Curses by Lish McBride | Book Review

Imagine my surprise when i checked my emails one morning and found an email from Penguin Random House asking if I would like a physical advanced reader’s copy of ‘Curses’ by Lish McBride. My first ever physical ARC.

I was also kind of worried about whether it would be “appropriate” to read a fantasy novel during summer but, let’s be honest, when is it NOT appropriate to read a fantasy novel.


Edition: Hardcover, 288 pages

Expected Publication Date: July 20th 2021 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers

ISBN: 1984815598 (ISBN13: 9781984815590)

Goodreads blurb:

“A unique and twisty magical romp!”–Tamora Pierce, New York Times bestselling author

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? 

First of all, I would like to thank Penguin Random House for kindly sending me an advanced reader’s copy of ‘Curses’ by Lish McBride. It was so nice of them to not only consider me as an early reviewer for this book, but to also send me a finished hardback edition of the book– I really am truly grateful. That being said, my obligation to my blog and my readers requires that my thoughts and opinions will remain unbiased and truthful throughout the review.

Now for the review;

‘Curses’ by Lish McBride is a beauty and the beast, gender-switch retelling about a girl who was cursed as a punishment for refusing to get into an arranged marriage with a man she did not love. Merit will have to live the rest of her life as a beast if she does not find true love or marry someone her mother approves by her eighteenth birthday.

I have to admit– I am a sucker for retellings, especially fairytale retellings. As soon as I read the synopsis for this book and learned that it would be inspired by one of my all-time favourite fairytales, I was intrigued and my expectations were high right off the bat. Thankfully, this book met all those expectations and then some. This book is perfect mix of fantasy, magic, and romance. I can confidently say that this book has exceeded all my expectations, and will be sitting proudly on my list of my favourite reads of this year.

Let’s start with the fantasy element in this book. At first the world presented in this book was a little bit confusing and overwhelming to read about. We, the readers, are presented with quite a number of characters and beings, like a sophisticated ostrich and Fladgers, that we are expected to familiarise ourselves with in order to immerse ourselves into this world. However, I think that is what makes this world quite charming. It’s bizarre and ostentatious at times, but written in a way that it almost doesn’t seem too far-fetched. I loved the creativeness of all the different characteristics of the different beings. All the characters were fun, and actually served a purpose in the plot. I liked the fact that we got separate chapters for different characters, the break in chapters was almost seamless and did not take away from the reading experience.

Now onto the romance. Oh my goodness– the romance in this book is probably one of my favourites of all time in young adult fiction. There is a bit of a love triangle (if you can call it that) but it becomes pretty clear who will end up together. Tevin and Merit are the definition of couple goals. The banter and teasing, the special moments, and the way they grow together individually and together as the story progresses was probably my favourite part of this book. I love that we got to see their love story play out through the pages of this books; especially from someone who is not really a fan of the “insta-love” trope. My only complaint is the fact that we don’t get to see more of Tevin and Merit as a couple– I still needed more. There was also great representation of a non-binary individual as well as a super, super adorable romance between Val and Kaiya.

Spoiler: that scene where Val was literally acting like a love-sick puppy over her crush on Kaiya was one of my favourite scenes in the book.

You can probably tell how much I enjoyed this book– read it in one sitting through the absolute madness of a heatwave the UK is experiencing at the moment– and enjoyed every page of this book. As mentioned earlier, this was my first introduction to Lish McBride and her work, and after reading this absolute stunner I will definitely be checking out more of her work. I would highly recommend checking out this book if you are a fan of fairytale retellings, godlings and a swoon-worthy romance.

4 stars.

Have you read ‘Curses’ by Lish McBride or any of the author’s other books? If so, let me know what you thought of them in the comments in below!

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