Rating: 3 Stars
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When I realized several of the witchy books I read last Halloween had sequels due out this year, I was elated. Can’t repeat Witchtobers past? Why of course you can!
From Bad to Cursed is the second book in Lana Harper’s Witches of Thistle Grove series, and this time, we’re chilling in the dungeons with the Avramovs. This family of witches is best known for necromantic magic, which means they get a bad rep compared to the sap-sweet Thorns. Naturally, Isadora Avramov has made herself a nemesis in the straight-laced rule follower, Rowan Thorn.
The two have avoided one another ever since Issa’s volunteer stint at the animal shelter, where Rowan seemed to lurk around every corner with a reprimand. Then a mysterious curse befalls the Thorn family during Beltane celebrations, and Isadora must team up with Rowan to find the true culprits and clear her family name.
I really liked the first book in the series, which had a very John Tucker Must Die meets Triwizard Tournament vibe that I appreciated. This second book was a bit of a tougher hang for me, with a main character like Isadora. Issa summons demons for fun and has a reckless streak that isn’t explained until over halfway into the book.
She and Rowan both felt a bit underdeveloped as characters at times, which made it hard for me to settle in to the book. Even though I struggled to get into it, the mystery that drives the plot definitely kept me invested, and I enjoyed trying to work out what was going on. This book also definitely has some fun on-the-page spice, if you’re into that sort of thing.
In all, I’m not sure trying to force every series into an annual release cycle to meet demand serves readers in the end. There were parts of this book that felt a bit unfinished to me, like a rough draft that could’ve used a little more polish to really finish it out. I still enjoyed it overall, and will definitely be picking up book number three so I can learn more about the world of Thistle Grove and its magical families.
I recommend From Bad to Cursed to anyone who identifies as a Slytherin, to fans of a solid enemies-to-lovers romance, and those who enjoy watching people fall in love while solving a mystery.