*I received a free copy of Cursed by Fire from Ballantine Books via Netgalley. This has in no way influenced my voluntary review, which is honest and unbiased *
Warning: This book includes mature content such as: sexual content, and/or drug and/or alcohol use, and/or violence.
For centuries, Dethan has been trapped in a fiery inferno for defying the gods and snatching the power of immortality. Condemned to have his battle-hardened body licked by flames only to regenerate and be consumed all over again, Dethan has lost all hope—until the Goddess of Conflict appears. She will release him from torment—if he’ll use his power and strength as a warrior to raise an army and defeat a fierce enemy faction of gods.
Free to live as a man once again, Dethan meets Selinda—heir to the throne of Hexis—and his thoughts quickly turn from the conquest of cities to the conquest of this headstrong beauty. Betrothed to a cruel, calculating powermonger, Selinda needs a champion, and so Dethan enters into another bargain: If she will share her bed—and her body—with him, Dethan will save her city from destructive forces within and without. As the lovers ignite a searing passion, Dethan will risk all—even the wrath of the Goddess of Conflict—for a chance to make Selinda his forever.
The overall plot and storyline in Cursed by Fire were quite good, but I found the writing to be stilted, and the characters not fully three dimensional.
My Cursed by Fire review:
Dethan was the tortured hero, punished by the gods for having gone against them by drinking from the fountain of immortality. Selinda a princess, stuck with a fiancé who only wanted what was best for himself, not for the good of the village, and with no love for his princess. While this is a much-used trope, it can still be done very well, if the story and the characters manage to truly capture my interest and make my feelings involved as well. However, I didn’t really feel that I got to know neither Dethan nor Selinda very well, and there were many things about both the mythology and the universe the story happened in that were’t fully explained.
In fact, apart from the summary, the readers did not know for how long Dethan had been in the depths of hell, forever being devoured by flames, dying only to be resurrected so he could die once more. Cursed by Fire did definitely have its moments, and most of them had to do with the secondary characters and their utter loyalty towards Selinda and Dethan. Hanit and Tonkin were servants, but they were also friends, confidants and held a lot of power over their charges – especially as Grannish was ever trying to turn everybody he could against Selinda, by using money, cunning, fear and threats.
The main reason why I couldn’t fully fall for Cursed by Fire was because I found the writing to be stilted, and this may have been changed in the final version with some tight editing, and it made me think about how the story was rather told to me than shown to me – when the writing itself becomes obvious the showing is not evident to me. I will, however read Cursed by Fire as well, because the overall plot and story did appeal to me, and I want to find out more about this universe, the gods, the politics and the intrigue.
Some of my favorite Cursed by Fire quotes:
And now he knew why. He knew it was because they had never really done any of it in the name of the gods. They had done it for their own ends and no other reason, and the gods had seen through them.
As she confronted him, she couldn’t escape how much bigger he seemed.
But she was all the confection that was needed. There was no craving for anything else. Had he ever wanted another woman?
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: