of Ever were cursed on their thirteenth birthdays. Just before the oldest princess’s thirteenth birthday, a young witch, Reagan, visited them, cursed the five princesses, and enclosed their mother in a glass box. On each of their thirteenth birthdays they would be cursed, each girl losing the ability to eat, to sleep, to love, to remember, or to hope. The princesses will have just a few days to break the curse after the youngest princess turns thirteen and before the witch turns eighteen, which will make the curses last forever. The eldest princess, Jane, who has lost the ability to eat, has to look after her sisters and figure out how to break the curse, while also learning why they were cursed in the first place.
This story was set in a fairytale-like kingdom called Ever, but the serious subject matter wasn’t like a children’s fairytale. The Kingdom looked picturesque from the outside, but their history was filled with sexual assaults and rape. These things were hinted at through the beginning of the book, and weren’t confirmed until partway through, but I think it was obvious that that was what happened. These serious issues reminded me of the dark subject matter of the original Grimm’s fairytales, which were disturbing and not always meant for children.
I was hopeful for the princesses throughout the story, though they kept having bad things happen to them. It was getting so bad that I didn’t see how it could possibly have a happy ending. I won’t spoil the ending, but I think it was fitting for the story.
This is a great fairytale fantasy with contemporary themes.
Thank you Simon and Schuster Canada for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
What to read next:
The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw
Cinderella is Dead by Kalynn Bayron
Have you read Ever Cursed? What did you think of it?