Cursed Under London

The unputdownable first novel in a new Elizabethan romantasy series

You must sign in to see if this title is available for request. Sign In or Register Now
Book 1 of Cursed
Send NetGalley books directly to your Kindle or Kindle app

1
To read on a Kindle or Kindle app, please add kindle@netgalley.com as an approved email address to receive files in your Amazon account. Click here for step-by-step instructions.
2
Also find your Kindle email address within your Amazon account, and enter it here.
Pub Date Jul 04 2024 | Archive Date Jun 20 2024

Talking about this book? Use #CursedUnderLondon #NetGalley. More hashtag tips!


Description

A cosy rom-com set in a fantasy version of Elizabethan London by the writer of Horrible Histories

––––––––––––––

In an alternative Elizabethan London, Fang and Lazare awake from their deaths to discover they are not quite human anymore. In fact, despite having acquired the power of immortality, they’re also not quite vampire, zombie, werewolf or any of the other supernatural beings that reside in the underground city of Deep London.

Thrown together by the curse they share, the two strangers set out to reverse the spell, all the while trying to ignore the intense connection between them. As they are drawn further into the shadowy world of Deep London, they unearth a dangerous plot which they appear to be right in the middle of...

A cosy rom-com set in a fantasy version of Elizabethan London by the writer of Horrible Histories

––––––––––––––

In an alternative Elizabethan London, Fang and Lazare awake from their deaths to...


Advance Praise

'Gabby is one of the funniest writers I know' Sarah Millican

'Magical, surprising and funny' Jan Ravens

'I absolutely loved it! Danger, excitement and kissing – it's got the lot. I can't wait to see what happens next' Lucy Porter

'Gabby is one of the funniest writers I know' Sarah Millican

'Magical, surprising and funny' Jan Ravens

'I absolutely loved it! Danger, excitement and kissing – it's got the lot. I can't wait to see...


Available Editions

EDITION Hardcover
ISBN 9781788425032
PRICE £14.99 (GBP)
PAGES 304

Available on NetGalley

NetGalley Shelf App (EPUB)
Send to Kindle (EPUB)
Download (EPUB)

Average rating from 143 members


Featured Reviews

Cursed Under London is the first book in a historical romantasy series set in an alternative Elizabethan London. In Upper London, home of humans, Fang and Lazare both wake from their untimely deaths to find themselves no longer fully human. Fang and Lazare team up with Fang's friend Nell (a Welsh apothecary) and Amber the tiny dragon to try and reverse the curse upon them. The mystery takes them down into Deep London, home of everything distinctly not-human!

I loved the Discworld/Rivers of London tone to this book. The blurb isn't exaggerating when it says that this book is hilarious - I laughed out loud many times, and even had to read out quotes to my Terry Pratchett-loving husband to explain my outbursts. My favourite quote is probably:
'They were masked, but we do have a physical description of John,' continued Peanut, quickly. 'Um... "Gorgeous, just really nice eyes and hair, fit arms, bum like two tennis balls squeezed into a sock".'

It was just so easy to read, and the humour never felt forced. I read this book in one go, just hours after getting the ARC because a historical paranormal romantasy is like my holy grail, and as soon as I started reading it, I was sucked right in. The plot was super strong - there is absolutely no filler in this book and so it's just comedy, heart and action all the way through.

I am so glad this is a series, because I can't wait to see more of the alternative/fantasy Elizabethan world, and I definitely need to see what happens with/to these characters next! The central group were all interesting and fully fleshed out and they weren't just caricatures which could have easily been done. I loved how inclusive the world was, and it was just so heartwarming even with all the death and chaos happening around the characters. To say I am rooting for Fang and Lazare is an understatement. This was my first book by this author, but it definitely won't be my last!

Disclaimer: I received an ARC from NetGalley but this is my voluntary and honest review.

Was this review helpful?

Oh, this book was everything to me.

The little band of main characters were incredible. I mean, seriously could not have been any better. I was dying laughing at the dialogue going on between our core four throughout most of it (except, of course, when we did a real quick 180 and I was having my heart shredded to pieces). Biggest shout out my girl Amber, aka the tiny dragon who showed up to help in every single combat scene but promptly dipped when the dangerous situation is, in fact, dangerous. She's so me. The most iconic dragon to ever dragon.

Also, Kit Marlowe is canonically a horny zombie in this book. Which, like, is insane and also quite possibly one of the funniest running bits I've ever read in a novel before.

But as for the story itself, I loved it. It was fast-paced enough to keep me engaged throughout, and still never felt like things were being rushed. I was so incredibly curious about what the hell was going on with Larzare and Fang and their whole 'undead but, like, also not' thing and, while I'm satisfied with the answers I've gotten, there's still so much to expand on and I am already fiening for book two.

Was this review helpful?

Cursed Under London by Gabby Hutchinson Crouch is a novel about the London that humans inhabit and the "Under London" that non-humans live in.

Lazare and Fang have somehow died but haven't turned into the creatures that inhabit Under London - be it any number of supernatural beings, but they aren't quite human either. To try and find out why they haven't turned and to reverse the curse they are under, they find themselves in all sorts of situations along with their newly found friends Amber, who is a dragon, and an apothecary, Nell.

I enjoyed the secondary characters and the way that Lazare and Fang handled themselves - the humor that all of the characters displayed was natural and not forced, truly funny, and it made the book speed by.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for this most enjoyable book, I hope to read more from the author. All opinions are my own.

