Cover Image: The Phantom's Curse

The Phantom's Curse

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Member Reviews

I'm sad to say I did not like this at all. The writing felt like it lacked coherence, and the characters were lacking the same. Especially the main character felt like she was several different people at once. The plot felt like it belonged to a middle-grade audience with how easy and rushed everything was, and at the same time the characters were murdering people left and right and acting very much like young adults??

There are also so many instances of contradiction in the book, such as the main character accidently hitting someone with an arrow but also has perfect aim literally the rest of the time?? And a boy being starved and too weak to stay conscious suddenly grinning, talking, and throwing himself into someone's arms a little while later?

I could keep going on, but in summary this book was sadly just too poorly written for me to enjoy. The story itself was interesting, but it was sadly not enough for me.

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Thank you to Netgalley for a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I think the length of this novel really hurt. It was so short and fast paced, I had trouble connecting with the characters. Maz, the MC, didn't really have a personality to me. I was more concerned with Robbie. Theo also kind of got on my nerves, he just seemed to... I don't know. Good?
The story was fast paced, but I found myself not caring. I unfortunately skimmed through the last 25% or so. I can't say I will be able to recommend.

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1/5 stars.
Honestly I didn't really like this book. I didn't think the writing was very good and the story didn't seem to flow. I probably wouldn't have finished it if it hadn't been so short.

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Oh, boy, this one seemed so promising! Unfortunately, however, there were just too many issues with this one for me.

Admittedly, it was a quick read--despite the fact that I just didn't love it.

The writing on this one is what I struggled with the most. There were whole sections that I felt myself skimming because the tone was just off. It almost felt as if this could've been fleshed out more, edited to mature that voice, and given just a bit more believability.

I will concede that had these things been done, with all the potential, I could've loved it. The characters weren't half bad, and the premise was so interesting!

Thank you for the opportunity to read and review this book. My review will be available at the link given, on 1/11/21.

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This book just wasn’t for me purely because of the first person narrative, if they could have found a way of writing it in a second person narrative it would have pulled me in to the book more. I find sci-fi quite daunting at the best of times and have read some very well known authors who write sci-fi and their books are awful. This was better than those but I feel a better perspective and slow it down a touch would have made it much better.
It was like I was running at full speed at times without having the ability to walk.

For me this book is a 2.75 so just under the 3 star range where I would recommend but this is just my opinion. Someone could pick this up and for them it would be a 5 star read.
I would like to read something else by this author and see if there is any difference

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I'll start by saying that this definitely felt more like a middle grade read than a YA title - Things felt a little bit underdeveloped and juvenile.
While I enjoyed the premise of the book, I feel like it could have gone deeper. The whole book felt more like a quick overview of the topics rather than delving fully into its ideas and concepts - I've seen someone else use the reference of 'on last weeks episode..' it gives you the concept of the ideas and shows snippets of scenes so that you kind of get the idea of what's going on but with little to no depth.
Perhaps it's due to the fast-paced nature of the book that left it falling flat for me.

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Books that are marketed as YA but read like middle grade have never been my cup of tea, but that's not to say that this is a bad story. It was quick and enjoyable, and was a fun little pallette cleanser. This book has a compelling premise and interesting characters, but everything was just a little too convenient for my tastes and it felt rushed. Like I said, this was still an enjoyable, quick read, but it definitely had room for improvement, regardless of whether it's supposed to be YA or middle grade.

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this was a really enjoyable read, the characters were great and I really enjoyed going through the plot with them. I would love to see a sequel.

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Although it took me a while to finish this was a fabulous book and I am excited to read more from the author!

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Really enjoyed this one! Seemed like it was fast paced. Main character was awesome and enjoyed learning about her. Medieval setting was perfect for this one! Definitely recommend

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I would like to thank Shelley Wilson & BHC Press for my copy of the ARC, due to this kind gesture I have decided to leave an honest review.

Quick, fun, every YA trope mixed into one read. The book is definitely more a middle-grade level but it still keeps your attention so I give it 3 and a half stars!

Marianne is a young healer living in the link. Her parents were exiled which has left Marianne guardian of her younger brother Newt. With her sixteen birthday about to take place, she is invited to the blessing in the city of Obanac which she will take her brother as her companion. After her brother is wrongly accused of a crime she has to beg for his release. The young lord asks for demands that Maz will not meet so she seeks out Robbie and his friends plus a priests son for help. With girls going missing and strange things happening can she save her brother from the young lord and his sorcerer before it all blows up, quite literally?

I actually really enjoyed the book, it was quick, fun and it wrapped up nicely. The book certainly is for young YA audience such as middle grade but this didn't take away the actual enjoyment of the book out. Did everything resolve itself conveniently? Yes lol, which actually didn't ruin the book.

I liked our leading lady, she was sassy and funny! Her love for her brother shone like a beacon. Newt is extremely loveable and reminds me of my little brother when he was younger, always getting up to things he wasn't meant to. I also really liked our other characters. Robbie our lovely rogue and his friends Fergus & Xander. Theo who is just the sweetest, I even enjoyed Crawford Reign our murderous royal!

