Bordertown exists in a strange dimensional fold; a place where demons, Fae, magic users and very few humans live. Rio Jones is one of these rare humans with a small gift of telepathy; however she hasn't the ability to read the minds of particularly powerful individuals. When she witnesses the abduction of a young girl she is determined to help. She's also desperate for protection herself. She's being stalked by supernatural beings, someone's set her up to lose her home and job, plus some powerful people are suddenly very interested in her imminent 25th birthday. Rio of course has no idea why they are so interested; orphaned as a baby she has no knowledge of her parents, and those that seem to know aren't willing to discuss her heritage.
When Rio is threatened, she seeks the help of immortal wizard Luke. He's under pressure to become the Sheriff of Bordertown; after all very few people would want to cross him, yet his good deeds may not be completely altruistic considering the curse he is under. He's been attracted to Rio since they first met, yet shot her down during the one time she showed an interest in him. With a dark curse haunting him, Luke has to be careful not to lose his soul, but the idea of anyone hurting Rio leaves him blowing up an alarming number of objects.
This is a great start to a new urban fantasy series. Rio is a strong character oblivious to the fact she has an adorable side that leaves people bewildered when they find themselves best friends with her in just a few minutes. Rio isn't a softy though; she's tough when needed and ready to make a stand even when the odds are stacked against her. These odds are evened up considerably with the presence of Luke. He may have the power to protect her, but he quickly learns that he can't tell her what to do. Their relationship is entertaining as Rio sets Luke's head spinning on his shoulders, yet he falls hard and will do anything to keep the woman he loves safe. Both their dialogue and actions amuse, plus the romance gets very heated. Additional characters also intrigue and entertain (particularly Maestro, Alice and Kitsune). My only gripe is that the League of the Black swan is only alluded to; I just wish more information about it was given but I look forward to learning more in future books.
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Welcome to life in Bordertown, which hasn't had any law since the last demon uprising, when the rebels ate the sheriff. Yes, it's that kind of wacky story, with immortals, strange societies and kidnappings. Around Bordertown is the more usual space of Manhattan, and bike messenger and PI Rio Jones lives somehow in both dimensions. She's a telepath, well used to demons and Fae, but when three heavies come to find her she wisely runs straight to the nearest ogre bouncer. While in the bar she finds Luke Oliver, an immortal dark wizard, and hires him to help find an abducted child. I would comment that it goes downhill from there, but fighting off a Grendel isn't quite so bad as last month's chimera infestation, so maybe it could be worse.
THE CURSED is action all the way, but can be amusing, as when a venom makes Luke appear drunk, or Luke and Rio have to wrangle a giant duck. A High Court Fae named Merelith orders the two to find her niece. That's not hard to do; she's with a Pictish man, Dalriada, who believes that he should be Bordertown's ruler. Getting the girl out of there, along with a chatty fox, is another matter, and an ancient society called The Black Swan gets involved. Luke desires Rio fervently but she's preserved her independence, while Luke carries an agonising curse around with him. Trouble lies ahead!
Alyssa Day has previously written about Atlantis, 'Warriors of Poseidon' and her world-building has taken off fast with 'League of the Black Swan' series. Urban fantasy lovers will get a kick out of this pacy adult romance, and the only complaint I have is that THE CURSED sounds like a straightforward horror.
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I haven't f inished this breathtaking book yet, but I had to give it a 5 star review. I am on tenterhooks with Luke and Rio to the point of wanting to be in a locked room on my own just reading this installment, only being let out when I've finished it!