Was this review helpful?

"Cursed Under London" is a cozy fantasy novel centered around two men living in the 16th century London, Lazare and Fang. They both seemingly meet their demise but miraculously avoid death or transformation into vampires, werewolves, zombies, or other supernatural beings. To unravel the mystery behind their peculiar circumstances, they join forces with a charming dragon named Amber and a witty Apothecary named Nell. As the story unfolds, the characters find themselves entangled in increasingly complex situations, while a budding affection develops between Fang and Lazare.

The premise of this book is quite intriguing. I enjoyed the concept of Upper London, where regular humans reside, contrasting with Deep London, inhabited by supernatural beings. Additionally, the novel is fast-paced, with a dynamic plot that keeps the characters constantly on the move. However, what truly sets this book apart is its humor. The dialogue between the characters is infused with so much wit that I found myself giggling throughout. The banter between Fang and Lazare is particularly delightful. Additionally, I appreciated the other characters, especially Amber the dragon. It's not easy to weave together a romantic arc and a found family trope seamlessly, but the author executed it magnificently in this case.

I have two small issues with this book, which are probably personal preferences and may not be a bother for other readers. Firstly, as it's a cozy fantasy book, I felt that the stakes were a little too low for me to become fully invested. The fact that the main villain turned out to be a caricature did not help in this regard. Secondly, I didn't quite connect with the fact that the world depicted was modeled on Elizabethan England. While I understand that it's a fantasy and historical accuracy isn't necessary, I would have liked to feel more of the spirit of that era. It felt like the setting was chosen primarily to feature specific characters living in 16th-century England, such as Kit Marlowe or Elizabeth herself, rather than for thematic or world-building reasons. This universe could have been modeled on any other period of history, or even the present day.

Still, I very much enjoyed this book because of its humor and excellent writing. I would recommend it to urban fantasy lovers, as well as readers seeking books similar to those by T. Kingfisher, but with even more humor.

Was this review helpful?

I am a fan of this author. Cursed Under London doesn't disappoint. It's a charming fantasy with well drawn characters and good world building, infused with her trademark humor.

Thanks to Netgalley and the publishers for the opportunity to read this ARC.

Was this review helpful?

With laugh out loud humor, ‘Cursed Under London’ is a wonderful reprieve in a genre that often takes itself too seriously. In an alternative version of 1500’s London where the magical ‘undead’ and the living coexist peacefully, our trio of Lazare, Fang, and Nell threaten to upset the balance after they die, but come back as something not quite dead, not quite living. All of this leads to a fun, compulsive read, that highlights Hutchinson Crouch’s mastery of satire through mocking dialogue during battles, a bisexual William ‘Bill’ Shakespeare and Christopher ‘Kit’ Marlowe, but also twists around who’s plan they’ve all been tangled into. I loved nearly every character we meet, all of whom are LGBT+ and have greater banter between one another. There are layers to each character too; clearly haunted by their individual pasts, which they lean on each other as a found family to overcome. This reminded me of an adult version of ‘House by the Cerulean Sea’, same level of lightheartedness, but a pitch or two more violent & spicy.

What Hutchinson Crouch Get's Right:
• Loveable, found family of characters with unique abilities I hadn’t read before
• ‘Will they, won’t they’ tension between Fang & Lazare! UGH just kiss already!
• Little touches in the story that make it London- mentioning of a tube system, diplomatic subplots, and familiar landmarks- but we get to explore a whole new London too with the undead

"One thing about haunted houses was, it was never the house’s fault that it was haunted. It was just a vessel, into which the ghosts of years of sadness were poured and trapped."

Was this review helpful?

An alternative London where a tentative peace hangs in the balance between upper London ( human ) and deepside London ( supernatural).
Thee unlikely people are cursed with eternal life. Fang, Lazare and Nell set out to break the curse while trying to avoid the wrath of Londons seedy gangs and without causing an diplomatic incident.

This story had me hooked from the outset. Each character is emotionally complex bringing life and sense to the decisions they make. A somewhat found family the group explores the different and unexpected ways that love can grow, despite not being blood.
The cliffhanger was a cruel edition to this story, it has set up the sequels nicely, however the lack of current closure between two of the characters is mildly frustrating.

Was this review helpful?

Thankyou to Netgalley and Farrago for allowing me to read this arc copy of Cursed Under London. It was a super cosy romantasy and I enjoyed every bit! The characters are so fun, got hilarious banter, like I was laughing out loud reading this.

Was this review helpful?

What a fun fantasy novel. Full of action, monsters, love and action packed adventures. And gay love.I really enjoyed this book and can’t wait to read more from the author. Thank you to #netgalley and the publisher for an ARC.

Was this review helpful?

What a lovely different unique take on a book I really really enjoyed it.
Loved the characters so well written I could just picture them, loved how easily it flowed and how I followed the fast paced interesting story.
I love a story which is so completely different.
I did really enjoy it

Was this review helpful?

