ARC Review: Cursed by Jackie Keswick

Pebbles can start landslides…

Cover Design: Jackie Keswick

Two friends. Two worlds. A selfish desire that threatens them both.

Raijin killed a witch and found himself cursed.

Sandro went to Raijin’s aid and became an assassin’s target.

Neither expected that they would trigger the biggest upheaval their world had seen in a thousand years.

And that it was the love between them that would lift the curse.

Cursed, the second book in the Balance of Magic series, is a slow-burn m/m fantasy romance featuring friends-to-lovers who become soulmates, irate death gods, curses, inept, narcissistic politicians, curious, compassionate witches, and a found family.

The book does not end on a cliffhanger. Raijin and Sandro’s story ends on a HFN. The main story arc continues across all three books.

Read an excerpt here.

My thoughts

Cursed is an epic story about friendship, family, and romance. 

To call this a slow-burn romance would be true, but it is a really slow…slow…slow burn (chuckle). I will give a spoiler, it takes over a hundred years for Sandro and Raijin to get together romantically.

I do find it odd that the synopsis doesn’t really tell the true tale of their journey. The blurb basically tells of their last adventure in the book. They face many enemies before a human witch comes into their lives. Cursed has so many betrayals, death, and political subterfuge it is a good thing that most of the players live to be over a hundred or you wouldn’t be able to keep track. I have to admit that one villain I didn’t want to be a villain. That one is a heart-breaker.

There is another part of the book that really got me and it is because Sandro and Raijin are fighting right alongside human soldiers during World War II. Heart-breaking.

I am not one for historical fiction or stories that take place over a century. Jackie Keswick hooked me with their main characters. I love their backstories for the diverseness as well as for what their past brings to their futures. Sandro and Raijin create a friendship amidst all of the distrust and treachery that is afoot. No matter what they are going to be friends and it doesn’t matter if their love comes to pass. Loyalty. Trust. Respect. Sandro and Raijin have these for each other, and I love that for them.

Keswick throws in an interesting twist as mentioned in the synopsis. It makes the heroes confront their ideas of identity and love. It adds a nuance that the story didn’t need, but the flavor added brought more to the table.

Cursed is a beautiful friends to lovers romance that concentrates on the foundation of a relationship. It may take a hundred years, but the journey is an interesting one.

I received an ARC of this book and I am writing a review without prejudice and voluntarily.

Rating: 5 out of 5.


 “As a Bookshop and Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.” at no additional cost to you.

Further Details:

Publisher: 979-8424563997, March 23rd 2022

Cover Design: Jackie Keswick; Illustrations: J. Fink

Series: A Balance of Magic #2; Settings: 1901 thru 2018 in Italy, Japan, Iceland, Switzerland, Turkey, Belgium, France, Carnac, Latvia, England

Pages: 362

SC: Gay

Promotion materials provided by Gay Book Promotions.


Promo photo: by Ju00c9SHOOTS on


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