by T. Mack
Giving classic fairy tales a new twist isn’t a novel concept. However, the way that Drew Hayes brings them all together in a string of unexpected connections and creative new perspectives is original, unique, funny, and totally worth your time as a reader. In Second Hand Curses, we follow Jack, Frank, and Marie (a.k.a. The Bastard Champions) on their journey across magical kingdoms. The trio have specific skill sets. For a price, they are willing to take on odd, dangerous, and nigh-impossible jobs that may or may not include hunting, maiming, or killing someone who has taken advantage of someone else who didn’t deserve it. Did your fairy godmother forget to mention that in return for the prince’s love you must spend the rest of your life in her servitude? Did a mysterious piper whisk away all the children in your village and refuse to return them without a very handsome ransom? Were you tricked by a frog into trading places with him before he ran away and left you to fend for yourself as a lowly amphibian? Then The Bastard Champions are here for you… for a price, of course.
Second Hand Curses wastes no time jumping right into the humor and action of its plot. Nor does it hesitate to begin turning fairy tales you think you know onto their heads almost immediately. Each chapter is a different adventure, twisting a different classic tale into a new version of itself. However, together, they all tell one cohesive story of a group of friends trying to accomplish one specific goal, with each simultaneously trying to overcome their mysterious pasts. It’s a clever story that doesn’t take itself too seriously and isn’t at all pretentious about just how clever it is.
The characters are self-proclaimed scoundrels, but they are likable ones. And though they are anti-heroes at best, they are still heroic in their own right. As a reader, I rooted for them from the very beginning to the very end. Even while they partook in some unsavory behavior. I just couldn’t help loving them all the same. I was invested in the story and the characters in the best way. I felt their triumphs and downfalls and enjoyed the story all the more for it.
Second Hand Curses is the most fun read I’ve had in a while. It has my highest recommendation in general, but especially if you’re looking for something to entertain, uplift, and engage without making you think too hard, feel too heavy, or stick too firmly to reality.
RATING: 5 SHIELDS!
Have you read Second Hand Curses or any other titles by Drew Hayes? What was the most fun read you’ve encounted lately? Let me know in the comments!