Cursed Under London is so very fun! It is a fantasy rom-com set in an alternate Elizabethan London where vampires, werewolves and dragons roam the streets and live underground in the ‘Deepside.’ The world-building was very cool, and I enjoyed seeing a London that was still recognisable, with landmarks, places, and the tube system (albeit in a very different form). It follows Fang and Lazare, who both find themselves come alive again after being killed. They now have to deal with unique new powers as they find a way to undo the curse that doesnt allow them to die, while navigating the chemistry that has begun to build between them. The book is really funny, and has some amazing comedic moments, as famous historical figures from the time period crop up as zombified versions of themselves in places you wouldn’t expect. The supporting cast are hilarious characters, especially tiny urban dragon Amber, whose snarky commentary throughout the book made me laugh.
I did enjoy how fast-paced the book was, everything moved really quickly, and I didn’t find myself bored. I did struggle to form an attachment to some of the characters, but I can see that being a me issue. I also didn’t particularly care for the romance, it didn’t seem like either character actually had their heart in it. The villain did seem a little bit of a evil caricature, without a defined reason for doing what he did, but he was still very fun.

I would like to see where the series progresses, as I believe it will be a trilogy, as the ending definitely had me concerned for the fate of the group. Overall, I really enjoyed this read, and would recommend it to anyone looking for a quick, cozy, and funny fantasy read! Thank you so much for the opportunity to read the ARC.

Was this review helpful?

This was a fun story with characters that were funny and enjoyable! I loved the setting as well, and I felt that it was very well suited for this type of cozy romance story!

Was this review helpful?

So I actually loved this book - my real rating is 4.5 stars but I found down!

It was refreshing to read a cosy fantasy that doesn’t revolve around tea or coffee for once - most cosy fantasy’s seem to be unoriginal since legends and lattes.

Alongside this I also loved the fact that the two main characters (each others love interest) were men - you never get mlm romantasy books so I enjoyed the change.

I’ve seen a few moans about the plot lacking: it’s a cosy fantasy. Most cosy fantasy’s have next to 0 plot and the ‘battle’ lasts about two pages.

The perfect read to cleanse your reading palate.

Was this review helpful?

4.5 stars rounded up to 5.

Oh I loved this one - i'm a sucker for a historical fantasy romance and this did not disappoint.

This book is a delightful romp through 17th century London and features a host of fantastical creatures including fae, vampires, werewolves and dragons. The overall tone is lighthearted with the banter and bonds between the main characters being one of the stand out strengths for me.

I also think getting the balance between found family and romance right can be a tricky feat, especially in the first book in a series, but Cursed Under London seemed to handle it effortlessly. Absolutely cannot wait for book 2, what a belter!!

(Full review to come on my tiktok @lilyoliviareads)

Was this review helpful?

I'm torn about how to rate/review this book. On the first page, I was delighted and fully expected it to be a five-star read. As things went on, though, the parts that didn't work kept rearing their niggling heads. First, there were the POV issues (way too many, given that the proper number is zero), and then there was the predictable downfall of the book's Big Bad (without any intervention by the protagonists, as another reviewer pointed out). Along the way, I liked a lot of the characters but didn't love them. I didn't object to the choice to incorporate anachronisms, and I thoroughly enjoyed the humor. Overall, I think the author may simply have tried to do too much, and the result was... uneven. By the time we got to the end (setting up for a sequel), I didn't much care. I'm rounding up to four stars for the humor and the really interesting concepts.

My thanks to the publisher/NetGalley for an advance copy of this book.

Was this review helpful?

Imagine Elizabethan portal urban fantasy and you can’t go too far wrong. This was more dark than funny – and maybe not a totally original concept – but I really enjoyed it. I like a good trio of MCs and a story where the mundane butts up against the supernatural. Overall I found this to be great fun.

Was this review helpful?

I really enjoyed Cursed Under London! It was a dark comedy/fantasy/romance that is more dark than funny, but that was ok with me! This book is full of action, scary monsters/creatures, lots of adventure, and sprinkles of all different kinds of love.

Was this review helpful?

I was intrigued by the description of this book (a version of Elizabethan London where paranormal beings exist) but I wasn't sure what to expect. This book turned out to be a lot of fun!

This book is certainly not going to be winning any prizes for historical accuracy (the characters use modern turns of phrase, the sexual morality is modern etc) but it is very obviously not trying to be. This is a completely alternate universe -- where swans can be the Royal Guard, where there's a Deep London, a dragon Queen of Wales and... you get the picture. Realism isn't the point.

Rather this book is full of an engaging mystery, a grumpy/sunshine MM romance, a great cast of supporting characters, and a well-developed world. My only criticisms are that I the ending felt a little rushed (and the defeat of the villain a little too easy?) and that I wish a little more use was made of the time period -- although the inclusion of Kit Marlowe and another playwright known as "Bill" was a fun addition. Given this is the start of a series perhaps we may see more Elizabethan influence in later books.

Overall a thoroughly engaging read and a solid four stars. Thank you to Net Galley and the publisher for providing this copy.

Was this review helpful?

These two characters and this laugh out loud romance story was excellent !
It's also mixed with a well built fantasy plot which I found quirky and fun to read .

Overall I liked all of the main characters on the quest featured in this book with my favourite being lazare.

The story of book 1 ends as a cliffhanger so i already can't wait for book 2 to come out !!

Was this review helpful?

this was so fun! I loved the supernatural vibes and overall spells and magic! It was a fun book and i loved the writing style

Was this review helpful?

Historical Fiction can be a hit or miss for me. That being said, if you add paranormal into historical fiction, there is a 1000 percent chance that I will love it.

The setting was great, the characters were fantastic, the story itself was great. I ate this story up and I can't wait to read more from this author!

