I read Michelle Harrison's 13 Treasures (my review) this summer and enjoyed the way it gave a different spin on old Faerie lore and for the main characters of Tanya and Fabian. I was interested to see where the story would go next and when our library received its copies of 13 Curses I was eager to get a hold of one. I didn't enjoy it as much as the first.
Synopsis (from Goodreads):
The 13 Treasures have become the 13 Curses. When fairies stole her brother, Red vowed to get him back. Now trapped in the fairy realm, she begs to be seen before the fairy court where she strikes a bargain: Her brother in exchange for all thirteen charms from Tanya's bracelet. Back at Elvesden Manor, Red, Tanya, and Fabian begin a desperate hunt, but as they soon find out, the fairies have done more than hide the charms; they've enchanted them with twisted qualities of the thirteen treasures they represent. And the longer the charms are missing, the more dangerous they become. Can Red, Tanya, and Fabian find all thirteen charms? And if they do, will the fairies keep their promise?
What worked for me: The Faerie lore continues to follow traditional tales while expanding them. Red and Warwick actually get to attend the feast where the switch between the rule of the Seelie and the Unseelie Courts occur and I thought both courts were portrayed well. There is just enough darkness in the Unseelie to remain true to the myth without making it too dark for children. The Seelie, while not as dark, are shown to be just as heartless and unthinking of using humans in their games as their Unseelie counterparts.
What didn't work for me: This book focuses more on Red who was not a character explored a lot in the first book. I wouldn't have minded this so much except I felt like this focus did a disservice to both Tanya and Fabian. Part of my enjoyment of the first book was Tanya and Fabian and their interaction with each other. From the beginning I felt like they just were not the same characters, like something was off. Some of that might be attributed to the books format which jumps between Red in the Faerie realm to what is happening at the Manor in the human realm. There are also flashbacks to Red's past that are spotted throughout her account. There is a lot of jumping around and as a result the story has no fluidity. Warwick also gets a chance to add his own tale of tragedy and woe regarding the faeries that we did not get in the first book. All this back story contributed to a book that was way too long. It is 496 pages and they don't even get to the part where the quest begins until 300 pages into the book.
I can see how children who are fantasy fans and enjoy trilogies and series wanting to pick this up. It left me wanting and feeling a little deflated though. I'm not sure I will bother with the third book when it is released in the US. It is called 13 Secrets and is currently out in the UK and is expected in the US in 2012.