Review: Garden of the Cursed by Katy Rose Pool





Since fleeing the gilded halls of Evergarden for the muck-filled canals of the Marshes, Marlow Briggs has made a name for herself as the best godsdamn cursebreaker in Caraza City. But no matter how many cases she solves, she is still haunted by the mystery of her mother’s disappearance.

When Adrius Falcrest, Marlow’s old friend and scion of one of Caraza’s most affluent spell-making families, asks her to help break a life-threatening curse, Marlow wants nothing to do with the boy who spurned her a year ago. But a new lead in her mother’s case makes Marlow realize that the only way to get the answers she desperately seeks is to help Adrius and return to Evergarden society—even if it means suffering through a fake love affair with him to avoid drawing suspicion from the conniving Five Families.

As the investigation draws Marlow into a web of deadly secrets and powerful enemies, a shocking truth emerges: Adrius’s curse and her mother’s disappearance may just be clues to an even larger mystery, one that could unravel the very foundations of Caraza and magic itself.


Garden of the Cursed by Katy Rose Pool was one of my random purchases because, um.. let’s just say I fall for the cover first… lol! However I am so glad I picked it up because this little gem completely took me by surprise. Although it wasn’t original in concept or in it’s tropes it certainly made up for them with it’s captivating narrative, written exquisitely, and interwoven with a skillfully crafted storyline.

The story maintained a fast-paced momentum and constantly surprised me with new twists that held my attention. Katy skillfully balanced the events in the underworld with those in high society, striking a perfect blend so that neither dominated excessively, ensuring a captivating read throughout. Moreover, the story was enriched by numerous hidden intricacies and mysteries, with a promise of further revelations in the upcoming sequel. The mysteries in the book were orchestrated with finesse, with numerous wheels turning behind the scenes, promising even more revelations to come in the next installment. The mystery element was well-executed, and although I managed to guess a few things, it didn’t detract from the captivating storytelling that effortlessly pulled me into the narrative.

I love a good well thought out magic system in a book and The Garden of the Cursed had just that. Although it is just curse breaking at a glance I appreciated that it required not only magical abilities but also a great deal of intelligence and detective work to unravel these intricate curses.

Marlow was a great character, with her delightful imperfections, who dealt with a multitude of personal struggles, all while grappling with the mysterious disappearance of her mother and navigating through various forms of discrimination while searching for her. Her difficulties in trusting others due to past wounds added a touch of cantankerousness to her personality, which, surprisingly, only made her more endearing and relatable. I must admit that Adrius fell somewhat short of my expectations as a character. He seemed to conform to the typical trope of a broody and enigmatic young man with a heart of gold, which, in my opinion, made him somewhat predictable and lacking in originality.

However, I absolutely loved the dynamic between Marlow and Adrius. Their interactions were so well-crafted that it truly felt like two former friends engaging in banter. However, beneath the playful exchange of words, it was evident that there were deep-seated mixed and hurt feelings on both sides. Exploring this complex and emotionally charged relationship was one of the highlights for me, as it added a layer of depth and authenticity to their characters and the story as a whole.

The supporting characters, such as the various upper society groups, the gangs in the Marshes, and especially Marlow’s best friend Swift, were exceptionally well-crafted. Their portrayal added depth and richness to the narrative, making it a truly enjoyable experience to learn about each of them.

Overall, Garden of the Cursed is a great beginning to a promising young adult duology and I am looking forward to reading the sequel.

Book Cover:

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