Cursed by S.J. Harper
Paperback, 304 pages
Expected publication: October 1st, 2013 by Roc
Meet FBI Agents Emma Monroe and Zack Armstrong.
She's cursed. He's damned. Together, they make one hell of a team.
Emma Monroe is a Siren, cursed by the gods and bound to earth to atone for an ancient failure. She’s had many names and many lives, but only one mission: redemption. Now that she works missing persons cases for the FBI, it could be just a rescue away. Unless her new partner leads her astray.
Special Agent Zack Armstrong just transferred into the San Diego Field Office. He’s a werewolf, doing his best to beat back the demons from his dark and dangerous past. As a former Black Ops sniper, he’s taken enough lives. Now he’s doing penance by saving them.
Emma and Zack’s very first case draws them deep into the realm of the paranormal, and forces them to use their own supernatural abilities. But that leaves each of them vulnerable, and there are lines partners should not cross. As secrets are revealed and more women go missing, one thing becomes clear: as they race to save the victims, Emma and Zack risk losing themselves.
It's not real often that I really, really like the first book in a new UF series. Getting use to a new world is often mind boggling and complicated. This book managed to have a fantastic world but it wasn't at all mind boggling or complicated, and the characters were simply fantastic!
Emma is unique because she's a Siren and she's an FBI agent. She's a character that's easy to like and I immediately felt an attachment to her. We don't get a lot of information about her Siren background until later, so we meet her and get to know her and then learn more about the Siren aspect. But it was never complicated or too much to understand.
Zack is also a great character, and I loved that him and Emma have a past together as they had worked a case together in the past. So the immediate attraction and somewhat fast fall into romance territory worked fine for this book. I could have used some slow burn romance instead, but it was fine as went and worked for this book, so I won't complain. Zack clearly has a past, but it's not until a bit later that we find out more about it and understand why he thinks the way he does.
The paranormal aspects in this one were really easy to understand. The paranormal creatures are hidden from the general population, they aren't 'out'. The vampires, werewolves, witches, etc are your normal fare, but it didn't feel worn and used. As a matter of fact this book felt fresh and new to me. That might partially be because Emma is a Siren and that aspect is new. There's a reason why she's working in missing persons and a reason why she shouldn't be with Zack.
One of my most favorite aspects of this one was the mystery. The case that they are working is a big part of the book. They have to find these missing women. I loved being with them as they found the various clues and began to piece them together. I felt we got the right amount of clues to be able to make guesses, but it's not so obvious that we can easily figure it out. I didn't figure it out at all, I had no idea who could be responsible. I felt this aspect was extremely well done.
This is a great place to start for those ready to dip their toes in the urban fantasy genre. It's simple enough to understand, but is still fresh and new. While there is adult content, it's quick and doesn't drag on. It's also a fast read. I tend to slack on reading my urban fantasy books because YA is just a much quicker read. This one I read in the amount of time it takes to read the average length YA book.
I highly recommend this to people who enjoy urban fantasy, mysteries and a good romance without the whole 'romance' vibe and drama.