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Reviewed by Liz Konkel for Readers' Favorite
Cursed Charm by Jali Henry is the first book in the Arcane Witches series. Bree was an ordinary woman who had just lost her job, and her choice to prevent an attack led to the discovery that she was a powerful Arcane witch. The next thing she knows, she's drawn into a world of witches and vampires, and she's somehow in the middle. Following a vampire attack, Bree runs to the emergency room and straight into the arms of a charming doctor who has a secret of his own that makes her wonder if he's the one she should be afraid of. Arcane witches reveal themselves, seeking her help in their fight against the vampires. Bree makes some interesting new allies as a dangerous vampire reveals himself, and soon his frightening intentions for her come to light.
Several dynamics are presented in Bree's life, emphasizing various aspects of her personality, such as the friendship with her roommates, being a sister to Frank, the unrequited love with Conor, and softer romantic elements with Nik. The anger issues presented in the beginning are what sparks this fierceness that drives her to stand her ground, defend others, and fight back, which are characteristics that grow stronger as she learns more about her abilities. Jali Henry delivers an urban fantasy led with a strong voice and an empowered heroine in a story that tackles vampires, rape culture, and consent. Henry speaks volumes about rape culture, using vampires as a way to successfully tell this story. Henry delves into the grittiness of the setting through a fresh approach to vampires that puts a spin on the classic bloodthirsty beings. Bree's journey is personal and rooted in her self-discovery and her origins as she's thrown into this chaotic world being the hero that the witches need. The story is action-packed, surprising, and is just the beginning of Bree's journey. Cursed Charm kicks off an exciting new series about empowerment and self-discovery.