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After the "everybody in the pool" approach of the previous crossover novel of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and "Angel," the relatively simple idea of having Spike travel from Sunnydale to L.A. to have engage in a little money making endeavor on Angel's turf, is a refreshing change. The double-edged sword here is that when Mel Odom wrote this book, little did he know that when it hit the stands Spike would have been added to the cast of "Angel," despite having died a grand and glorious death on the final episode of "BtVS." The good news is just as the fans of the television series created by Joss Whedon and David Greenwalt were enjoying this casting decision, Odom's book hit the stands with Angel and Spike pictured side by side. The down side is that Angel and Spike spend relatively little time together in "Cursed," and more often than not it is Angelus and Spike running around Europe in 1891. Some of the best scenes in "Cursed" are when Angel and Spike are together in the present going after each other. I just wish there could be more of that, because that is what we were hoping to read based on the cover of this book.
I realize, of course, that there are practical reasons why this could not be. The Historian's Note in "Cursed" points out that this story takes place in an alternative continuity during the 5th season of "BtVS" and the third season of "Angel." That is a pretty good trick, since the former was the 2000-2001 season and the latter the 2001-2002 season. Since Conner is a baby and Spike has yet to get anywhere with Buffy, you can work out the continuity for yourself. The "alternative" is key because Odom has to write a story about Angel and Spike in which nothing really significant happens between them, because that privilege is left to Joss and his minions.
To avoid the very confrontation we would most like to read in "Cursed," Odom has to a pair of double splits on his narrative. Consequently, while Spike is hired to join a gang of demons in retrieving a object, Angel and his agency are involved in their own case, with the reading becoming aware that these stories are two sides to the same coin long before the characters catch on. Additionally, as is usually the case with any narrative that brings Angel and Spike together, there is a plotline in the past, involving Darla and Drusilla, that informs he doing ons in the present. Bridging the past and the present are some gypsies, although, surprisingly, not the same clan that is involved in Angel's curse.
Ultimately, "Cursed" is really Spike's story and his relationship with the strange gypsy woman Lyanka is the book's pivotal one, despite what the cover promises. As we all remember from "Dopplegangland," despite Buffy's attempt to stifle Angel when he disagrees with her observation that a vampire's personality has nothing do with the person they were in real life, that is indeed the case. Buffy's declaration was because Willow noticed that her vamp double was "kinda gay," and you can draw you own conclusions regarding how Liam became Angeleus. But what we know of the William the Bloody before he was turned is that he was an incurable romantic who wrote bad poetry. Odom is the first to deal explicitly with this idea with regards to Spike.
Odom does a nice job of connecting the dots in this regard. After all, Spike's love for the daft Drusilla was his original defining characteristic, and then he spent the last three seasons on "BtVS" falling hard for the Slayer (just do not try to get me to figure out how Harmony fits into the equation, because I do not think she does). As much as I enjoyed the scenes when Angel and Spike finally get together in L.A. in the present and go at it with the choice verbal sparing, it is really the Spike that is revealed by Lyanka that resonates in "Cursed." The funny thing is, I do not think Odom realized the vein of gold he uncovered in this story, because it is really not set up to be the big payoff in the novel. So, the bottom line on this one is that the Angel part of the story is solid enough, but it is what happens with Spike that was well worth the exploring.
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on 14 July 2004
I honestly didn't expect this book to be so much fun, I have read the reviews, so I knew that the confrontation between Angel and Spike was not actually one of the main stories in the book, but I always love the books where there is a bit of flashbacks to the Fang Gang.
Apart from that is funny and interesting, honestly, I recommend it, nice book to read.
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on 22 August 2007
This book is the best Buffy/Angel cross-over that I've read so far ! Buffy plays no active roll, but in Spikes' mind and memories she plays an important roll in the book.

After Buffy's rejection when she discovers he bought those demon-eggs in season 5 and discovering that there's a price on his head, Spike joins 3 demons for a well-paid burglary in L.A. ($ 50.000, enough to pay off his debts and give some to Buffy for her debts).

Meanwhile in L.A., Angel is hunting down a mystical object (Giles asked him to) and having some trouble finding and getting it: turnes out a lot of people are looking for these objects (there are 7 of them), including 2 different groups of Gypsies - and we all know how well Angel gets along with Gypsies !!!

The book is set in an alternate storyline: Buffy season 5 and Angel season 3. Which is technically impossible, but Mel Odom tells you in the beginning and I guess it's the writers' privilege to change these things.

Although Angel plays a big part of the story, most of the new thing I learned were about Spike. We learn how he fell in love (really bad) with a Gypsy woman at the end of the 19th century and learn a lot more about his romantic side -- because beneath all that though-guy exterior, Spike is a hard-core romantic deep down in his cold, unbeating heart.

The book is really good, especially if you want to learn more about Spike and what makes him (and more specifically his heart) tick !
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on 30 May 2004
This book uncovers a lot of ideas and themes through Buffyverse and makes them have reasons and consequences. The reference to the curse makes what happens to Angel and Spike suddenly make a lot of sense.
Its nice to see Spikes point of view over being just friends with Buffy as we rarely see his emotions in the show.
A good book to pull you back into Buffys world.
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on 23 November 2003
In the present a tip-off from Giles sends Angel Investigations headlong into a confusing mix of gypsies (not the ones that cursed Angel) and lawyers to prevent the re-assembling of some bridge to another dimension, while Spike trying to earn some money ends up in L.A. and in possesion of one piece. Meanwhile there are flashbacks to Spike and Angels complicated history both with each other and the pieces of the bridge.
I am a huge Buffy and Angel fan and so was really looking forward to this book. However, it wasn't long before I was disappointed. The idea to see Spike and Angel team up, especially given their 'colourful' history intrigued me. This book even attempts to explore this history, but somehow left me bored. I'm not sure what exactly didn't feel right to me, but the essence of the characters were lost somewhere. Having said that this is not the worst Buffy/Angel book I have read. The author obviously knows the series and attempts inject some humor, but I found it rather flat. Not a great book but not one of the best either.
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