(Cover picture courtesy of Goodreads.)
Before he knew the Oracle.
Before he knew the Quad.
Before the Great Unknown threatened his world.
He was a hero, cursed forever.
Shunned by a family that doesn’t understand him, demigod Lenka Tahile aka “Swindle” is a complete loner and he likes it that way. Then he meets the hero, Ace Remedy, the brother of an infamous demigod Prince, and his life goes from bad to worse. Ace is loud, rude, and disruptive to his peaceful existence in every way. He’s also hilarious and daring, and Swindle ends up finding a friend just when he thought he’d never have another.
But little does he know, becoming friends with Ace was all part of the Fates’ plan. Now his past is slowly coming back to haunt him and there’s nothing he can do to stop it. Nothing but try not to bring to light the lost love, the failed hopes, and the cursed existence that he would kill to keep in the dark.
[Full disclosure: I requested and received a free ebook from the author in exchange for an honest review.]
Just as a side note, this is book #3.5 in the Oracle of Delphi series so you do have to read Prophecy of Solstice’s End first unless you want to be disappointed by massive spoilers.
One of the characters that has always intrigued me the most in the Oracle of Delphi series (other than Chloe and Strafford) has been Swindle. He’s the son of Hermes but was cursed because of Hermes’ decisions. Lots of awful things that have happened to him are not his fault, but in Hero, Cursed we learn some about some awful things that were his fault and see how he carries the guilt around.
I loved not only getting to see how Swindle got involved in the Quad prior to the main series, but also some of his other lives, including as a member of the Argonauts with legends like Jason, Caster, Pollux and Atalanta. His adventures with them were fascinating and when you compare how he was then to how he is in the modern era, you can definitely see that he is not the same every time he’s reincarnated. He’s a totally different person but he retains some of his memories from his past lives, just enough to torture him. I particularly liked seeing how he initially reacted to the curse; he took things far better than I would, that’s for sure.
Not only did we get to see Swindle fleshed out way more than he is in the main series, we get to learn a lot more about Apollo’s nefarious plans and how Swindle actually got involved in Chloe’s bodyguard. I don’t want to give too terribly much away but needless to say that he’s not necessarily the most willing participant in Apollo’s schemes. It will be interesting taking that knowledge into the fourth book Prophecy of the Betrayed Heir if only to see whether or not Swindle will defy Apollo and ignore his threats or keep his secrets and potentially harm his friends.
The plot was fast-paced and although the time frames jumped because of Swindle’s different lives, it was a very logical and clear flow. We didn’t suddenly jump from Jason and the Argonauts to Swindle’s fateful dream as Inis. No, the different time frames were clearly marked and the order they were put in was logical. (I know I keep emphasizing that but logical flow is something that seems to be lacking from a lot of POV-swapping books.) The plot advanced quickly but we were given information in little chunks throughout the novella so as not to slow it down. There was no sudden info-dump anywhere, thankfully, and the cliffhanger at the ending was very intriguing.
Basically, Hero, Cursed is a great addition to the main Oracle of Delphi series and it has whetted my appetite for book four. I can’t wait!
I give this novella 5/5 stars.