I really wanted to like Ever Cursed by Corey Ann Haydu. The trigger warnings intrigued me, plus I love a good story about magic and princesses. Unfortunately, it is nothing but a rehash of an oft-told story.
Men control women. Women silently suffer in an attempt to keep the peace. Something changes to make women aware of the control and lack of power. Women fight to protect their rights and wrest control from the men. The end. Throw in some magic, long-held family secrets, and misguided attempts at doing the right thing and you essentially have the plot to Ever Cursed.
As for the trigger warnings, I understand why the author includes them. That being said, the reasons for the warnings are not nearly as explicit as I expected. Because there are such warnings, I expected the danger scenes to involve details that would be difficult to read. They are not. In fact, they are very tame, in my opinion. They are in no way graphic. Personally, I think the warning about eating disorders is more appropriate because Ms. Haydu spent more time talking about Jane’s hunger and mealtimes than she does going into specifics about any violence.
Ms. Haydu does one thing right, however. She does a decent job of portraying the sense of betrayal the girls feel towards their father once his actions come to light. After all, the only father they know is a loving, attentive father who not only played with them but was also progressive about their upbringing. So, their disbelief at the information they learn about him feels authentic and is one of the highlights of the story.
Overall, there is nothing new about Ever Cursed. There are many novels about the power struggles between men and women across all genres and age levels. The addition of cursed princesses adds a little something extra to the story even as it does not change anything at its most basic level. It is the same with forcing the cursed to work with the cursing – a fun addition but it adds nothing. So, Ever Cursed is just another disappointment in a string of them.