Monday, May 25, 2020

A Feminist Fairy Tale Like No Other: Ever Cursed by Corey Ann Haydu [Book Review]

Title: Ever Cursed
Series: -
Author: Corey Ann Haydu
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Format: Paperback
Expected Publication Date: July 28th 2020
Pages: 304

Synopsis (Goodreads): 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.


My rating: 5 / 5 ★

Ever Cursed is a story about princesses being cursed by a witch, and how they went through all sort of odds to undo it. Sounds like your typical childhood fairy tale, doesn't it? Well, maybe think again.

The story is told from two perspectives—Jane, the eldest princess and Reagan, the witch who cursed the princesses. When I first decided to read this book, I had thought that Reagan would be a much older witch to want to curse the royals with something that big. But she was the same age as Princess Jane; she was barely thirteen when she cast the curse to the Queen and princesses. It made me wonder just how terrible the reason behind her anger was, because unlike most other fairy tales where witches do not receive any consequences after performing any spells, the witches from Ever Cursed gain a skirt for each spell they cast. 

It sounded funny to me at first, because seriously? Skirts? But when I really considered it, it was actually a brilliant point of the story. A great spell should come with a great price in order for witches to not simply curse everything in front of their way. The heaviness and quality of the skirts depended on how heavy a spell is, and the greater the spell, the more it will weigh down a witch. Despite knowing she would be weighed down permanently by that, Reagan still cursed the princesses.

The reason behind Reagan's anger to the royals was truly horrible, and it was understandable why she cast the curse even if it was directed in the wrong way. I'm glad the author included the trigger warning at the first part of the book, because the topic is a very sensitive one and possibly not suitable with everyone. Just in case, although there was nothing graphic about it, I'll just mention here that it involves the topic of sexual assault. I don't think I've seen much of this topic being discussed in fantasy young adult novels (or perhaps I don't read as much), so it was quite an eye-opener for me.

Reagan did not gain much support from other witches after the curse, but I'm thankful her sweet cousin, Willa, and best friend, Abbott, were there for her even when they did not share the same views. Before I knew the reason of the curse, I had no idea what to feel about Reagan. From what the witches around her claimed, she seemed to be selfish for casting the spell without considering the others' opinions about it. But it was obvious that she only wanted the best for her loved ones, and when she realised her mistake, she worked hard to help the princesses overcome the curse. She's compassionate and bold, willing to go out of her to make things right for everyone.

As for Princess Jane, I think she's a strong character even from the start. It takes a lot of strength to continue pretending to be fine when you "lose" your mother and is cursed with your siblings in a blink of an eye. It takes a lot of strength to continue pretending to be fine when princes and princesses from other kingdoms want you to stay being spellbound and fragile for their own disgusting desires. And it takes a lot of strength to be fine when you learn that the real villain is someone that you cared for your entire life. Princess Jane is a strong woman, and despite doubting her qualities to become a queen, she still managed to overcome the hurdles like a true queen.

The alternating point of views between Reagan and Jane provided a lot of insight on the world building, and I think it allows the plot to move smoothly. I'm saying that Ever Cursed is a feminist fairy tale like no other is because it's a story that portrays girls that can be strong and independent; girls that are brave enough to fight for the right thing; girls that support each other; girls that survive. This is not a story to bring down boys or men, because even if the perpetrator might be a male, that does not cancel the fact that there are girls or women that condone the disgusting behaviours. This can be seen by the behaviours of the princes and princesses of other kingdoms towards Jane and her sisters. I appreciate that the author did not make it into a gender role issue, because men can be feminists as well if they protect women. In here, Abbott's character is the perfect example of it.

Overall, I would say that there's a lot to unpack from Ever Cursed. It's a story of a lot of things; of witches, princesses, family and siblings' love, surviving, lies, painful truths, growth, acceptance; of so much more. This review of mine is a mess, but all I could say is that this book is wonderful and I loved the way everything was laid out. I'm thankful with the way the story is concluded because after everything, these girls and women deserve only good things from the world.

I would like to thank Pansing for sending me a copy of this book in exchange of an honest review. Ever Cursed is expected to be released this July 2020, so don't miss it!


He'll see. I'll show him what it means to fight for your life.

Till next time ♡ Love, Aishah Humaira'

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