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Cursed by Thomas Wheeler
Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers on October 1, 2019
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Buy on Book Depository
I’ve done it; another accidental adaptation read. This time I’m begging to watch the Netflix series of Cursed by Thomas Wheeler. While reading Cursed, I visualised how it would look and I felt Nimue’s emotions. Afterwards I discovered Thomas is a screenwriter and wrote the screenplay and the novel concurrently. By the way, Frank Miller added the artwork in the novel.
What’s Cursed about? As well as being another adaptation read, it’s another I threw on my Goodreads to read list and don’t recall why. Cursed a retelling of the King Arthur story. I saw people on Goodreads complaining about the spate of retellings, but this was another thing I missed, so Cursed was new to me.
Back to what Cursed is about. Well, it is a King Arthur re-telling, but Arthur is just a teen sellsword (sword for hire) trying to make his way. Uther is currently king and there are questions of his lineage, which could open the path for Arthur to be king. But it’s not relevant because Arthur isn’t the star of this story. Cursed belongs to Nimue.
Like Arthur, Nimue is a teen in this story and yet to know what she will become (but comes close at the end). She’s an outcast in her druid village from being a Fey, but with connections to dark magic. She was all ready to leave the village when the entire village, including her mother, are killed by Red Paladins. Her mother’s dying request was that Nimue return a mysterious magical sword to Merlin. Until then, Merlin was just a character in storybooks to Nimue.
This sets Nimue forth on a mission and also to save the Fey folk from the Red Paladins. A chance meeting earlier in the day teams her with Arthur and then Morgan and several others we know from the other tellings.
I’m stopping there because there are some major spoilers that could come. My background knowledge is sparse, so I also don’t know if my OMG moments were really OMG moments or just shocks for me. Several characters have different, but similar, roles than I knew from other stories. So let’s talk about the writing instead. I love the storytelling in Cursed. I know I said I preferred The Last Wish (The Witcher)’s adaptation because it was a multi-point of view telling. Thomas has done exactly that with Cursed. While it is Nimue’s story, we see from Merlin, Uther, and even Sparrow’s perspective. It’s a complex story, but not confusing. Flashbacks are distinct flashbacks. I also connected with Nimue and all her fears and uncertainties, which is an improvement on many books I’ve read recently.
One more thing to discuss is the illustrations. Cursed is a collaboration between Thomas and illustrator, Frank Miller. I read an ebook from the library, so I barely noticed the illustrations. I enjoyed them and noticed the difference between colour and black and white (which I think matches the significance of that story element), but I would have appreciated them more in a physical copy.
Cursed is definitely on my recommendations list. It’s excellent as a book, and I’m sure it will be just as good as a television series.
Photo by Martin Bekerman on Unsplash