Cursed Magic – Meg Cowley & Victoria DeLuis

*I received a free ARC of this ebook in exchange for an honest review.*

Blurb: What would you pay for the key to death?

Zoe and Jamie are in a race against time to recover Pandora’s Box before the unthinkable happens; it is sold to the highest bidder, and the apocalypse within is unleashed upon the world.

51ht7dOGWIL__UY250_Zoe is furious to learn that Jamie Oxford has stolen Pandora’s Box, which she has only just recovered for safekeeping, from under MI5’s nose… and lost it. Determined to make him redeem himself for his mistake, she drags him across the world to track it down in the hands of the infamous Magicai Cleo and her team. They have an inside man, an Ordinary, clueless of the danger he is in; can he help them reach the box in time, without risking his own life?

As they struggle to keep up with Cleo and her shady business deals to sell the box for a fortune, a terrifying demonstration of the box’s power shows just how great the peril is. The stakes could not be higher, but Zoe and Jamie are too distracted by their own bickering to work effectively. Their chance to reclaim it is slipping away.

Can Zoe and Jamie avert humanity’s destruction and recover Pandora’s Box before it disappears forever?

Cursed Magic is the third book in the Relic Guardians series, and while it does stand alone as a story, I would recommend reading books 1 and 2 first, as they establish both the characters and the rules of the world, magic, etc.  This book dives straight on in with the characters and action without as much in the way of background explanation.

I’ve said before, when reviewing the earlier books that if you like the sound of Indiana Jones or Lara Croft, crossed with the paranormal, then these books are for you.  The focus is on action: infiltration, fighting, hostages, locating and retrieving dangerous objects, spell battles and so on.  The pacing is fast and tense, and the characters are skilled and efficient in their individual fields.

This installment is slightly different as there is an element of romantic relationship built into the characterisation of the main protagonists.  The focus is on Zoe and Jamie; Hayley (from Hidden Magic) does make a brief appearance, but remains in the background.  The changing relationship dynamics are interesting as it builds on the development of the characters so far and how they relate to each other as a team, rather than as separate people who happen to be working towards similar goals.  There is also more character development here about Jamie, who I previously labelled as ‘The Thief’.  I’m not taking back that description, but I like that he has more layers now, and this, in turn, shows us the beginnings of a softer, happier (but still kickass) Zoe.

There is clearly still plenty to come for these characters, with the building of a wider story arc, and almost endless opportunities for their future adventures.  Due to the mild romance, mild language and lack of explicit violence (deaths occur but the details are left to the imagination), I would also recommend these books for teens and upwards who like their adventures fast-paced, action-packed and magic-filled.

“I’ll tell you what was in that box.”  My voice was dangerously low as I stood and stalked towards him.  “That box contains exactly what the legends say, and worse.  If you don’t get it back, the human race might not live to see another year.  Right now, we are your best chance of stopping that.  But we need Jamie, and we need that box, wherever they are.  What intelligence do you have on him?”

– Zoe in Cursed Magic, Meg Cowley & Victoria DeLuis

To see more from the authors you can check out the websites for Meg Cowley and Victoria DeLuis, and/or contact them via Facebook (here and here) or Twitter (here).

If you’re interested, you can find my reviews for Ancient Magic (Book 1) and Rogue Magic (a short story sitting at 2.5 in the series) here, and my review for Hidden Magic (Book 2) here.

Or if High Fantasy is more to your thing, I have reviewed Meg Cowley’s Caledan series on the following links:  Prequel and Book 1, Book 2, Book 3.

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