Was this review helpful?

What a fun book!! The cover caught my attention, as a Graphic Designer I was obsessed with font, colors and layout!

The story was a wild ride yet cozy and warm. I enjoyed the characters and the story line very much. Do yourself a favor and read this book!

10/10 recommend!

Was this review helpful?

'Cursed Under London' was delightful. I honestly could not keep my book away. It was my first book from this author and let me tell you, I am curious to read her other series. It was well written and the characters were well developed and endearing. I can't wait to read more about their adventure.

Was this review helpful?

I enjoyed this book. On the positive side, I found the story interesting. The protagonists were well-developed and I liked their relationships. There was also some humour. I generally don’t like romance stories, but I thought that the romance was written well and not overdone. On the negative side, I found the villain was cliched and the ending was predictable. I also wasn’t a big fan of the reveal. But overall, I did enjoy the book and I was glad that I read it, hence the 4-star rating. Thank you to Netgalley and Farrago Books for the digital review copy. .

Was this review helpful?

This was a fun romantasy adventure story. Fun storyline and characters you can't help but love.

In this story, we follow a group of misfits in Upper London. Lazare (the Frenchman actor), Fang (the sexy grumpy Easterner), Nell (the Welshwoman apothecary), Amber (the lil dragon), and Tem (the fae child).
This group of unlikely characters are trying to figure out the strange happenings in Upper London, minus the normal happenings of living amongst Vampires, Werewolves, dragons, etc. Lazare and Fang have been inflicted with an almost "undead" curse that they go on an adventure to solve. This leads them to Deep London where the laws are different and the undead rule.

I had a fun time with this novel and would definitely recommend for feel good silly fantasy readers :)

Was this review helpful?

Cursed Under London is a truly hilarious and fun read! An absolute must if you enjoy low-stakes fantasy settings or dark comedies!

In a world where dragons, vampires, werewolves, and zombies mingle with humans, you can find Upper London, home of humankind, and Deep London, home of the supernatural. Two human men, Fang and Lazare, find themselves between worlds when they wake from their untimely deaths no longer fully human, but immortal with mysterious powers that aren’t of any known supernatural origin. Fang reluctantly teams up with Lazare to try to learn more about their curse in the hopes of reversing it. Together, along with Fang’s apothecary friend Nell and a tiny dragon named Amber, they embark on a journey that puts them at the center of a dangerous plot that draws them further into the world of Deep London.

Fang is a self-sacrificing idiot (as his friends would say) that tries to give off an asshole persona but deep down is a sweetheart who lives to protect the underdog. (He absolutely had my heart the moment we found out he died stopping gang members from abusing a street cat!) Lazare, on the other hand, is a flamboyant, aspiring actor who craves the spotlight and wants everyone to like him. Lazare and Fang have great banter and definitely have an opposites-attract situation going on with plenty of sexual tension to boot. Overall, I enjoyed their dynamic, but it felt like Lazare developed feelings too quickly given how reluctant Fang was about the situation for most of the book. Additionally, I really enjoyed the diverse cast and there were several wonderful supporting characters in the story that I loved too.

Overall, I enjoyed the humorous dialogue, the fast-paced, dynamic plot, and the mingling of supernatural London with 16th-century London. I hadn’t read any of Gabby Hutchinson Crouch’s books before, but after reading Cursed Under London, I’m excited to check out more of her stories. I especially can’t wait to see what our undead/immortal protagonists get up to next!

Thank you NetGalley and Duckworth Books for providing me with an ARC copy in exchange for my honest review.

Was this review helpful?

I really enjoyed this cozy historical fantasy that was sent in an alternate version of Elizabethan London. We follow Lazare and Fang two people that have recently died...but not quite. They have to figure out what has caused their new immortal life and are drawn into the dark side of London. The characters are great. There are a ton of different magical beings in this world. The stand out being Amber, the small but mighty dragon. I'm excited to see where this series goes.

Thank you to NetGalley and Farrago Books for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Was this review helpful?

“I just wasn’t expecting that angle right in my eyeline.”

There was not a single thing I didn’t enjoy about this book. The writing is very tongue-in-cheek and it was right up my alley (preferably not dripping with excrement thank you very much). The three main characters along with their small cat-like dragon are witty, funny, and very very likeable.

I would dive in front of a wooden stake for Amber in a heartbeat. 10/10 would pet and feed dried newts. She may be small but her personality more than makes up for the lack of height in those stumpy little legs. And little Tem has my whole heart in the palm of her hand and obviously “little-Amber” clutched tight in the other.

The pacing is adventurous and it’s wonderful. There never seems to be a dull moment or a lull in action for too long and the world building interwoven with history from Elizabethan London along with a touch of magic and the occult is a recipe for an unputdownable book.

I haven’t laughed this much reading a book in a long time, one of my favourites of 2024.

Was this review helpful?

I enjoyed this story. It was a comfy fantasy, but it also contained a mystery. I'm not a fan of how it ended(mostly due to the fact that it was a cliff hanger), but I will absolutely be buying the next book. I do think it was very much a modern take on Elizabethan England, but it was done well. Will recommend to others.

Was this review helpful?

A little Dragon walks into an alley...

