I am all here for magical adult romances. Please comment your favorites so I can read them all. So when I saw that Payback’s a Witch was getting a sequel, I knew I had to read it! While I enjoyed the first one better, this one was a great sequel to get to know the town and the rivalry better. Keep reading this book review for my full thoughts.
Wild child Isidora Avramov is a thrill chaser, adept demon summoner, and—despite the whole sexy-evil-sorceress vibe—also a cuddly animal lover. When she’s not designing costumes and new storylines for the Arcane Emporium’s haunted house, Issa’s nursing a secret, conflicted dream of ditching her family’s witchy business to become an indie fashion designer in her own right.
But when someone starts sabotaging the celebrations leading up to this year’s Beltane festival with dark, dangerous magic, a member of the rival Thorn family gets badly hurt—throwing immediate suspicion on the Avramovs. To clear the Avramov name and step up for her family when they need her the most, Issa agrees to serve as a co-investigator, helping none other than Rowan Thorn get to the bottom of things.
Rowan is the very definition of lawful good, so tragically noble and by-the-book he makes Issa’s teeth hurt. In accordance with their families’ complicated history, he and Issa have been archenemies for years and have grown to heartily loathe each other. But as the unlikely duo follow a perplexing trail of clues to a stunning conclusion, Issa and Rowan discover how little they really know each other… and stumble upon a maddening attraction that becomes harder to ignore by the day.
(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)
TW: panic attacks, anxiety
While I fully expected to fall in love with this rivals to lovers romance, it ended up being the lowest on my list of faves. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t hate it at all! I just ended up loving the character growth of Issa and the world building the most. In From Bad to Cursed, we are treated to more context to the feud in the town. It’s a huge element from the first, but here we are given a bit more time to absorb the tension and hatred. There’s plenty of action as Rowan and Issa become investigative partners.
But I especially enjoyed how From Bad to Cursed gives even more depth to the first book. Understanding the town and the depths of the conflict provides even more insight into the tensions in this book. Watching how the actions developed and their town traditions has to be my favorite element. At the same time, I enjoyed witnessing Issa have to figure out how to navigate her own future. To balance the family pressure she feels with her own dreams.
When we grow up in such a community, we can feel trapped. That we are only destined to fit into the mold of what’s expected of us. But for Issa she has to find the strength and opportunity to be brave. To begin to speak for her own future. As I said, the romance was the least of my favorite elements mostly because I couldn’t figure out Rowan for a while, but it’s certainly not an element I hated. If you like the idea of a magical town, investigations with dark magic, then you’ll have to check out this sequel. Find From Bad to Cursed on Goodreads, Amazon, Indiebound, Bookshop.org & The Book Depository.