Author: Abbey Fox
SHE DIDN’T WANT TO FALL FOR HIM. SHE HAD NO CHOICE.
When magic dwindled from the world, the four kingdoms formed the Society of Crows, skilled wizards and sorcerers bound by the gods to uphold the balance. But as time passed, they became corrupted, demanding magical humans to marry only for procreation, for the preservation of magic.
Nava Darrion stumbled upon her soulmate when she was young. A brief meeting with a hooded stranger forever bound her to a man she wanted nothing to do with. Her parents were also soulmates, marrying despite her father not being a magic-wielder, their forbidden love forcing their family into hiding.
Now parentless, Nava’s life raising her younger brother and selling potions to wary townsfolk has been quiet…and magic-free. But when the Society of Crows finds Nava, intent on enslaving her, she flees to the forest, searching for the one person she was told can protect her.
Arkimedes is certainly not what she expected, and her attraction to him is new and unnerving. As the chemistry between them grows, so does her power. With the Society closing in, the two create unexpected alliances, and work in their disagreements. One rejecting magic and the other a powerful, enigmatic fae who has secrets of his own and is determined to change her mind. Nava must decide if she is to follow her destiny or listen to her heart…or maybe discover they are the same.
The Curse and the Crow is the first novel in the Wicked Kingdoms series. The story begins with the main character, Nava Dorrian, at 15 years old when she is met with two members of the Society of Crows, who are searching for her mother. One of them also happens to be her marked Soul Mate, which is a divine match where the two people cannot help their want to be together. Nava has no interest in Soul Mates, as she wants a real connection and not one that was forced on her. The story flashes forward to Nava at 25 years old where she lives in a village, Willowbrook, with her younger brother, Cameron, and their caregiver/housekeeper, Laurie. Nava has magic, but has hidden it over the years to prevent suspicion from the crown as the three of them hide out together. Even though she does not use her magic, she is good at apothecary and has her own shop called Potions. When one of the Society of Crows members from her childhood comes into the shop, Nava’s story takes off on an adventure. Nava is told that her mother has an ally named Arkimedes Valeron that could aid if someone comes to look for her. Nava sets out to find Arkimedes and run away.
The initial parts of the story were confusing at the very start, such as the concept of the Soul Mates, and the identity of the Society of the Crows. There are many questions left unanswered at the beginning with the reader being in the dark about these elements plus the reason Nava needs to run away from Devon Black, the Crow member. These pieces are revealed little by little throughout the story and the reader begins to understand how most of the pieces fit together. There are still things left unanswered, but as this is the first novel in the series, it makes sense not to have everything completely wrapped up by the end. Usually with multiple questions at the beginning it can slow down the pacing, however, this novel kept up a fairly fast pace and kept me interested from start to finish.
Nava was a very intriguing main character. She has a complex relationship as a possessor of magic although she does not want to practice, as Willowbrook is a magic-free place. She also does not wish to use it and prefers to go about everything manually. I liked how slowly she began to embrace the magical side of herself and see that it was not something that she needed to avoid. Nava also goes through a lot with her complex relationship with the concept of Soul Mates. She feels attracted to Arkimedes, which is a first for her, so she thinks he might be her Soul Mate. When he does not confirm after she asks, she is fascinated that she could possibly have someone to like of her own free will. However, Arkimedes is not a straightforward love interest. He has many secrets of his own and although he seems to like Nava, he gives many mixed signals. The will-they-won’t-they element created an interesting dynamic as Nava is more open about her attraction to Arkimedes, but there is a lot of tension when he is not straightforward about his feelings about why they should or should not be together. The amount of tension was extremely well written as the reader connects with the frustration Nava feels as she tries to understand Arkimedes.
Overall, the story was captivating as you have the two characters running from Devon while Nava is navigating her own emotions and history. Arkimedes has his own journey that he is working through while trying to protect Nava. I love all the characters they meet along the way, even if not all of them are immediately likeable. The romance is a main piece of the story, but there is enough going on with character development, mystery, and adventure that it works for readers who like multiple types of stories. The images are lovely at the beginning of each chapter and I also loved the two character images at the end. As I loved this story, it will be a difficult wait for book two to be available, as I cannot wait to see what happens next!
**I give a special thank you to Book Sprout and the author, Abbey Fox, for the opportunity to read this entertaining novel. The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.**