That's basically what happens in the first few pages and what followed just had me laughing constantly.
This book is a funny fantasy story with exciting plot twists, a queer edge to it and a found family that just
keeps on growing.
It does play in an alternative London

The writing is well done and the world building is really easy to understand.
Sometimes it can be really overwhelming if a book has different supernatural species and POV's but that is not the case here.

So if you are a fan of the following tropes this book is definetely for you:
- Queer romance
- Found family
- Urban Fantasy
- Supernatural vibes
- The cutest smallest dragon ever!

Was this review helpful?

Cursed Under London was an extremely enjoyable read, and I am grateful I was able to read it thanks to NetGalley. I absolutely adored this take on historical london and found the magical political system to be a unique and well fleshed out one that was genuinely interesting. The relationships and dynamics of the characters were also enjoyable, especially considering the found family aspect, which is a personal favourite trope of mine. Additionally, this book was truly humerous, and the more gross humour was exactly the kind of humour I was expecting from a writer who worked on horrible histories. I truly can't wait to see what more is to come in this series

Was this review helpful?

It’s in the title.

“Cursed Under London” is set in the not-so-pleasant Elizabethan London. The underground world of werewolves, vampires, and other beings really comes to life. There are rules everyone must follow, including the humans, and the supernatural is an accepted way of life.

🧟 Love
🧟 Found Family
🧟 Quest
🧟 Deception
🧟 Dragons, vampires, zombies…Oh, my!

The “cursed” is normally seen as the villain, but they are fighting amongst each other in this world. They are hungry, tired, and kept within the confines of a society that doesn’t acknowledge they have feelings, wants and needs.

The witty banter and humor in this novel is an added bonus to the well-written prose of the time period it is set in. I found myself laughing a little (out loud) and smiling as I continued to read to the end.

I give it 5/5 stars. I enjoyed it and I appreciate the lightheartedness of this fantasy.

Special thanks to #NetGalley and #FarragoBooks for this ARC to review. Publication date is set for July 4, 2024.

Was this review helpful?

This is a fun story.
While it does have a lot of filler I didn’t think was necessary it was a fun read.
It’s a 3.5 for me but I’m rounding it up.
There wasn’t enough tension or stakes in this book imo.
It didn’t fully suck me into the world and I really wanted it to.
It’s cute, it’s fun, it’s funny, but there was a bit to much banter almost to the point that it didn’t make sense at points, like it was just trying to interject humor where the story was flat.

Was this review helpful?

This uses the Elizabethian element perfectly and fit with the time-period that I wanted. The characters were everything that I was looking for and thought the overall story was perfectly done. The concept worked well and was a strong start to the Cursed series world. Gabby Hutchinson Crouch has a great writing style and it left me wanting to read more in this series. It uses the romantic comedy element perfectly and glad I was able to read this.

Was this review helpful?

Oh my god this was so good, so queer and so hilarious. The humour reminded me of Pratchett dry sarcastic humour. But I just was so invested in the story and the characters the entire time. I was on the edge of the seat. And if that doesn't convince you: It has dragons.

Was this review helpful?

Adorable, funny, and cozy fantasy! Did not know it was the beginning of a series, so the cliff-hanger ending was a shock, but the conclusion was satisfying enough. Loved the world-building with the "undead" characters and 16th-century reimagined London. Heartwarming and creative <3

Was this review helpful?

Thank you to black crow PR for the early review copy!
This one is for the readers of classic quirky fantasy growing up on Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchet these are the exact worlds I crave as a nostalgic reader!

Cursed under London really reminded me of how I felt reading Neverwhere for the first time it's quirky and silly with dark undertones of something nefarious happening in historical London.

A unique mix of fantasy, historical drama and good old queer high jinks.

Cursed under London follows Fang and Lazare as they have recently almost but not quite died. A curse has lead to a strange new kind of undead never seen before and it's up to them and the friends they gather along the way to figure out what on earth is going on and why.

There is a romance subplot in this book but overall I'd say it's heavily more fantasy than romantasy!

If you're looking for a fun short read and aren't put off by a swan police officer and are infact intrigued by that this book is probably for you!

Was this review helpful?

"Cursed Under London" by Gabby Hutchinson Crouch is a thrilling urban fantasy novel that takes readers on a gripping journey through the hidden depths of London's underground. Crouch's vivid imagination and expert world-building bring the city to life in all its eerie and atmospheric glory, setting the stage for a tale filled with magic, mystery, and danger. As protagonist Ellie navigates the shadowy underworld, readers are drawn into a web of ancient curses and supernatural intrigue that keeps them guessing until the very end. Crouch's writing is sharp and evocative, with twists and turns that will leave readers breathless. But it's not just the action-packed plot that makes "Cursed Under London" shine—it's also the richly drawn characters and their complex relationships that add depth and emotional resonance to the story. With its blend of urban fantasy and pulse-pounding suspense, "Cursed Under London" is a must-read for fans of the genre, offering a thrilling and immersive experience that will leave them eagerly awaiting the next installment in the series.

Was this review helpful?

So Fang and Lazare are two foreigners trying to make it in Elizabethan London so naturally they meet nasty ends in dark alleys through no fault of their own except they don’t quite die. They each have become sort of immortal, in a cursed kind of way. Laz has grown wings like a vampire but he doesn’t suck blood and Fang can create illusions but only horrible ones it’s all a bit peculiar. Throw in a fae child and it’s all a bit of a mess. If you’ve read any of Crouch’s work before this is familiar ground, it’s fun, funny and heartfelt. Fang is delightfully grumpy and Laz is charming sunshiny for a Frenchman, they are totes adorbs together. The setting gets a bit lost in the world building, it could be set anytime anywhere so I’m hoping that becomes more relevant in future books.

