Review Detail

Young Adult Fiction 127
Castle Of The Cursed
(Updated: May 16, 2024)
Overall rating
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What worked: Intriguing paranormal world-building where a girl finds she plays a part in a tragic past. This novel introduces readers to Estela who after a horrific accident ends up in Spain with an aunt she knows nothing about. The gothic atmosphere grows with evocative hints of her true heritage. There's a cold aunt who is insistent on Estela taking a black seed instead of the meds from back in the States. A huge creepy castle with many secrets. And a shadowy personage who demands to be released from a spell. The problem is only Estela can see him.

Add to all this is the grief Estela carries from losing the only family she knew.

Lots is going on in this novel. A mystery behind the tragic death of her parents and others on a subway where only Estela survives. Why does her aunt have the blood supply of the small town? Mysterious locked rooms inside the castle. And the shadowy personage Sebastian, who she finds out is a vampire from a multi-dimensional universe.

The sinister purpose behind the castle is slowly revealed which includes Estela's part. A part she can accept or deny with deadly results.

At times the pacing slows with the telling of the castle's history and the other realm. The chemistry between Sebastian felt forced and too sudden. One minute he wants to kill Estela and the next she longs for him. Felipe, her Spanish tutor, had a stalker quality to him. Also, the reclusive uncle came out of nowhere. I felt this took away from an otherwise engaging unique paranormal tale.

Secrets, blood, and betrayals meet Estela where she needs to solve not only the mystery behind her parent's death but find hope in her future.
Good Points
1. Intriguing paranormal world-building
2. Diversity
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