Understanding the Spine-Tingling Villainess | Neferet's Curse by P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast

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Your girl finally finished her House of Night reread AND read the companion novellas for the very first time. Next up? Neferet's Curse! Ah!


The White City, 1893: In turn-of-the-century Chicago, with the World's Fair bringing bustle and excitement to her home city, sixteen-year-old Emily Wheiler should be reveling in her youthful beauty and the excitement around her. But her whole life changed when her mother died, leaving her to be the Lady of Wheiler House. Her father, a powerful bank president, is at the center of an important social hub for the booming young city, and he needs Emily to do everything her mother would have – to be a good hostess and make sure the mansion runs smoothly.

As Emily uneasily tries to replace her mother, she also longs for more… for love and a life of her own. When a handsome young man notices her at one of her father's parties, it seems that her hopes may finally be coming true. Until her father forbids her to see him – or any other man – and starts revealing a darkly violent side that even he can't understand.

At last, afraid for her life and with nowhere to turn, Emily is Marked by a vampyre and brought to the Chicago House of Night, where she begins a magickal new life that should allow the wounds from her past to heal. But as she gains strength, and a powerful new name, she carries a dark need to wreak vengeance on the man she trusted most.

Neferet's Curse by P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast
Rating: ★★★★★

Like with Lenobia's Vow I knew I was going to love Neferet's Curse. A lot. I think, at this point, it's safe to assume that I read the prequel novels exclusively for their stories. (Of course, I'm exceptionally late in getting to them. For some reason they've just been sitting on my shelves for literal years. Better late than never?) I don't need to really explain it, but! While Lenobia is my favourite *good* adult vampyre, Neferet is my favourite evil one.

Throughout the course of House of Night she serves a spine-tingling, delectable form of villainess that I am quite fond of. Based upon what we knew of her backstory and development, including her life before being marked, I always felt strangely sympathetic towards her. Which is rare for me when it comes to villains. There's something alluring and seductive to her; it is in this and her supposed 'kindness' that cloaks darkness and that darkness has always intrigued me in terms of the whys and the hows.

Firstly, I want to explicitly remind you that Neferet's Curse borders between tragic and fully triggering in its exploration of grief, anger, resentment, abuse and rape. Although it is short in its pages, the story packs a serious punch that will leave you feeling nauseated and heartbroken. As a human teenager, Neferet, then Emily, suffers a great deal in very little time. It is in these series of events that Emily is fashioned into Neferet, and irrevocably is broken. Your heart will ache for her in a way that isn't wholly common re: villains.

The exploration of topics is handled with honesty and sensitivity, mingling itself into the backstory and the series' mythology beautifully. I loved the Chicago setting. (Obviously. I'm a Chicago girl.) I thought that the atmosphere of it was bleak and mysterious in the way that was necessary to tell Neferet's story. Further, it felt very reminiscent of V.C. Andrews and that, in and of itself, horrifies me.

It works for the context of this story. But, every little interaction between Neferet and her dad left my skin feeling prickly with anxiety and fear and hatred. There are so many moments where I wanted to reach through the pages and kick her father myself. What a garbage excuse of a human.

Neferet's Curse unmasks our central House of Night villain. It makes her undeniably human. It's not an easy read in the sense that your emotions are really taken hold of. Instead of the usual fear and intrigue of Neferet, this novella takes readers on a different journey but still leads us to the eventual same path of terror. Seeing how she became the way she is, and that is all one could ever want from an origin story. I was unable to put this novella down and felt my heart shatter on many occasions.

In short, this was definitely a wild and emotional ride. Completely essential when it comes to the House of Night series and I'm so annoyed that I hadn't read it sooner. 

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