Was this review helpful?

If you love the playful anachronism in The Knight's Tale mixed with the playful adventure vibes of an at home D&D game I think this book will be right up your alley. Though Cursed takes place in an alternate Elizabethan England (complete with delightful run ins with Kit Marlowe and Billy Shakes) full of supernatural entities that are full of bureaucracy that language and humor is very 20th century. If you accept this and go with it, you'll have a great time. Fang and Lazare have both recently had unsuccessful death experiences, and come out of those with strange new powers not quantifiable in the societal norms of paranormal London. In their quest to figure out what's happening to them they'll enlist the help of Welsh potion maker Nell, Mediocre Dragon Nell, and lost fae child Tem. The swan captian of the Royal Guard Honkensby is hot on their tail though, so they'll escape to Deep London in search of answers. And it would be foolish to fall for one another on the way right? ... Right??
If you're looking for a fun romp of an adventure, this book is for you. My main critique is mostly that i sometimes found the POV tenses to be confusing. The book is told from a number of 3rd person limited point of views, but i found sometimes that they switched without the usual indicator that we were following someone else's thoughts. Not sure if that's something that will be fixed in final print runs and was just a result of having the early e-arc.

Was this review helpful?

GAY ROMANCE & FOUND FAMILY x AGRESSIVE FLIRTING & KITTEN/BABY ADOPTIVE VILLAGE

"(...) she loves you, people love you".
There are three things one needs to know (and love) about Lazare:
1. he has wings (book-boyfriend-height wings, if you find size important).
2. he gets his lines right (jokes about his profession aside, he does deliver).
3. he wants o make sure his love interests scream his name but also knows he loves him (before and after sex).

"He looked really very lovely in the flickering firelight. Perhaps... (...)"
There are also three things one needs to know (and love) about Fang:
1. he's a big, sad boy (give him cuddles please and thank you).
2. he has the "only for someone special smile".
3. he's a kitten daddy (no dirty jokes here, just a man and his cat).

Now, about the book per se, I'd say there are five things to highlight:
1. I personally think it has Shadowhunters vibes, not only because we have supernatural beings living their best lives in big cities, but also because there's something about it that just makes me think of the Herondale's "sad boy vibe".
2.This one is a personal preference, mostly because I'm a sucker for malexmale romance, but... THE gay romance in this book is just *CHEF'S KISS".
3. The end... Like, the way it hints who the next villain is going to be and WHO that is... Sing me up for that kinda villain going after that kinda thing.
4. Dragons. A tiny but big-hearted dragon.
5. Aggressive making out included, and, just like with gay romance, it's THE angry making out, insults included.

Was this review helpful?

Enchanting characters.
Great development of the story.Very enticing story telling.
A great book 4stars.
I would highly recommended to others

Was this review helpful?

This was a gripping read, I thought the characters were intriguing and I'm going to keep an eye out for more from this author.

Was this review helpful?

"Cursed Under London" is a fantastical journey set in 16th century London 🏰, following Lazare and Fang as they dodge supernatural fates with the help of a charming dragon named Amber and a witty Apothecary named Nell. Their adventure weaves through Upper London's human realm and Deep London's mystical underworld. 😮💫

The book's quick pace and witty banter between characters, especially Fang and Lazare, keep the story lively and entertaining. The budding romance adds another layer of charm 💞, while Amber the dragon steals the show with her delightful presence. 🐉✨

While some may find the stakes a bit low and the historical backdrop lacking in spirit, the adventurous pacing and blend of history with magic make for an engaging read. 📚🔮

Overall, "Cursed Under London" is a delightful escape for urban fantasy enthusiasts, offering humor and excellent writing reminiscent of T. Kingfisher's works. 🌟

Was this review helpful?

I enjoyed this, it was unique and quite the supernatural mystery. I love the MM romance we get in this book and how insufferable Fang is, while Lazare is all kindness and heart. A very opposing combo who team up with new and old friends to find out what the hell is going on and why they are still alive!

Was this review helpful?

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I truly never knew the direction this book was taking- it was witty and fun.
The world building was fantastic- seeing real life places through the lens of a magical underworld is often done, yet I found this refreshing.
This is such an original work- I expected something dark and broody, and was pleasantly surprised and impressed with this story.
I absolutely would recommend to others, and would read again

Was this review helpful?

In an alternate version of Elizabethan London where supernaturals live in Deep London and humans live in Upper London Fang wakes up to realize that while he died, he did not stay that way. Imagine his surprise when he is introduced to Lazare, a fellow with same undead affliction. The two men realize that despite both coming back to life, that’s where the similarities of their conditions end and that places them firmly in the “unknown” category of supernaturals.

Increasingly suspicious that they are under a curse, Fang and Lazare, joined by the charming and hilarious Amber the Dragon and Nell the apothecary, set out to find a way to reverse the spell. As the story unfolds, Fang and Lazare’s relationships starts to grow into something more, and when they realize their curse is just the tip of the iceberg. This rag-tag group of heroes refuse to give up on the mission or each other.

