This is a spoiler-free review of By a Charm and a Curse by Jaime Questell. Le Grand Carnival Fantastic is a circus bound together by a charm and a curse, and when Emmaline King goes to the circus, she isn’t expecting to kiss a mysterious boy who propels her into a curse.
I received this early copy of By a Charm and a Curse through NetGalley thanks to Entangled Publishing / Entangled Teen.
Emmaline King has just been forced to move, and she’s trying her best to reignite a relationship with her friend. When they visit the Carnival Fantastic, Emma is intrigued by the vivid show the circus has put on. When a handsome, mysterious boy gives her a rose and invites her to find him, she agrees. Standing before a booth, she sees the Boy in the Box, the same boy who gave her a rose. He gives her fortune, and when she looks away, he’s standing before her. He leads her to the top of the Ferris wheel where her fate is sealed with a kiss. He was cursed, and now his curse is her burden.
The curse makes her the new Girl in the Box — she must find someone else to pass the curse onto. She’s informed this curse is what keeps the circus’ charm going, a charm that means the circus’ employees will never suffer pain. What if she wants to break the curse? Breaking the curse means damning those who have been protected by the charm, and when she begins falling for a sweet carpenter boy named Ben, it could mean risking his life.
Ben has desperately wanted to leave the circus. When Emma arrives, he is instantly drawn to her. He wants to help her adjust to the circus, and he feels bad for her predicament. His mother is constantly warning him to stay away from her, yet he can’t.
As they begin falling for one another, Ben will do anything to break Emma’s curse. Will they break her curse, or will she bare the curse to keep the char?
I thought this was an exceptionally beautiful story. Jaime Questell has seriously created an amazing world that kept me hooked to the pages. By a Charm and a Curse was a stunning story, dual POV story that followed the hearts and minds of both of the protagonists, Emma and Ben.
The premise of the charm and the curse was fantastic. The stakes remained high throughout the story. Emma has three options: break the curse and doom the circus, pass the curse onto someone who’s unsuspecting, or keep the burden the curse herself. Reading Emma struggle with this kept me glued to the pages — I had to know what she would do! Reading from Ben’s perspective was great, too. He grew as a character through the pages.
The romance aspect was also intriguing. The romance plays a direct part with the charm and the curse, but I won’t spoil that! It’s safe to say, though, I was definitely swooning over the protagonists.
The side characters were also well fleshed out. I didn’t feel as if I was only crowded with Emma or Ben. There was an array of other characters who absolutely stole my heart, too!
This YA fantasy had me hooked to the pages from start to finish. The premise, the world, and the characters were absolutely wonderful.
TITLE: By a Charm and a Curse
AUTHOR: Jaime Questell
GENRE: Young Adult, Fantasy
RELEASE DATE: February 6, 2018