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Reviewed by Liz Konkel for Readers' Favorite
The Cursed Amulet by Elizabeth Forest is the second book in the Crow Magic series. Suli has settled into her role as a wise woman but she couldn’t have predicted that when she helped a young girl, she was about to discover far greater trouble. She soon finds herself with an apprentice and as the two make their journey back to Suli’s home, it’s quickly revealed that Arta has her own special abilities. Arta can communicate with animals, which helps when they stumble upon a pack of dogs chasing after a young boy. Suli learns of a ploy to kill the king and queen when she discovers the terrifying reality of soldiers rounding up witches into camps. She and Arta catch the attention of the corrupt prime minister who is determined to track them down and capture the prince, no matter what it takes.
This plot is beautifully complex as Elizabeth Forest weaves together several threads to form a stunning tale of danger and adventure. The relationship between Suli and Arta is at the heart of the story as the two strong-willed and stubborn girls challenge each other. They both have big hearts and a lot of power. The story has a mystery - a sickness affecting the animals has made them stop eating and has caused the young to die. The witch camps and the animal sickness both tie directly into the prince being chased with these threads forming a larger obstacle they must face in order to save animals, people, and magic. Each threat raises the stakes for the girls and they must work together if they’re going to save everyone. Forest breathes life into this complex world of magic with a layered system of animal nations, wise women, and magic.
This is the second book in the series but the story is easily followed as a standalone thanks to Forest’s keen details and thorough building of the world. The characters are delightful with the focus remaining primarily on the perspectives of Suli, Arta, and Benno but other characters are seen throughout as integral parts either as threats or help in saving the prince’s life and his throne. The Cursed Amulet is a delightful read that all ages will love with a world that will introduce you to shapeshifters, wise women, a thrice-cursed prince, a girl that can communicate with animals, a traitorous prime minister, and an unforgettable adventure.