This book does a great job of being a cozy fantasy novel with dashes of romance and humor thrown in. I thoroughly enjoyed my journey from Upper to Deep London. The concept for this book, a story set in an alternate london where supernaturals and humans are separated into different sections was one of the things that drew me to request the ARC and it did not disappoint. Get ready for a ride y’all, Cursed Under London surprised me in the best way. This story was so fun, the characters were cute, heartfelt (I’m looking at you Fang, we love an empathetic king), and downright funny.

I’d recommend this book for fans of the Amelia Peabody series (and if you haven’t read those, you need to). If you’re looking for a cozy, delightful, and intriguing read then this is the book for you!


Thank you so much to NetGalley and Farrago Books for allowing me to write an honest review of the ARC for Cursed Under London!

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/ 5

My review was posted to Goodreads and Instagram on 5/27/24.

Amazon review will be submitted on 7/4/24 when it is available for review and will posted on my profile within 48 hours.

Was this review helpful?

I REALLY liked this one folks! I mean, did I have issues with figuring out what perspective it was meant to be from… yes… but if you put that to one side (i managed to do this about 33% of the way through) I adored the story, characters and humour of Cursed Under London.

It’s been a while but entering a world of vampires, dragons, zombies, ghouls and alchemists was exactly what I needed. There was a cleaverness and whit to the writing style with quipy nods to Shakespeare and Marlowe that has me laughing out loud. The characters had layers to them that made you want to keep reading and, of course, there’s even a little bit of romance tucked in there to!

Cursed Under London created a whole second world where the rules of our society no longer existed and what was right for the undead rang true. The woven LGBT+ undertones of Shakespearean London was pushed to the surface in a way that made me wish that societal norms of the time had been different. And the writing style dealt with this perfectly.

But that’s all I’m saying… I don’t want to risk a spoiler and if I get into the details of our 3 protagonists and how they well and truely have a place in my heart now I can’t promise I’ll keep this spoiler free. Cursed Under London has my stamp of approval, in this world and the world below our feet.

Was this review helpful?

This was a fun read populated by characters you have heard of, but perhaps they are not quite as you would have imagined. Laugh out loud at times but always interesting. I look forward to more in this series........please.

Was this review helpful?

I thought Gabby Hutchinson Crouch’s Darkwood was the best debut book in the last fifty years and I devoured the sequels. Her next series, about the Rook family, didn’t resonate with me and I stopped after the first book. Cursed Under London is her first book of a new series, Cursed, and I wondered how I would feel about it…

It’s set in 1599, with Kit Marlow as one of the minor characters. There’s also another playwright, Bill, who’s the “Romeo and Juliet guy” and insists that Warwickshire isn’t “the sticks”. It’s a fantasy, with a dragon appearing on page one. Fang and Lazare are humans who find themselves immortal. However, immortal is not the same as fit and healthy. Fang looked, in Lazare’s eyes, “how a hangover felt”. “Didn’t we already kill you?” a puzzled criminal asked Fang. Fang, Lazare, the dragon (whose name is Amber) and a couple of other characters join together on a quest that takes them into the Deepside. The Deepside is below London and reached by the Tubes. It’s where the non-humans such as vampires, zombies and the fae live. Queen Elizabeth I does not reign there and the laws don’t protect humans, which is why there’s roast human on sale in the market.

As always in Crouch’s books, there are some wonderful one-liners that make the reader snigger in an unbecoming manner. I enjoyed the book and I shall look out for the next in the series with mild interest, but I felt the book dragged in places. There was perhaps too much insistence upon Lazare really fancying Fang but Fang not wanting to be loved or even desired. The quest in Deepside goes on too long for my liking. Perhaps Crouch is concentrating too much on the witty one-liners and has lost focus upon the overall tight narrative arc.

#CursedUnderLondon #NetGalley

Was this review helpful?

In an alternate timeline filled with magical species and undead humans, where "Deepsiders" live in a subterranean London populated by dragons, vampires, zombies, and all manner of dangerous creature, two "Uppersiders", Fang and Lazare, wake from ther violent deaths to find something has changed, and they are now somewhere between human and undead. Their adventure to learn more about and eventually lift this curse will take them through danger and mystery to the heart of Deepside and bring them closer to each other...

Delightfully funny, yet gruesome and horrifying, Cursed Under London succeeds with great world building and character development. Amber and Fang were real standouts for me, and this book also gets bonus points for a character name... Captain Dame Isobel Honkensby... I mean, that's just incredible...

Cursed Under London is a great story, with a fantastical world, lovable protagonists, a horrific and unsettling enemy, and so much humour! I really look forward to more in this series!

Was this review helpful?

Thank you Farrago Books and NetGalley for giving me this ARC to review.

From the writer of Horrible Histories, Gabby Hutchinson Crouch brings you Cursed Under London, a cosy, hilarious, mysterious, LGBTQ+ romantasy read!

In an alternative Elizabethan London filled with dragons, vampires, zombies and werewolves, Cursed Under London, follows two Upper London residents Fang and Lazare who face the wraith of death... only to survive? Thrown together by their curse, Fang and Lazare set out with the help from Nell and Amber to try to discover and reverse the spell they are under. But as they go on their journey of discovery, the gang find out that their mystery unearths a deeper and more dangerous plot that they're right in the middle of.

Cursed Under London is a fresh take on a historical romantasy that will have you laughing out loud. It is a quick and easy read that helps you escape from the real world for a little while, and grow to love the many characters you meet along the way. If you're looking for a cosy, historical romantasy mystery, look no further!

