I don't now what I was expecting from Cursed but I really enjoyed Jazz's story and found myself engrossed by this young adult story. Jazz (Jasmine) is a teenage Dorgai who works hard to save humans from the Suecai (I have to admit the name did make me think of the Moari from Vampire Academy at first). Jazz is extremely fierce and caring (a great combo in YA female leads) but is also coming to terms with personal tragedy and the pressures of growing up. The world building in Cursed and the overall concept was really clever. The story evolves around the incubi and succubae, who fight over humans. Jazz finds herself cursed to turn into a Suecai and the story follows her struggle to prevent this. Throw in a powerful leader dad, teenage hormones, fierce battles and a super hot bestie called Khan, then Jazz has a lot of problems. I really liked Jazz and Khan. Usually I do tend to find the guy best friend annoying but in Cursed I enjoyed the development in their relationship. I wasn't expecting Cal to be thrown into the mix and I had a slight concern we were going to be faced with another OTT love triangle. I did find Jazz slightly mopey at times but she redeemed herself - it's difficult to say any more without writing spoilers. Cursed reminded me of a sort of Succubus Blues combined with the Kate Daniels series, but in a YA bundle. Oh and with some Vampire Academy goodness thrown into the mix (except without the vampires). I'm looking forward to reading about more of Jazz's adventures!
The Guardian Chronicles, 1
Half-succubus Jazz Watkins spends her nights knee deep in Chicago drug dens hunting Suecai—an evil kind of incubi and succubae who devour the souls of humans. But when a leader of the Suecai curses her, Jazz has to track him down. Either she kills him before the curse burns through her, or she’ll become a full-fledged, out of control, soul-sucking monster.
She’s got a handful of weeks, absolutely no leads, and only her sexy best guy-friend, Khan, covering her back. But will the growing attraction she feels for Khan get in the way of her mission to save her own life?
14+ for sexuality and adult situations
When he walked out of the bathroom, the nerves I’d thought I’d turned to steel started to quiver. What if he refused me? Khan was just as stubborn as I was. How could I possibly ask this of him? How could I get him to understand?
I took a deep breath and looked at him. “Khan, we need to talk.”
“Uh oh, that’s never what a guy wants to hear from his girl.”
My stomach fluttered, but I refused to give into the distraction. “I have a plan…in case we don’t find and kill the Gunshi. But I need your help to pull it off.”
He didn’t look taken aback, just more determined than anything. “Jazz, it’s too soon for you to give up now. We’ve got some really good leads, and we can do this!”
I shook my head. “I’m not giving up, Khan. I never give up…you know that.” I smiled at him and was rewarded with one in return. “But…being a leader means having to think outside of myself…you and my dad taught me that. We have to prepare for all possibilities—even this.”
His dark eyes flashed and, for a second, I thought I was in for a long and hard fight. Then understanding washed over his features and he nodded. “As long as you promise this doesn’t mean you’ve given up.”
“Not even close—and giving in doesn’t even sound like me.”
He snorted. “That’s for sure.”
I rolled my eyes. “Okay, I think we can do this, but if not…I have a forgetting tonic to erase my memories. That way, in the very least, the vermin can’t use my knowledge against everyone I love.”
Khan jerked. “Where in the hell did you…?” Then he groaned. “Claudine.”
I couldn’t help but smile. “She always has been good at knowing what I need.”
His face was hard. “Okay, so I’ll make sure to wipe away your memories. I’ll erase everything that makes you, you—everything I’ve grown to know and care about. We done?”
I paused. “Not quite.”
He flinched. “I figured something more was coming when you said, ‘In the least’.”
I almost didn’t have the guts to continue. “Think about it, Khan. You can’t just leave me there, a newbie Suecai with the urge to feed. What if I came across my mom one day? Or your dad?
“You might not be able to do it immediately—there’s no telling how strong I’ll be at first or how protected—but eventually you’ll have to take me out!” I shuddered at the thought. “What else can we do?”
The rage flew through his features even more quickly than when I’d told him I couldn’t be his Valentine in the sixth grade.
“Anything, Jazz,” Khan whispered. “We fight. We search. We keep pounding the pavement until we find that bastard. We do anything and everything.”
Words escaped me. A boulder set squarely on my chest and wouldn’t budge. I should’ve known this wouldn’t be easy—hadn’t I spent my entire life traipsing around Chicago with Khan? I shouldn’t have expected anything else.
Khan seemed to take my silence as an opportunity to change my mind. “You could learn control, Jazz, and become a full-fledged Dorgai.” There it was, that secret hope I held deep in my heart that was too scary to speak out loud.
“Khan, that’s impossible. There’s no way I can learn control if I’m forced into feeding too fast. The only way we halfers manage it is by taking an entire year to ease into the process. All of Dad’s advisors are agreed that I’ll become an uncontrollable Suecai.”
“I can’t believe that, Jazz. It can’t happen. Not to you.”
I couldn’t focus. My need to be rational kept battling the little girl within me reaching for a solution, any solution.
I didn’t notice Khan moving until it was too late.
Before I could say something to break the bubble, Khan stood over me, his face inches from mine. His eyes were warm and I could feel the heat of his breath, minty from his recent trip to the bathroom. My heart stopped. And then he was kissing me, slow and deep at first, and then with a heat and passion I’d only guessed he possessed.
I love strong female heroines (think Buffy or Katniss) and Jasmine is an awesomely tough, likeable addition to my lineup. She's a team leader, trained to fight the Suecai who drain humans of their life force. I love the action scenes and the way everyone, even her best-friend (seriously hot and sexy best friend) Khan who's (in her words) "not the boss of me, literally" knows to take her seriously. She's also dealing with the emotional fallout from a mom who's suffered from a Suecai attack, so it's easy to understand her fire for revenge. I don't want to give even one plot point away, but when she and Khan are on the run, I loved the heat between them. This book has plenty of sizzle (and a great triangle), but these characters are so busy running for their lives, fighting (literally) for what they want, and using their physical strength that they don't have a lot of time for mooning around. Even when Jasmine is focusing inward, mental and emotional struggles are described in a clear, concrete way that makes them vivid and immediate. This a a great book for anyone who wants a thrilling story, compelling characters, and a "what-next' read! Now...when's the next one out?
This is one kick ass main character. The story has it all, drama, action, romance, magic. I especially like that Jazz has the inner strength to carry on regardless of whether she's fighting, running, held prisoner or being romanced. She is fearless and focused. I bought this for the young women in my life. Jazz is an excellent role model in addition to being a strong, personally centered character. I highly recommend this book. It will make a great Christmas present for anyone, but especially any young women in your life.