Monday, 7 October 2013

Review Reflections (Eternal Curse, 1) — J Dorothy

Reflections (Eternal Curse, 1)
by J. Dorothy

Star Rating: 4 / 5

I didn’t really have any first impressions of this book from the cover, title or synopsis. I accidentally clicked on this book so I didn’t have a chance to judge it before reading. The cover looks very amateur, but don’t let that put you off! Behind this cover lies a great story that anyone can appreciate – even young adults due to nicely worked time skips and wording. The synopsis is okay; it certainly raises a lot of questions. I don’t think it captures what I loved most about this book though. The roundness of the characters and their relationships really kept me hooked.

I found the story to be rather well laid out. The beginning of the book is intriguing, but at the same time something about it just didn’t click with me. I’m not the sort of reader to put a book down unless I really cannot stand to read on further, so I kept with it. I am so glad I did. What I did like about the beginning is the reference to Jo’s eighteenth birthday and how the book ends at that time. It’s set up as a pivotal moment in the beginning and ends on it meaning, having read the book, I have to read the next one to see what happens after Jo’s eighteenth birthday! I think it was a great idea to connect the beginning and end of the novel in such a way.

I found the characters to be all rather likeable in their own way. Jo seems like a sensible, intelligent, yet reserved young girl. I found it easy to relate to her. Other members of her family seem equally likeable – but they are not without their flaws – except for Gabriella, who of course serves as a character whose position in terms of good and bad is ambiguous. I feel the way that Gabriella – and her aunt – were made into ‘evil’ characters to be very interesting. Unlike most bad characters, Gabriella didn’t seem to do anything that you wouldn’t expect from the typical school queen bee. She’s beautiful, has lots of friends, is manipulative and sometimes stirs up trouble. Sounds pretty normal – and not exactly evil so far, right? Dorothy establishes sorceresses as truly selfish beings who ruin lives without a care. While Gabriella herself never does anything explicitly, her predecessor condemned one woman to a life of solitude and another to death (possibly). Those things made me expect something similar from Gabriella!

While some people mention how sibling rivalry was an interesting part of this story, I didn’t see that. There’s no competition. Jo is quiet and happy to sit back on the sidelines while Gabriella takes centre stage. Jo doesn’t really fight for Gabriella’s position. If anything this is a story about good and evil in sister form. Jo (good) tries to believe the best in her sister; meanwhile her sister (evil) manipulates people and does things to purposely hurt Jo, sometimes under the guise of caring for her.

Towards the end, I was certain that Gabriella would choose the selfish route and so I was surprised when she agreed to end the curse. I started to wonder, as I read the last chapter, what the next books would be about. Defeating their aunt? Finding the truth about their mother’s death? Romance and family bonds? Part of me couldn’t believe Gabriella had changed, just like that. But I was led astray by Dorothy – so I found the ending a very pleasant surprise!

While I think the length of this book is pretty standard for an eBook and that it works well as a standalone novel, this book really works as a set up for the following two books. The reader has questions – which arise after reading the synopsis – and we do get some answers. There is no final solution, nor is the whole story told and so the reader is left with more questions which, hopefully, the following books in the trilogy will answer.

I will happily continue with this trilogy! There wasn’t a lot of paranormal things going on (the mention of sorceresses, a curse and magic rings is the max), so perhaps this isn’t your book if you’re looking for a paranormal fantasy or lots of magical moments. If you’re looking for a novel with a well thought out plot and wonderfully developed characters then this is a book for you. The characters are compelling and the plot is full of delicious questions making it a truly fascinating mystery with a hint of magic.


  1. Wow, thanks for such a thorough and wonderful review. I was very excited to read it and I'm so glad you enjoyed the book. I am in two minds about the beginning as well, and one day might go back and re-write it to make it a bit more compelling. Thanks so much for sticking with it. I hope you enjoy the next book and I expect the final book to be out by the end of this year, beginning of next year which ties the story together, fingers crossed. Thanks again, I really appreciate you taking the time to write a review. I shall share on my facebook page. J. Dorothy

  2. Thank you for your comment! I really did enjoy this book and I look forward to having the chance to read the rest of this series. I can't wait to see what evil unfolds in the next books!


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