fantasy · Reviews

Curses | Lish McBride: A Hilarious and Creative Retelling

Curses | Lish McBride

Page count: 288

Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers

Publication date: July 20, 2021

Genres: YA, fantasy


Merit Cravan refused to fulfill her obligation to marry a prince, leading to a fairy godling’s curse. She will be forced to live as a beast forever, unless she agrees to marry a man of her mother’s choosing before her eighteenth birthday.

Tevin Dumont has always been a pawn in his family’s cons. The prettiest boy in a big family, his job is to tempt naïve rich girls to abandon their engagements, unless their parents agree to pay him off. But after his mother runs afoul of the beast, she decides to trade Tevin for her own freedom.

Now, Tevin and Merit have agreed that he can pay off his mother’s debt by using his con-artist skills to help Merit find the best match . . . but what if the best match is Tevin himself?”

Thank you to G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers and Edelweiss+ for an eARC in exchange for an honest review!

4.5/5 stars

I’m always up for a good retelling, but this one blew me away! I had no idea it would be this good. Curses was slightly absurd with hilarious dialogue, a chivalrous ostrich, and flying badgers(!!!), but it was also grounded enough that it didn’t fly off the rails.

You know that the first thing I notice is the characters. I loved our whole cast! Our two main characters, Merit and Tevin, were fantastic. Merit had so much personality that she stood out from all the basic YA protagonists (thank goodness) and Tevin was absolutely adorable. While he might initially seem like a cutout of the perfect love interest and nothing more, he was plenty unique. Change my mind, but Hufflepuff love interests are the best.

Aside from the main characters, the secondary characters were all distinctive. Ellery acted as the older sibling of this found family dynamic and was always exasperated about something or another. I loved Val not only as wingwoman to Tevin but also for her subplot with Kirya, though I would have liked to see a little more there. I wish we got to spend more time with Amoury, as he sounded interesting from what little we learned of him. Latimer was also an interesting grey-area character. Yes, he did some awful stuff but he’s not as bad as his parents. It’ll be interesting to see what goes on there if we get another book!

Most of all, what I loved was the found family. Tevin and Amoury might be literal family, but the rest of them, as Ellery put it, are becoming DuMonts too. I love the camaraderie that comes with that trope and it definitely made me smile.

This was a pretty cut and dry Beauty and the Beast retelling other than the gender swap, but that made all the difference. It was just different while still sticking with the story, and I loved all the little nods that were thrown in to acknowledge elements of both the Grimm fairytale and the Disney movie.

This probably doesn’t deserve its own paragraph, but there was something heist-ish at the end and I was absolutely living for it!

All in all, this was a fantastic book! I would highly recommend a read if you want a fun retelling!

3 thoughts on “Curses | Lish McBride: A Hilarious and Creative Retelling

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