I can´t share the excitement others express about this book. In fact, I am a bit disappointed. And I cannot recommend it to kids. This story is way too cruel, bloody, and gloomy for them. And the modern touch, this novel was supposed to have- I didn´t find it. Sad, but this is not what I thought it would be – an old tale formed into a modern story with magic and great characters. Well ...

Cursed-Die Auserwählte*
by Thomas Wheeler
Translation Michelle Gyo; Petra Koob-Pawis
Original Title Cursed
Illustration Frank Miller
Publisher Fischer TOR on May 27, 2020
Genre Fantasy
Pages 443
Format Hardcover
Source Publisher

A woman. A sword. A country in turmoil.
England is on fire: The Red Paladins murder anyone who does not bow to the cross. When Nimue´s village is attacked, she loses everything-only one thing remains: a mysterious sword that she is supposed to bring to a certain Merlin. But as an advisor to the corrupt King Uther, Merlin has his own plans for the sword of power. Accompanied by the young mercenary Arthur, Nimue takes on the most dangerous men in the country to lead her oppressed people to freedom … (personal translation by ©Vi at Inkvotary)
Nimue watches with horror how her village gets destroyed by the Red Paladins. A moment she will never forget and that will lead her every future step. Because her mother gives her a hidden sword telling her to bring it to Merlin. A man Nimue thought would only exist in the tales her mother and all the others used to tell her through the years. Now, she must find him to save her people. 

The cover is quite something. Good, the German edition looks a bit different from the original, but I don´t mind that. The red and black combination is dramatic and the only thing I call successful. 

The rest? Not what I had hoped for. There is a lot of harsh languages, scenes where death is shown very graphic and detailed and that is nothing, I want a kid to read. And the illustrations. Most of the black and white drawings looked good on the one hand but hardly showed whether I was looking at a female or male figure. The story itself is kind of diverse. But without the magic, the novel tells the reader about it. Magic I had hoped would get through more and at least give me a little reading pleasure. Sorry, didn´t happen. And the open end this book has is something I was not happy about either. Sad. 

The well-known characters such as Merlin, Lancelot, or Arthur seemed to me rather weak in their behavior and character than that they were the strong men I know from other books. Sure, Lancelot is a very cruel man and I don´t remember him being that in the other stories but I had to look twice to recognize him. 

Nimue is a strong young Fey who believes that she is destined to lead her people to freedom. But she clearly underestimates the power of the sword and with that, she has to learn it the hard way, that she cannot handle everything the way she wants.

Sad to say, but this novel didn´t convince me. I just see the book as an average read. I clearly hoped for more. Especially after all the good things I´ve heard about it. But judge for yourself. For me, unfortunately not a book that I can recommend. 

Happy reading

*This book was kindly provided to me by Fischer TOR in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. Thank you. 

Deutsche Rezension

Das Cover hat schon etwas. Gut, die deutsche Ausgabe sieht ein bisschen anders aus als das Original, aber das macht mir nichts aus. Die Kombination aus Rot und Schwarz ist dramatisch und das Einzige, was ich als wirklich gelungen bezeichne. 

Der Rest? Nicht das, was ich mir erhofft hatte. Es gibt viel zu viel raue Sprüche, Szenen, in denen der Tod einen Tick zu anschaulich und detailliert dargestellt wird, und das ist nichts, was ich ein Kind lesen lassen möchte. Und die Illustrationen. Die meisten von den schwarz-weißen Zeichnungen sahen einerseits gut aus, zeigten aber so gut wie, nicht, ob ich da eine weibliche Figur oder eine männliche ansah. Die Geschichte selbst ist vielfältig. Aber ohne die Magie, von der der Leser im Roman selbst liest. Eine Magie, von der ich gehofft hatte, dass sie mehr durchkommen und mir zumindest ein bisschen Lesevergnügen bereiten würde. Ist leider nicht passiert. Und das offene Ende dieses Buches hat mich auch nicht gefreut. Traurig.

Die bekannten Figuren wie Merlin, Lancelot oder Arthur schienen mir eher schwach in ihrem Verhalten und Charakter, als dass sie die starken Männer gewesen wären, wie ich sie aus anderen Büchern her kenne. Sicher, Lancelot ist ein sehr grausamer Mann und ich erinnere mich nicht daran, dass er das in den anderen Geschichten war, aber ich musste zweimal hinsehen, um ihn zu erkennen.  

Nimue ist eine starke junge Fey, die glaubt, dass sie dazu bestimmt ist, ihr Volk in die Freiheit zu führen. Abe sie unterschätzt die Kraft des Schwertes deutlich und muss es auf die harte Tour lernen, dass sie nicht alles so handhaben kann, wie sie will.

Traurig das zu sagen, aber dieser Roman konnte mich nicht überzeugen. Ich sehe das Buch nur als durchschnittliche Lektüre. Da hab ich mir eindeutig mehr erhofft. Vorallem nach all den guten Dingen, die ich davon gehört habe. Aber urteilt selbst. Für mich leider kein Buch, das ich empfehlen kann.

Thomas Wheeler
Thomas Wheeler ©Matt Mindlin

Thomas Wheeler is a screenwriter, producer, showrunner, and the author of The Arcanum. He was the executive producer and creator of Empire for ABC and The Cape for NBC. In feature animation, he wrote the Academy Award-nominated Puss in Boots, as well as The Lego Ninjago Movie. Together with Frank Miller, he is co-creator and executive producer of Cursed, based upon the novel of the same name.



  1. Probably not a book that I'd pick up easily but I do still plan on watching the Netflix show. Great review!


    1. Thank you. I hope that the Netflix show will be good. Sometimes it happens that the TV show/ movie is much better than the actual book *smile*


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