Reading this story feels like snuggling underneath a warm blanket on a cold winter night.
It feels so right and comfortable, you find yourself figuratively cuddling up to the hero.
You breathe deeply when he kisses her.
Yes, this is how you want it to be.
But the blanket is ripped away, and you’re sitting there in the nudie, without your blanket, dreaming about a book boyfriend that is no more.
The Cursed Prince is wonderfully written, and I’m not just saying that.
The characters come to life on the page.
But I’m disappointed with this book. And I think it’s because it’s in a box set. I’ll explain later.
The book starts with the myth that Beaver Falls was once populated by witches.
Of course, Willow, the heroine, never believed witches were real for a second, until she is forced to talk to her aunt.
The good daughter
That’s how I describe Willow. Maybe she’s too good, but that’s how Willow is.
She went away to study, but when her studying was done, she moved back to Beaver Falls to be with her father.
Her brothers had all moved away, and she didn’t want her father to be alone.
I think that hit a note with me personally, actually.
I’m not going to say what made me cry (a lot of things make me cry), but I identified with Willow.
When she cried, so did I.
Her life seems perfect, until she is invited to the mysterious Korzha castle for one of their coveted dinners.
Willow’s curiosity gets the better of her, and she accidentally stumbles upon Nicolai.
The prince who suffers in silence
Nicolai Korzha suffers from a curse that was placed on him by a witch who wanted his brothers to suffer by watching him suffer.
He and his brothers, Maxim, Frederic, and Alexander, are all more than human. They’re werewolves, but because of the curse, Nicolai cannot take his wolf form.
For years, they’ve been trying to find the person who can break the curse on Nicolai, and when they find Willow, they realize she might be the one, since she is the only one who can touch Nicolai without giving him pain.
I understand the need for cliffhangers.
I love using them, because if done well, it can leave the reader both satisfied with the story so far but needing more.
It’s because I’m both a bitch and a tease. I like mystery.
And let’s face it, if the reader is given all the answers, there is no reason to keep going.
Because this book is in the Rite to Reign box set, the author needs to encourage the reader to buy and read the next book.
I thoroughly understand that.
How else is an author supposed to live, when these books are given away (20 at a time for $0.99c)?
The indie author struggle is real.
It’s not as though an author can pull a fully edited, beautifully-crafted story out of their ass every day. It takes time and money and blood and sweat and tears.
Box sets—are they worth it for anyone?
Authors go into these box sets for a variety of reasons—mostly for discovery—but they also do it to try and make the bestseller lists, so that they can call themselves a USA Today or New York Times Bestseller.
Some do it over and over again, to try and make the lists. Because it’s not automatic that they succeed. I’ve seen authors make it, and I’ve seen authors fail.
And that’s why you see so many of these box sets for $0.99c floating around.
They are priced that way so that readers think they have bought a bargain.
These box sets have been created and marketed so many times that readers have become accustomed to getting 20 stories for $0.99c.
Why pay $2.99 for one book, when you can get 20 for $0.99c?
The box sets have been done to death. Perhaps people don’t want to buy them anymore.
If authors aren’t making the lists, and can’t sell their books because readers want everything for $0.99c, it means that no one wins.
And when readers actually read the stories inside and are disappointed, it means everyone loses.
Truly, I feel like reading a book without a satisfying ending is like being promised a date with Jason Momoa.
But when you turn up to the restaurant, the waiter takes you to a table with Mr Bean sitting there, picking his nose and giggling at the menu.
A huge turn off
In the case of The Cursed Prince, the romance plot is not tied up.
The story is unfinished.
Nicolai and Willow don’t get their happy-ever-after at all.
And what if anything, will happen when Nicolai realizes he’ll never see Willow again?
Granted, the mystery of the curse and Peter is solved, but that’s all.
And it isn’t even a happy-for-now ending.
It just ends, without an indication that there might be more. There is no mention of a book that follows on after that—just sign up to my mailing list.
And so, my conclusion: I’m not reading any more stories in box sets.
I’m not going to be left feeling like I’m having a date with Mr Bean.
If there is another book, fine.
But it doesn’t say anything about a continuation. Just one huge cliffhanger, and I’m in a really bad mood now.
Because I don’t want to imagine myself with Mr Bean—you don’t want to imagine that either.
Therefore, it’s a 2 out of 5 from me.
The actual narrative is great, as I said before, but the romance plot could have been tied up so easily at the end.
That is what romance is all about—the happy ever after.
And just now, after writing the review, I went to find this box set on Amazon again and realized it is no longer available.
And the author has not published the standalone story.
Which means I’ve spent all this time reviewing a book for you that you can’t read. Super.
I can honestly say I won’t be reading any more stories from box sets.