First of all, Denise Grover Swank gets better with every book she writes (which, when you consider how many books she publishes each year is pretty impressive!) and this entry is proof of that. While I liked the first book, The Curse Keepers, and I liked the second book, The Curse Breakers, I really enjoyed the heck out of this book.
Our heroine, Ellie, is finally - FINALLY! - learning not to go off half-cocked. Well, okay, there are a couple of exceptions here, but at last Ellie is making sensible choices. One of my complaints about the first part of this series that Elinor Dare Lancaster wasn't the intelligent, sensible woman she should be in this mess. She always wanted us to think she was, and finally we can start to count on her acting like it. Yay! I just really enjoyed that she started listening to people rather than to her own doubts, fears, and insecurities.
David, Ellie's lover and historical expert, is along for the ride and their relationship matures here. David is pivotal to Ellie's understanding of the situations she finds herself in, and he's immensely helpful in unraveling some of the mysteries that present themselves.
Collin shows up and grows up. I don't want to give too much away here, but Collin and Ellie's best friend Claire take on expanded, vital, more supportive roles than they have in the past. It's refreshing.
If I had to find a quibble with this series, I'd say that it's often difficult for me to keep the supernatural players (gods, demons, various spirits and evil-doers) straight. There are a lot of them. I also find it distracting when presented with names that are difficult to pronounce and no pronunciation is given. At some point, it would have been nice if someone had mispronounced Mishiginebig and been corrected so I wouldn't have stopped every time s/he is mentioned to try to decide how to say it. But, that may just be me. Please note, though, that these are very small bits of a big and very enjoyable saga, though, and not worth worrying about.
The writing here is, as usual, very good. Swank can string a sentence or two together with the best of them. She can also create a real mystery that is creepy, compelling, and truly intriguing. Add to that a good romance, some romantic angst and regret, and answers to most of the questions you've had reading this series, and what you've got is a satisfying read that, if you're anything like me, you'll finish off in short order.
Basically, we're here to finally resolve the titular curse, and to answer the questions of what Ellie's and Collin's powers and heritage mean. And we do. Mostly. Swank has clearly kept the door open for epilogues of some sort, and I'm looking forward to whatever happens next.
The Curse Defiers
comes out on September 30, 2014