Was this review helpful?

This a cute, queer, alt-history romance, wrapped around a mystery, with a heavy dose of humour woven in. Absolutely adorable on so many levels (pun unintended), the characters are well written and wholly believable - not an easy feat when they include a werewolf, several vampires, assorted dragons, and a police officer who is… well, I’ll let you find out about the Captain for yourself. Our trio (or possibly quad) of main characters are all lovingly rendered, and their stories are told with passion and joy. It definitely feels like Hutchison Crouch was having fun when she was writing this book.

The will-they won’t-they romance is played out wonderfully, and the sort-of cliffhanger ending absolutely has me wanting the sequel - to a book that doesn’t officially come out until 4th July!

Was this review helpful?

This book was so different from anything I'd ever read before in the best way possible. It felt like a cozy fantasy while still somehow being an urban slightly dark fantasy. It was overall a fun easy read that had me laughing out loud at times. I also thought that the found family within the book was so wholesome and cute. I also absolutely loved our little sidekick dragon Amber.
Will most definitely be continuing this series, can't wait.

Was this review helpful?

Cursed Under London by Gabby Hutchinson Crouch is a fun and quirky start to an Elizabethan romantasy series. Set in an alternate version of Elizabethan London, the story follows Fang and Lazare, who wake up from death only to find themselves cursed and not quite human. As they navigate the shadowy world of Deep London to break the spell, they uncover a larger plot that threatens their existence.

The book is filled with humor and charming characters, but the frequent narrative shifts can make it hard to follow. While the premise is intriguing, the plot feels underdeveloped and the historical setting could have been more pronounced. Despite these issues, the witty dialogue and unique setting make it an enjoyable read for fans of urban fantasy and lighthearted adventure.

Was this review helpful?

This book was so much fun. It was excellently paced and made this alternate world of a magical Elizabethan London feel so real. (A+++ use of real historical figures BTW. Kit Marlowe coming back as a zombie is freaking hysterical!).

Despite the book taking place over a short period of time, I quickly fell in love with all of the characters and adored that the cast was so diverse. I appreciate that Fang and Lazare didn't end up together in the end as that was unrealistic with the amount of baggage that Fang was carrying.

Crouch also made a good decision to tone down the comedic portions of the book as the conflict became more serious. It was to the book's benefit that there weren't clashing tones.

My only criticism is the vast number of anachronisms that threw me out of the story despite this being a magical setting. (Like discussions of gluten in 16th century England?)

All in all, I had a great time reading this book and feel it is a unique story that I can't wait to continue.

Was this review helpful?

"Cursed Under London" by Gabby Hutchinson Crouch is a delightful start to a historical romantasy series set in an alternate Elizabethan London. Fang and Lazare wake from death to find themselves not fully human, teaming up with apothecary Nell and tiny dragon Amber to break their curse. There is lots of humour, witty dialogue and engaging characters. Though the stakes might feel low and the historical setting could be more pronounced, the story is fast-paced and heartwarming. A must-read for urban fantasy fans who love humour and adventure.

Was this review helpful?

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the eARC of this novel. 4/5 stars.

I will preface this by saying this novel is not for just anybody. You need to have a particular brand of absurd humor (or liking books like that) to enjoy this one. You have to be able to detach from any rational thinking to just kind of...accept the book and what it tells you. Elizabethan England for really no reason as an urban fantasy? Okay! Dragons casually eating people, but only in Deep London where it's legal? Okay! People suddenly unable to die leading a ragtag band of 3 people and a tiny dragon on a quest? Okay! Gangs? Okay! Giant magical swan/geese police? Okay!

Anyways, yeah, were there plot holes? Yes. Did it really need to be set in Elizabethan England? Not as far as I can tell, but Marlowe being a zombie was interesting. I also think this does build more to other novels per the ending, so I think it could come -- the setting -- into play more...especially with the Dragon Queen of Wales and other locations also mentioned.

anyways, this was a delight.

Was this review helpful?

enjoyed this one and i liked most the characters in i was curious about the world building and how it would play out and it had a lot of aspects i enjoy it a fantasy and there are parts which are very funny and the plot is engaging i had read it all within a few days

Was this review helpful?

This was an interesting read! I was really grabbed by the amazing cover and within the first couple chapters, I knew I was hooked. The characters are incredibly sweet, and the world building/two sides to London was really interesting when done with the mythological twist. I couldn't help but get attached to the stories of Fang and Lazare. I can't wait to see what the author does next!

Was this review helpful?

Cursed Under London was dark, imaginative, gripping and stunning. This book paints a beautifully dark and romantic setting of London and all of it's mysteries. The main character was so fun to read and follow along as she navigated this story and it was one I was sad to end.

Was this review helpful?

You’re going to love this book if you’ve read Neverwhere and wished it was funnier.
I mostly enjoyed it: the characters were immensely likeable and the worldbuilding is fantastic. I enjoyed the many breaking-of-the-fourth-wall moments and I’m always down for any meta use of the Tube. It’s also great to see urban fantasy not set in contemporary or Victorian London, so the Elizabethan era was a refreshing change.
There were times where I felt the book tried too hard to be funny and slid into cringe territory, that’s my only reproach.
I will be curious about further adventures of this motley group of losers (affectionate).

Was this review helpful?

Readers who liked this book also liked: