Jun 7, 2013

Posted by in Reviews | 5 Comments

Review: The Cursed by Alyssa Day (League of the Black Swan #1)

thecursed4 star

Paranormal Romance
May 7 2013
Mass Market Paperback
304 pages

Yummy Man – Luke Oliver
Kick Ass Chick – Rio Jones

From Goodreads –
Bordertown private investigator Luke Oliver’s beat is the dimensional fold in Manhattan between the human and supernatural realms. But now a secret from his past—the League of the Black Swan—has surfaced. Because Luke isn’t any ordinary P.I. He’s the Dark Wizard of Bordertown, and he never backs down from a fight.

But this time the fight threatens his life and his heart. Rio Jones, the only woman he loved, needs his help against a deadly menace. Luke pushed her away once before, so she’d never fall prey to the curse that threatens to destroy him. He swore he’d never let her go again.

Luke and Rio, with the help of the newly reformed League, must keep evil forces from taking over Bordertown—all the while battling a passion on the razor’s edge between danger and desire. And going to take everything they have just to stay alive.


The Cursed is the first book in Alyssa Day’s shiny new League of the Black Swan series.  I have purchased many of Alyssa’s Warriors of Poseidon books, have a special place for them in my book closet, yet I have not taken the time to actually read one yet.  *sigh* It is the curse of having so many books to read, those you hear wonderful things about from your friends, but not enough time to read them all.  So when I heard that Alyssa was starting a new series, I knew it was the perfect opportunity to finally read one of her books.  I was very impressed.  Her writing voice is lovely – paints wonderful pictures and the pace is very good – and her characters and world are very well done. 

The world Alyssa created here is just different enough to feel foreign but not so different that it requires tons of backstory and description – which suited me just fine.  Even though this was a book one, I never had that ‘lost’ feeling you often get in a first book for a new series.  You see, it’s like different dimensions all folded upon themselves in one place thus creating Bordertown.  You have fae and demons and magicians all in one place.  It’s a crazy place but it’s also pretty cool. 

Luke is a wizard and the city’s badest badass.  He is currently a private investigator and was formerly a member of the League of the Black Swan.  I like that this ‘league’ was never fully explained.  You have an idea of what they do but not so much that you are not left curious.  It makes a great draw for the next book.  But I digress.  I was talking about Luke.  Things you need to know about him:  he’s powerful, he’s smart and he’s sexy!  He is drawn to Rio and once he learns she is in trouble he will do what he can to help her.  But she’s a kickass (and smartass) chick and doesn’t do too well with being told what to do by one hard headed sexy PI – no matter how yummy he is.

Rio and her story were really well written.  She is intelligent, strong, sassy and knows how to take care of herself.  She also knows when to ask for help – something I really like to see in fantasy heroines.  On top of that, she has powers yet is not like any other person in Bordertown.  For most of the book we don’t really know what she is.  Then suddenly, many different people are interested in her.  She has no idea why and neither do we.  Some of these people even seem to know more about Rio than Rio herself – which is frustrating as hell to her , as you can imagine.  Confusing?  Yes it is.  But it makes for a great story.  Overall, the mystery surrounding Rio is very well done.

The book mostly revolves around Luke and Rio, the mystery that is Rio and their budding romance.  There is another plot line too but it’s not as important and I feel it’s used mostly to show us what Rio and Luke are made of and to set things up for future books. 

The absolute best part of The Cursed was the banter and dialogue between Rio, Luke and the other characters.  I laughed a lot and giggled even more.  Very witty and smart conversations that really show us not only what the characters are about but how well they relate to each other. 

Another one of my favorite parts of the book were the side characters – especially Alice.  OMG she made me laugh so much!  Alyssa mentioned that the books of the League of the Black Swan will be about Rio and Luke but that novellas from the series will be about the side characters.  I really hope we not only get to see more of Alice in this series but that she ends up getting her own book someday soon.  She is awesome and I can’t wait for you guys .

Reading The Cursed not only made me look forward to reading more from this series but it also made me want look forward to finally picking up Alyssa’s Warriors of Poseidon books, taking them out of their ‘special place’ in my book closet and placing them in a more prominent spot so they are harder to overlook.  The Cursed was filled with great chemistry, strong characters, entertaining humor and some fun action scenes.  I definitely recommend this book and I am looking forward to book two in the series, due to release later this year.    

4 stars

Giggle worthy quote –

“Rio’s eyes narrowed and she planted her fists on her hips.  ‘Did you just say – wait.  Dalriata?  He’s really taking this Pictish King thing seriously, isn’t he?’

Luke shook his head, baffled.

‘Dalriata?  Dal Riata?  Irish colony in Scotland way back when?’

He raised an eyebrow.  ‘You’re a Gaelic scholar, too?’

‘Hey, I read, all right?  Just because I’m a bike messenger who never made it through college doesn’t mean I’m stupid,’ she said, flushing a hot red.  ‘It was too hard to be in classrooms with all of those minds shouting at me.’

‘I never accused you of being stupid,’ he protested, wondering how and when the conversation had gone to hell in a hand-carved basket.  ‘I’m not good at talking to women when they’re awake.’

She raised her eyebrows, and he mentally replayed what he’d just said. 

Oh, shit.”



  1. Why do I remember someone saying this was UF?

  2. I’m not sure about the book but I will take a chance on the 2nd one coming!

  3. I did Blodeuedd, this is a series with one main couple, so for me that makes it Urban Fantasy.
    Awesome review Julie, so much better than my rambling one 🙂 And I can’t agree with you more, I do love Alice.

  4. I heard great things about this one, I’ll have to try it too!

  5. blodeudd – It’s going to be like Cat & Bones. It will straddle both. Since there was such a strong romance element, I decided to call it PNR even though some sites call it UF. Yeah…it’s one of those lol.

    Diane – Sometimes waiting until book two is out is a good idea. 🙂

    aurian – Alice = awesome!

    melliane – 🙂

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