by Lauren DeStefano
Nikki’s Rating: 7 out of 10
Summary: As Wil deals with the fallout of killing her beloved brother, she is now on the run from two kingdoms. As the Northern and Southern kingdoms are at war, both are hunting Wil for their own reasons. The Southern Isles see Wil’s curse, to turn anything living into gems with a simple touch, as something to be exploited and used to kill and amass wealth. And in Arrod, her death is ordered by her own brother, Baren, who is haunted by death and seems to have cursed his whole kingdom. Wil teams up with her supposed enemy, Loom, the exiled prince of the Southern Isles, as they fight to win back both their kingdoms before everything they love is destroyed.
7 Cool Things about Lauren DeStefano’s “The Cursed Sea”
(May Contain Spoilers)
1. The World
The world created by Lauren DeStefano for The Glass Spare duology was an interesting combination of fantasy and technology. The world includes elements of the modern with electricity, machinery, and guns but also includes castles, alchemy, magic, and curses. It was a nice blend that ended up working together and didn’t appear disjointed.
Lauren DeStefano included a LGBTQ relationship between the characters Espel and her guard Masalee. While I loved this dynamic simply for inclusiveness and reducing stigma, it really helped show the depth of Espel’s character and how much she kept hidden from the world. Through the love that she and Masalee share, it is revealed that Espel is not the monster she appears to be but rather is putting on an act to protect that which she cherishes most.in “The Glass Spare” but we learn that he committed a crime and was therefore cursed. Wil was born with her curse and the great mystery is why.
3. Mending Relationships
“The Cursed Sea” had a theme of mending relationships throughout. This theme is seen between Espel and Loom, Wil and Baren, and even Loom and Wil. When the characters take the time to try to understand where the other person is coming from, they are able to empathize and make compromises. They learn to trust and work towards mending the relationship or at least reach an understanding that causes a truce between them.
4. The Curse
Wil’s curse was the source of mystery throughout “The Glass Spare” and thankfully “The Cursed Sea” helps to explain why Wil was cursed from birth and it was not what I was expecting! There were so many twists and turns relating to the curse that even when I thought I figured everything out, there was another revelation. Ultimately, Wil’s grandmother and grandfather were terrible people.
5. Sibling Rivalry
Sibling rivalry was another theme seen in The Glass Spare duology. First shown between Espel and Loom, it is revealed that they grew up pitted against each other and while they believed that the other truly hated them, neither of them would kill the other when it came down to it. It is through this act of not killing the other that they realize that there is a love between them regardless of their upbringing. Sadly, the sibling rivalry between Wil and Baren doesn’t end as well but it is revealed that while Baren did have an overwhelming irrational hatred of Wil, she and her brothers also fostered this hatred by excluding him from their friendship. This allows Wil to comprehend that it wasn’t all Baren, that she contributed to this rivalry as well and that regardless, he still didn’t take her life.
Always the sucker for love stories, I really enjoyed the experience of Loom and Wil falling in love and then actually embracing it. As they went from being angry, possibly even out right hating each other, to a truce, to then accepting their feelings for one another was a delightful journey to be part of. Most importantly, they respected each other’s boundaries, were willing to allow the other to make their own decisions, and were willing to accept whatever choices were made.
7. The Ending
Happily The Glass Spare duology had an overall positive ending. While not all dreams and aspirations were reached, each character got what they deserved in the end. Most exciting was the reunion between Loom and Wil, hoping they lived happily ever after together.