The Thousand-Year Curse: Taylor Lavati
High school tends to be a challenge at times but to one 17-year-old girl named Ryder each day is nightmare waiting to happen. With no one to protect her at times she is the subject of ridicule of a girl named Becca and her minions. At times all Ryder wants to do is runaway or hide. Surviving her senior year might be her goal but that is just the tip of what some might say the iceberg when you hear the rest.
Sometimes things happen for a reason and the people we meet might change the course or direction of our lives. What would you do if you found out that you were half human and half goddess? What would you do if you learned that after living 500 years your powers will come full circle and you might start to age? The strings are being pulled but not by anyone above ground. Author Taylor Lavati takes readers down deep within the realm of the Underground where Hades rules and Persephone reigns to learn the history behind Ryder’s ancestry, her true heritage and her future. What would you do if you learned that each time you were found by your two lovers you died? What happens and how this all ties together are presented in The Thousand-Year Curse by debut author Taylor Lavati.
Ryder has been experiencing some weird moments. At times she has visions that take her to places she has never been. Other times she enters the Underground realm and sees herself dead, her soul pulled from her body and meets Hades and Persephone thinking they are trying to help her yet not realizing that they are playing with her for sport. Cruel, unfeeling and definitely manipulating her life, her future and her relationships, Ryder will learn the harsh truth but let’s hope it’s in time to save her.
Everyone needs someone to watch their back and support them no matter what happens. Ryder’s father is really great and enjoys spending time with her but Ryder never divulges the fact that she is being bullied in school, the strange physical changes that she has encountered, the reason things break or the truth behind what she is about to learn. Added in the author shares that Ryder’s mother left her and her dad and has not been heard from since.
Things heat up within the first month of school when Ryder meets Ollie in a chance encounter and then Ari adds to the mix. Just who are these two gorgeous guys who can’t seem to get enough of Ryder? Why does her best friend Junior seem to team up with Ollie? Why is it that Ollie has this mysterious and mystical quality about him that causes people to just do what he says? Is it the music he plays or is it something else?
Getting to know both Ollie and Ari they seem like two typical teens who are vying for the attention of one young girl. But, looks are deceiving, actions are not what they appear and the truth behind why they are attending her school and who they are will definitely surprise not only Ryder but readers too. Ryder’s real name is Eurydice and although she would like to live a normal teenage life now that she met these two that’s not possible. Would you believe it if I told you that Eurydice or Ryder lived long ago during the time of Orpheus and that Ollie/Orpheus and Ari/ Aristeus are both Greek Gods sent to find Ryder/Eurydice and bring her back. Learning some information from Ollie and more from Ari, Ryder decides it’s time to learn the rest from the man in charge down below. Wanting to take a trip to the place where no one wants to wind up when gone, Hades, and meet the two that reign, she convinces Ari to find out how to enter the portal, pay for the trip and then needs to convince her best friend to cover for her while she is gone.
Ryder is headstrong and at times does not think things through. Wanting to be with both guys her emotions are often rattled, she becomes confused and whichever one is in front of her that’s who she wants. But, does she really ever get a hold on her emotions? Finding her way to Ollie when upset with other situations and the dreams that she has that are all too real, Ryder decides to take that one step that many girls her age wait for but often do not, and enters his bedroom and gives him her heart body and soul. Ryder seems whipped at times and does not always stand up for herself and she also gives into these two guys too easily.
The intimate scene between Ryder and Ollie was done tactfully and in good taste, as it did not go overboard in the description leaving something for the reader to wonder. The awkwardness that she displays is quite normal. The hesitation at first and his fear that he might hurt her made the scene more believable. Ryder and Junior accept too much at face value at times and the fact that Junior convinces her father to allow her to go on a skiing trip and does not ask where, when or why seems a little too easy. Most parents of teens would want to know more. But, since it is Junior, I guess he trusts him. Off to Hades she goes and now things will heat up but before they do she reenters her room and finds herself back in the cave that seems to appear in her dreams sees Ari and the scene is chilling. Trust is one underlying theme that comes through as Ryder and Junior would not betray each other’s trust or will they in order to survive? Teens can learn that believing everything at face value and taking what others say, as gospel is not always the right thing to do. Should she have confided in her father when these strange things happened? What about her mother does he know?
Each time Ollie wants to remind Ryder of his feelings he leaves a Rose on her pillow or somewhere where she can find it with a note letting her know he is not far away. The Rose seems to symbolize his love for her, which he feels, is eternal. Ryder is a half goddess and her mother is one too. Trying to find her along with hoping to end this thousand-year curse placed on her is her goal. But, meeting Hades and entering his world will do more than burn up the pages of this book and have readers looking for something cold. Ryder finds out that she has been reincarnated and each time these two find her she will die a horrific and painful death. Just what is the reason for the curse has yet to be revealed? What is the curse? How does this intersect with her mother? Will it?
Each chapter has its own heading allowing readers to know what events will happen next. The one that begins with The River of Pain takes both Ryder and Ari down into Hades, through overcoming many obstacles, the river of pain, the river of wailing, punishment and places where those that were really evil or bad wind up, those that are neutral in Oblivion and those that are good find solace somewhere else as Ryder learns more about being a Nephilim and she explores her powers.
An ordinary teen transformed into a semi goddess. Flighty at times, trying to be loyal to one and yet finding it hard to resist the other as Ari shares his back story with readers as to how and why he met Ryder. Entering Hell, meeting Hades and the end result is quite compelling as Ryder comes face to face with a dream that would bring her farther from finding her mother, distance her from both Ari and Ollie plus put a strain on her friendship with Junior. Sometimes the only course of action is to stand-alone and finds your own way. Insecure, naïve in many ways and yet headstrong, she opts for Nephilim school, forges an acceptance letter and then finds out what happens when deceit and betrayals might mark her way to finding her true path.
An ending that will take your breath away and a young girl that is just starting to find her way. What is next for her as she starts school and meets new people? Will she find her mother? Which goddess is her mother? All of these questions and more will be answered in Book Two: A Curse Books Novel. Would you want to take a trip down below? Join Ari, Ollie and Ryder and you decide! This book gets Four and half stars.
Fran Lewis: Reviewer