Cursed (The Thrice Cursed Mage #1) by J.A. Cipriano

Cursed (The Thrice Cursed Mage) (Volume 1) - J. A. Cipriano

When Mac Brennan wakes up in a dumpster the only thing that he can remember about himself is his name.  It also doesn't help that he's naked as the day he was born and that his left arm is covered in a black tar like substance which seems to turn red when he is in peril.  Mac knows that there's something he needs to accomplish and that time is running out but he has no idea what that might possibly be.  Before Mac has a chance to even remotely figure any of this all out, he finds that he has angered a werewolf and that they are out for blood.

Cursed is only 184 pages long but it felt like a three hundred page book.  I only managed to finish it through a fierce determination. No way was I letting Cursed defeat me but it was a very near thing. There's absolutely no character development in Cursed, not even for the protagonist, who for some strange reason has to repeatedly remind the reader of his name. Not only does Mac repeatedly say his name, he takes the time to tell the reader that he can accomplish anything.   I suppose I should be thankful that Mac at least refrained from referring to himself in the third person, though he did sound like a ridiculous author insert.

So the long and short of it is that Mac sold his soul to a demon and in return he gained some pretty amazing powers.  Cipriano uses Mac's amnesia as a device to cover for the fact that when ever Mac is in any kind of trouble, he pulls a new power out of his ass or mumbles some mystical phrase and boom, problem solved. I could have dealt with this if it happened once or twice but it was a near constant throughout Cursed.  Having these long action scenes allowed Cipriano to avoid having to do any work with real world building or characterisation.

So, Mac knows that there's a woman and a child that he cares about who are in danger.  It would make sense if he put all of his efforts into learning about himself, his skill set, or even the people he knows he cares about who are in danger.  What does Mac do?  He decides to risk his life, take on a demon, werewolves and a fellow Cursed, all in an effort to save a woman and child that he's known for a N.Y. minute. What the ever loving hell? In fact, it's not until the last few pages of the book that he finally gets around to searching for the people he cares for.  This of course is when Cursed ends on a cliffhanger of sorts because there's no better way to finish off a book filled with cliches than with a shitty ending.

There's absolutely nothing original about Cursed. Sure, it's cool to come across pop culture references in books but when the author steals everything that isn't nailed down, it's no longer cool but a stunning lack of imagination.  The wizard in the trench coat with the supposed heart of gold has been DONE; it's been done to death.

For someone who supposedly is the good guy, Mac has a funny way of showing it.




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