Title: Curses, Foiled Again
Author: Sera Trevor
LGBTQ+ Category: M/M, Cisgender
Publisher: NineStar Press
Felix is a vampire—a fierce creature of the night who strikes terror into the hearts of everyone unlucky enough to become his prey. Or at least, that’s what he thought was true, until he met John. John is completely unimpressed with Felix, much to his dismay. Felix becomes fixated on proving his ferocity to John—and when that doesn’t work, he strives to make any impression on him at all.
John is a witch, and as all witches know, vampires are notoriously stupid creatures who only have the power to hurt those who fear them. Besides, he’s under a curse much more frightening than any vampire. Felix’s desperate attempts to impress him annoy John at first, but gradually, they become sort of endearing. Because of his curse, John has pushed everyone in his life away. But Felix can’t be hurt, so there’s no harm in letting him hang around.
Felix is technically dead. John has nothing left to live for. But together, they might have a shot at life.
This dark and witty vampire romance for adults is complete at 100,000 words, with no cliffhanger.
Despite some dark twists and turns, it ends with a solid HEA.
When I began to read Curses, Foiled Again, I was doubtful. I’d been pulled in by the blurb, but as I read, the tone threw me off until I realized that Felix’s narration was heavily informed by the time period of his birth. Once I acclimated to it, I started to grow fond of the vampire and his exaggerated, outdated manner. I grew equally fond of John and his broody, lonely self. It was a nice reversal to have an obliviously silly vampire and a dark and brooding human. I enjoyed the interactions between the two of them and I was genuinely worried while John did his best to avoid Felix.
The author did a nice job with worldbuilding, fitting exposition comfortably into the narration and conversations. And I liked the world she built. The witches she gave us had an understated, modern feel to them, not anything like the hags of folklore or the students of Hogwarts. The vampires also deviated slightly from the literary norm, in that in the world of Curses, Foiled Again, there were three distinct sorts of vampires, all formed by a unique type of curse. It was nice to see a book were there wasn’t any kind of ‘but not like those vampires’ malarkey.
Despite living in a world where vampires were divided into three distinct categories (the revenants, the heartless, the tormented), Felix managed to defy those labels. As the result of a spell gone somewhat awry, Felix grows throughout the story to become more than the average, heartless bloodsucker. He has to learn how to handle sparks of emotion that have been dead to him for centuries.
John also has to learn to live with the emotions he’s long suppressed, hoping to stave off a painful farewell to the world. He’s sensitive and kind underneath a gruff exterior and, despite some initial enmity, Felix pulls out a softer side in John.
Reading about the two of them together tugged at my heartstrings, which always sucks me in to a story, no matter what other flaws there might be. A few times throughout, I got the feeling that some of the events of the story were just padding to make the HEA we want for the main characters that much harder to reach. There are some objectionable characters (deeply closeted homophobe, etc.) that felt a little flat and the main conflict is easily solved long before the actual end of the story, giving rise to one of my least favorite things: the double ending. Given how much I enjoyed the overall story, I didn’t mind as much as I would have in a tale that was less well crafted. I sped through this book and promptly bought another book by the same author.
Curses, Foiled Again moves at a nice speed and features an array of other queer characters outside of it’s gay, cis male protagonists. It’s a sweet story with a darker bent that will give you the warm-fuzzies.
Dan Ackerman is a writer and educator who has lived in Connecticut for their entire life. They received their BSED from CCSU in 2013 and wrote their Master’s thesis on representations of women in same-sex relationships in contemporary Spanish literature and cinema. Currently, Dan is studying for a second MA in ABA and works in a center school for students with variety of intellectual, developmental, or multiple disabilities. In their spare time, Dan continues to read and write, supplemented with a healthy amount of movie marathons and gaming.