The story is very fast-paced and I read it within a few hours, it's very cliche but I loved it never the less!

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"He leaned in and kissed me gently on the lips. Everything disappeared for those few seconds, and it was just the two of us."

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Interesting characters. Intriguing plot. Dynamic prose. My attention was held the entire time. I enjoyed my time reading this one. I’d suggest this story to everyone who loves magic.

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Interesting and original storyline which was definitely a surprise since a lot of seemingly similar books belong in YA. However, Shelley Wilson did a great job capturing me into the story and the characters and I felt invested in everything. I recommend!

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Perhaps this is a good read forca YA audience. However, I didn't find this to be a satisfying read.

The characters weren't particularly well developed and I found it difficult to connect with them. The plot was predictable and not terribly interesting.

I was given a free ARC. I am leaving my honest review.

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This is the second book I’ve read over the last couple months that could be classified as a “retelling”, but really isn’t much of a retelling at all. Other than some character name similarities, mainly Marianne and Robbie, and a few elements of the plot, including bow and arrows as a primary weapon or the forest as an important setting, this book bears no resemblance to the tale of Robin Hood. Which begs the question – what constitutes a retelling?

For me, a great retelling follows the same story and themes as the original tale, even if loosely, and ideally includes some unique twists on the plot, setting, and characters. I would argue that simply using the characters’ names weakens the story since readers will be looking for similarities to the original and likely end up disappointed. If I’m missing some lesser-known version of Robin Hood to which this book can be tied, please let me know!

Retelling aside, unfortunately this book reads more like an early draft of a novel rather than a finished version. Many sections seem rushed and could have easily been expanded, as a lot happens and there are a lot of characters to keep track of in this 200-page story. Not only does Marianne “Maz” need rescue her little brother, but she also has to worry about her village being raided by the cruel Black Riders, as well as determine whether the king is hiding a legendary evil sorcerer “in the bowels of the castle” who hopes to bring back the Phantom’s Curse. Plus, there are a couple other plot twists thrown in near the end that complicate things further.

Speaking of the curse, the story also would benefit from a deepening of the world, especially the magic system. The evil curse is the focus of the prologue, however it’s overshadowed by Maz’s visit to the castle, scuffles with the Black Riders, and scheming with Robbie and Theo. I honestly almost forgot about the curse until the latter part of the book, when Maz must join with her friends and the people of Obanac to defeat it. Maz’s untapped powers are hinted at throughout the story, but they are never really explored until the end, and even then I was left with questions.

On a positive note, I really did like Maz as a character. Shelley Wilson creates a complex heroine in this sharpshooting, determined, vulnerable, clever, and kind healer who only wants to keep her brother and the people of her village safe. I loved her bond with Newt and her friendship with Theo, and would have enjoyed seeing her relationships with other side characters developed more, including Xander, Fergus, and even Halia.

Lastly, I truly felt the romantic chemistry between Maz and Robbie; however, the length of the book unfortunately affected this as well. If the story was longer, Maz and Robbie could have had more page time together so we could watch their relationship grow and see those sparks fly.

Thank you to BHC Press via Netgalley for providing me with an eARC in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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DNF @ 15%

I gave this one the minimum 15% I try to give before I DNF anything, but just … nothing happened. There was a lot of exposition and talk about other things breaking up the action in the present, which just wasn’t enough to hold my attention, since it was basically the protagonist preparing for her debutante dinner. What it boiled down to was I felt completely lost in this world, no idea what was going on for a lot of things, and the things I did understand, I just didn’t care about. I’m obviously not the audience for this one.

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Although the first half was entertaining and easy to read, the author hurried too far in the second, without giving enough time to dive into what was happening, let alone the insufferable cliché of the almighty chosen one who, without any training, manages to defeat the unspeakable evil that has been strengthened for more years than she's being alive, or the forced love triangle between a tender boy and another with whom it's impossible to sympathize. A star for the first half and another for Maz's first conscious use of her magic, very creative and very credible.

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Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the e-arc!
This was an enjoyable fantasy story of short length, which was exactly what I needed.

Marianne (or to her friends, Maz) lives in the Link, which is the countryside to the prestigious city of Obanac.
The story starts by recounting the events of the past. Everyone in Obanac knows what the Phantom's Curse means. Not so long ago, the lands were poisoned by the mythical creature called the Phantom, that always needs a human host to take form in. Many people have died, and though the creature is gone, the fear remains, and maybe the peace in Obanac is not what it seems.

I really liked Marianne and her inner compass, she's truly a badass girl, who deserves the title of "chosen one" if I say so. She's also a bit of a "Robin Hood" character, an archer, and also a healer, deeply connected to her people. Her friendships and relationship were quite wholesome, I enjoyed reading about them very much.
Obviously, it's a short book, I felt the ending a bit rushed and convenient, but that didn't take away from my enjoyment.

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A fast paced action story surrounding a female hero. I liked the way this was written and felt the end was put together well.

Marianne is a really rounded character and I feel girls of her age will feel connected with her point of view story.

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I struggled a bit with this story as I couldn't connect to the plot and it fell flat.
Not my cup of tea.
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine.

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