How to Break an Evil Curse | Laura Morrison


How to Break an Evil Curse by Laura Morrison

Coming July 6th, 2021 from Black Spot Books; 410 pages

Content Warnings: Violence, mentions of imprisonment/execution, poisoning, misogyny 

About the Author: “I live in the Metro Detroit area with my husband, kiddos, cats, bees, tortoise, vegetable garden, books, and (depending on the season) some monarch butterflies in various stages of development and/or some neonatal kitten fosters. I have a B.S. in applied ecology and environmental science from Michigan Technological University. Before I was a writer and stay-at-home mom, I battled invasive species and researched turtles. It was fun, but writing is better. People with a better handle on statistics can keep the science.” (Bio taken from author’s website)

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“Farland wished he could devote his life solely to his revenge plots, but regrettably there was no money in vengeance”

Though they once wore matching BFF bracelets, King Conroy of Fritillary and the wizard Farland Phelps are no longer besties. As it turns out, the powerful Farland was an evil wizard, and cursed Conroy’s first born child to die if sunlight ever touched them—unless, that is, the royal family found the countercurse. And so, it seemed that Princess Julianna was doomed to live a life in the (tastefully decorated) castle dungeon unless she could locate her seafaring, banjo/harpsichord playing, asparagus-allergic soul mate before Farland could get his evil hands on him. But the brave, stubborn, and slightly naive princess refused to let herself be kept locked away from the world forever. How to Break an Evil Curse is a testament to the resourcefulness of a young woman with a determination to see the world—as well as a stage for pirates, wizards, doctors, witches, ghosts, women’s rights, union organizers, asparagus tips, and terrible harpsichord playing. 

Laura Morrison’s first fractured fairytale novel is a funny, sarcastic weave of several unique stories. Julianna is out of touch with the world—both literally because of her sunlight intolerance and also because she’s part of the royal family—but learns much about Fritillary from the three ghosts who haunt her bedchambers. She is kind at heart, though incredibly sheltered, and wants nothing more than to satisfy her wandering spirit and improve the lives of commoners. The man who was born to be her countercurse, Warren, is kind and loyal to his sea-faring, theatrical family. He is a likeable character, but I found him to be a bit boring overall because he seems to go along with the plans set out for him by other people. However Warren’s sister, Corinne, was a fun and interesting side character to read. 

Overall, while I really loved the humor and the creative plot lines of the novel, I felt like there was too much going on. For example, the novel opened with a fantastically evil character, but she was never talked about after Chapter Two. There were so many characters with interesting backstories, but there wasn’t enough time for them all to fully develop. Regardless, if you’re looking for a chaotic fantasy read with a sarcastic narrator and a whole host of twisted story-book tropes, this might be the book for you. 

How to Break an Evil Curse releases July 6, 2021.

(Pine Reads Review would like to thank NetGalley and the publisher for providing us with an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Any quotes are taken from an advanced copy and may be subject to change upon final publication.)

PRR Writer and Lead Editor, Grace Kennedy