Top critical review
Reviewed in the United States on June 30, 2021
When I read the teaser for Thrice Cursed, I immediately preordered the book. Then the book release was cancelled for a major rewrite. Unfortunately I could not read this book without mentally comparing it to the teaser for Thrice Cursed.
*Caution spoilers ahead.
I had a hard time connecting to the book. Something about it left me feeling nonplussed and more than a little disoriented. The whole thing felt rushed and/or cobbled together. The exposition didn’t give me a clear sense of Rue, the town where Rue lived, the store where she worked, her neighbours, home, or Colby. (She has a feisty neighbour shoots people and has shotgun decals to match her gun to her clothes?). The first introduction of Asa didn’t include any description of him other than that he was handsome. I didn’t get the sense that Clay was supposed to be passing as human until 3/4 of the way through the book. He’s as tall as Sun Mingming, outweighs Shaquille O’Neill by more than 100lbs, and wears wigs every day. He sounds like the Marvel character Thing only wearing a wig. When the author later had Asa reappear the phrasing regarding his hair and jewelry made me think he was Native American rather than fae. When he transforms to his daemon form (that seems to bear a strong resemblance to Surtur from Thor:Ragnarok with Crystal Gayle hair) the daemon is still wearing his pants? Is he wearing shoes, too? I couldn’t envision it. And why does everyone refer to his daemon form as though it’s a completely separate entity? Repeatedly, throughout the whole book I kept having to go back and reread sentences to make sense of the plot and characters in order to orient myself. (She put her hand on the handle and the door exploded? The handle in question was to the SUV and the door in question was to the trailer).
As for the central mystery, I had a hard time understanding why the original serial killer needed to transform the souls into deer to hunt, kill, and consume the souls. I got that the author wanted to impress upon readers that the killer was hunting the girls, but remaking them into deer after he already hunted and kidnapped them in their normal form? Having studied serial killers as part of my education and consumed more fiction about murder than is probably healthy, the big reveal left me cold. It was the tertiary character that the author went out of their way to introduce at the first crime scene. Not the one named for the famous gun slinger. The other one. Apparently, he admired Rue when she was a ruthless Black witch and wanted to work with her and be like her. Then she left and he waited around twiddling his thumbs for 10 years before deciding to reenact the murders from her last case, at which point he went on a killing spree to get her attention. It’s basically the plot of the movie Copycat.