After failing to escape the Roman metropolis of Londinium with Devyn, her lover, and Marcus, her betrothed, Cassandra wakes in inky darkness to find the ground giving way beneath her feet.
All three of them have been carted back to the notorious arena at the heart of the city to stand trial by public vote. Cass knows they must escape at any cost: to warn the Celts of the mysterious blood curse ravaging their kin, to foil the schemes of the imperial council…
To find the fabled Lady of the Lake, the one who could save them all.
But even as the jaws of death close in around her, another threat looms in the shadows, a danger she never could have foreseen, a betrayal that could burn down her entire world.
Length: 461 pages
Publisher: One More Chapter
Curse of the Celts is the second book in The Once and Future Queen trilogy. The first book was Secrets of the Starcrossed, which I reviewed in January. Secrets of the Starcrossed remains one of my favourite reads of the year, and one of my favourite reads in a long time too.
Let’s get one thing straight: neither of these books are high literature. They are a little overdone in places, and a little overdramatic, and the writing in places could use some work (in my humble opinion). But I still love them. There are times as a reader I need something easy, something fun, something hits all the reasons I fell in love with fantasy as a teen.
This series is all of those things.
Curse of the Celts picks up right where Secrets of the Starcrossed left off. Cass is in the arena with Devyn and Marcus, on trial for their crimes against the Code. This opening is nail-biting, and hooked me right back into the story.
As I predicted at the end of the Secrets of the Starcrossed, we do see more of the magic system in this book, as most of it is set in the Celtic lands of Britain. I’m really interested to see how much further it develops in the third book, as we don’t learn everything in this book. I’m not quite sure what the rules of the magic system are, though it does seem to be an elemental-based system. Which I like.
Cassandra is, in this book, learning who she is and what she can do. I did wish at points that she would grow up a little. This is one of the flaws. Cassandra’s emotions, particularly around Devyn, seem to swing from one extreme to another in a matter of moments. I think her character could have been more grounded, and less like she’s throwing tantrums. These moments were more towards the beginning of the book, and I do feel that her character matures a little towards the end.
I also wished the author would stop repeating herself at points. O’Connor will make a point, then a few paragraphs later (or even the next paragraph) reiterate that point. It got a little tedious. Other than that the writing is okay. I had a really picture of what the settings looked like, and what the characters were doing. I never felt confused about what was happening or who was doing what.
I do feel that Curse of the Celts suffers from middle-book syndrome a little. The most interesting parts are the beginning and the end. The twist at the end really shocked me. I can’t believe it happened. Still.
I’m hoping that in the third book we’ll really get to see Cass really growing up and becoming who she’s meant to be. I can’t wait to see what happens.