A Dazzling Retelling of the Timeless Arthurian Legend | Blog Tour, Review + Giveaway: Cursed by Frank Miller and Thomas Wheeler

6:30 AM

Cursed was my second Arthurian Legend retelling this year and all I can say is CAN I HAVE THE NETFLIX ADAPTATION NOW? I need. I. NEED.


by Thomas Wheeler & Frank Miller (Illustrator)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Release Date: October 1, 2019
Genre: Young Adult, Retelling, Fantasy

The Lady of the Lake is the true hero in this cinematic twist on the tale of King Arthur created by Thomas Wheeler and legendary artist, producer, and director Frank Miller (300, Batman: The Dark Night Returns, Sin City). Featuring 8 full color and 30 black-and-white pieces of original artwork by Frank Miller. 

Whosoever wields the Sword of Power shall be the one true King.

But what if the Sword has chosen a Queen?

Nimue grew up an outcast. Her connection to dark magic made her something to be feared in her Druid village, and that made her desperate to leave…

That is, until her entire village is slaughtered by Red Paladins, and Nimue’s fate is forever altered. Charged by her dying mother to reunite an ancient sword with a legendary sorcerer, Nimue is now her people’s only hope. Her mission leaves little room for revenge, but the growing power within her can think of little else.

Nimue teams up with a charming mercenary named Arthur and refugee Fey Folk from across England. She wields a sword meant for the one true king, battling paladins and the armies of a corrupt king. She struggles to unite her people, avenge her family, and discover the truth about her destiny.

But perhaps the one thing that can change Destiny itself is found at the edge of a blade.

Cursed Written by Thomas Wheeler 
and Illustrated by Frank Miller 
Rating: ★★★★☆ (4.5)
As always, a copy of this book was provided by the publisher or author in exchange for my honest review. This does not effect my opinion in any way.

It took me a little while to get into Cursed. For a moment, I was concerned by its bleakness and the subtle beginnings it held. I thought, for a minute, that the novel itself wasn't going to work for me. I was wrong. Once things really kicked into gear, I found myself lost to the gloriously dark and bleak retelling--and it was so, so good. As you can imagine, the series of illustrations sparks the imagination further and ties into the atmospheric prose beautifully.

Cursed wouldn't be half as brilliant if Frank Miller and Thomas Wheeler's images didn't blend so beautifully together. There is something seamless about the way that Wheeler's words and Miller's art come together and captivated me from the very start. The artwork tied into the story in a way that was chilling and terrifying, which was the perfect addition.

If you find yourself struggling with the first quarter of Cursed, stick to it. This is the type of story that takes time to set itself on the course for action. Once it does? You're left with no choice but to devour it as quickly as possible. In all its vividness, Cursed feels like something unforgettable and plays out in a way that compels you to keep reading.

I couldn't help but think: I know these characters. I know Arthur. I know Merlin. I know, I know, I know. At the same time, I didn'tI knew straightaway, when realizing this retelling was centered around the Lady of the Lake, that this book was going to be for me. It was going to feel familiar, but not. And it was.

To take characters that have been around for so very long, for our entire lives, is a risk--but Thomas Wheeler was more than up for the task. Sometimes, literature is like life in this regard--big risks can pay off. Cursed is an example of that. I loved his interpretation of all that is familiar--he made them his own.

So, it goes without saying, I absolutely adored these characters and this spin on such a classic tale. I loved Nimue and the fact that this was her story. She is the perfect heroine and Cursed would feel, well, cursed, without her leading the way. She is flawed, maybe a little naive and slow, but I found I really loved watching her throughout the course of Cursed.

As for other characters, I found the spin of Arthur and Merlin's archetypes to be fairly interesting. I won't say too much, as to not spoil the central storyline, other than they weren't what I expected from a retelling. I loved Morgan, perhaps, most of all? Although, I didn't genuinely enjoy getting to know this variation of familiar faces.

Cursed is much more than your ordinary retelling. Lusciously told and utterly unique, the darkness beneath the surface of Cursed makes the experience all the more heart-pounding and breathless. If you are familiar with the legend, you know the basics of this tale. But, you don't wholly know what to expect--as in all good retellings; Cursed becomes something entirely its own and keeps its readers on the edges of their seats.

I cannot recommend this one enough. It was the perfect read to usher in the autumn--and I'm more than excited for the Netflix adaptation of the same name. And I'm going to need it... like, yesterday.

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About the Author & Illustrator  

Thomas Wheeler sold his first screenplay at age twenty-two, to Twentieth Century Fox. He has continued to work on major Hollywood features for the last several years. Wheeler lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Christina, and his son, Luca. The Arcanum is his first novel. Find Thomas on his official website or Goodreads.

Frank Miller is an award-winning comic book writer, novelist, inker, screenwriter, film director, and producer best known for Daredevil, The Dark Knight Returns, Sin City, and 300, among others. He also created Cursed with Tom Wheeler, which is being adapted as a series for Netflix starring Katherine Langford. Visit him online at FrankMillerInk.com, Goodreads or on Twitter.

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