Garden of the Cursed (Garden of the Cursed #1)

Katy Rose Pool

YA Fantasy Thriller

In this thrilling YA fantasy/mystery duology from award-winning author Katy Pool, cursebreaker Marlow Briggs reluctantly pretends to be in love with one of the most powerful nobles in Caraza City to gain entry into an illustrious—and deadly—society that holds clues to her mother’s disappearance. Perfect for fans of Veronica MarsThese Violent Delights, and Chain of Iron.

Since fleeing the gilded halls of Evergarden for the muck-filled canals of the Marshes, Marlow Briggs has made a name for herself as the best godsdamn cursebreaker in Caraza City. But no matter how many cases she solves, she is still haunted by the mystery of her mother’s disappearance.

When Adrius Falcrest, Marlow’s old friend and scion of one of Caraza’s most affluent spell-making families, asks her to help break a life-threatening curse, Marlow wants nothing to do with the boy who spurned her a year ago. But a new lead in her mother’s case makes Marlow realize that the only way to get the answers she desperately seeks is to help Adrius and return to Evergarden society—even if it means suffering through a fake love affair with him to avoid drawing suspicion from the conniving Five Families.

As the investigation draws Marlow into a web of deadly secrets and powerful enemies, a shocking truth emerges: Adrius’s curse and her mother’s disappearance may just be clues to an even larger mystery, one that could unravel the very foundations of Caraza and magic itself.

-Excerpt taken from Goodreads.

Check Goodreads to see the book’s ratings.

My Opinion

“Maybe that was the real secret to a successful con: You had to know exactly what you were willing to risk.”

4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5) Another YA that I loved. Is the world of YA coming back from the brink of death? I’m crossing my fingers!

Marlow’s mother went missing a year ago. Since then, Marlow has changed from master con-woman to the best cursebreaker around. She breaks curses unwillingly placed on people while still searching for clues of her mother. Her biggest client is now Adrius who is high-ranking in society and his family is also one of the top 5 for leadership because of their spellmaking.

The writing flowed smoothly and was what caught my attention at first. For YA, it felt more detailed, more in depth and well-paced. It also had Shadow and Bone vibes from the dark and grimy world of Marlow to the posh elegance of Adrius.

Adrius’ curse is severe. It’s a curse that could change the path of their society but also potentially harm many people. Because of this, Marlow feels the need to stay with him to counteract the curse from working. The problem is, they were friends for years, and maybe a bit more until a year ago Adrius brushed her off like she was dirt on his shoes.

Obviously there is tension between Marlow and Adrius. It’s dramatically glorious! That posh world of his brings in so much drama and intrigue that the chances of the curse working before she could counteract it was high. Throw in a hierarchy of people in their society, tensions for power within the hierarchy and all the heirs caught in between, you just know something is about to explode.

This one was fun! The pacing was done well to hold my attention and the world was enchanting. The curse on Adrius really held my interest. The mystery of who did it to him and why and could they stop it in time was exciting throughout. It made me trust no one. I suspected most everyone at some point but the best information came last and ended spectacularly!

General content summary: F words= 9, some language, alcohol (multiple), knife threat, a mother is missing, previous f/f relationship, physical violence (punch, fighting/fists etc), a curse rotted a persons arm away, m/f passionate kisses, drowning, stabbing.

Thank you to Fierce Reads, Henry Holt and Co, and NetGalley for the copy!

The book releases June 20, 2023.

**As an Amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases. 

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