Katrina Monroe and the Dark Side of Fiction

Katrina Monroe is an author, mother, and professional haterologist. Her favorite things to hate include socks that fall down, grape-flavored anything, and the color 'salmon.' Grab her books here.

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From the cover:

 

When Cinderella is run over by a New Never City bus, her not-so-ugly stepsister, Asia, suspects murder. So she hires RJ, a private eye, to investigate. Little does she know RJ is actually a villain on mental health leave from the Villain's Union. Cursed with an inability to say no to damsels in distress, RJ travels to the Kingdom of Maldetto, meets the rest of Cinderella's family--including her fiancé, the flamboyant Prince Charming, Cinderella's crazy stepmother, and a seriously twisted version of Hansel and Gretel--and dodges bullets, explosions, fires, and his own ex-wife to slip his own version of glass handcuffs on the wrists that fit. All while falling for Asia, who has a curse of her own to deal with...

 

I’m a lover of all things fairy-tale adjacent, so when I happened across CURSES, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it.

 

Campy, with a never-ending barrage of one-liners (“Where’s your frog prince?” “He croaked!”), CURSES reads like an HBO comedy special. RJ is quick with the retorts, most witty, some on the wah-wahhhh side, but all contribute to chuckle-worthy dialogue.

 

In addition to comedy, this book has the bones of a good detective story. New suspects climb out of the wood work with every clue gained and each line of investigation. From clue to misdirection and back again, the reader spins in circles right alongside RJ and Asia, making CURSES a quick read.

 

What I enjoyed most about this book was the effortless way Kazimer brought in pretty much every fairy-tale character you can think of. In a matter of pages, everyone joins the party, from the Pied Piper to Sherlock Holmes. As the story progresses these fairy-tales are twisted inside out. What could have potentially dampened the mystery that drives the plot is avoided as the reader realizes their preconceived notions of how these beloved characters ought to be acting are destroyed. Miss Muffet (Villain Union Leader) and The Lady Maledetto (the unabashedly ‘evil’ queen) are among my favorites.

 

But.

 

(You knew that was coming, didn’t you?)

 

While I’m willing to believe just about anything Kazimer chooses to tell me in CURSES, I don’t buy the romance between RJ and Asia. Could be my own romantical prejudices (we all know how I feel about feelings), but the way they fall together isn’t as organic as I would have liked it to be. This makes RJ’s motivation for agreeing to the entire investigation a little shaky, but doesn’t totally derail the narrative.

 

Overall, CURSES is a fun read, aimed at those of us who long to hear the real story behind the fairy-tales. We all know they’re hiding secrets, and most of them are probably F***cked Up.

Book Review: Curses! A Fucked Up Fairy Tale

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