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Cursed Love Blues (The Ballad of Atë, #1)

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A disgraced goddess, scorned by the gods and condemned by an ancient curse to wander the earth in human form. But Atë is nobody’s victim. Indomitable, mischievous and ravishing, she is determined to enjoy all the sensual pleasures of the body and this world, even if they do come with a price. She isn’t known as the goddess of infatuation and recklessness for nothing. Drifting A disgraced goddess, scorned by the gods and condemned by an ancient curse to wander the earth in human form. But Atë is nobody’s victim. Indomitable, mischievous and ravishing, she is determined to enjoy all the sensual pleasures of the body and this world, even if they do come with a price. She isn’t known as the goddess of infatuation and recklessness for nothing. Drifting across centuries and continents, through the countless lives of mesmerised kings, geniuses and fools, she is haunted by a secret ache for a human soul she has loved and lost over different lifetimes. When a young blues singer mysteriously disappears during a Mexican fiesta, Atë realises the key to freeing herself from her curse might finally be within her grasp. Embark on a wild road trip that takes you into a twilight world of disgruntled angels, unreliable gods, desperate lovers, vengeful priests and friendly goats to the sounds of Nina Simone, Nick Cave and the Doors…


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A disgraced goddess, scorned by the gods and condemned by an ancient curse to wander the earth in human form. But Atë is nobody’s victim. Indomitable, mischievous and ravishing, she is determined to enjoy all the sensual pleasures of the body and this world, even if they do come with a price. She isn’t known as the goddess of infatuation and recklessness for nothing. Drifting A disgraced goddess, scorned by the gods and condemned by an ancient curse to wander the earth in human form. But Atë is nobody’s victim. Indomitable, mischievous and ravishing, she is determined to enjoy all the sensual pleasures of the body and this world, even if they do come with a price. She isn’t known as the goddess of infatuation and recklessness for nothing. Drifting across centuries and continents, through the countless lives of mesmerised kings, geniuses and fools, she is haunted by a secret ache for a human soul she has loved and lost over different lifetimes. When a young blues singer mysteriously disappears during a Mexican fiesta, Atë realises the key to freeing herself from her curse might finally be within her grasp. Embark on a wild road trip that takes you into a twilight world of disgruntled angels, unreliable gods, desperate lovers, vengeful priests and friendly goats to the sounds of Nina Simone, Nick Cave and the Doors…

16 review for Cursed Love Blues (The Ballad of Atë, #1)

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jo

    This is a riveting novel, epic in its scope on many fronts: the phantasmagorical, colourful, multi-dimensional and broad landscape is vividly portrayed with a dramatic film-like quality and populated with haunting, powerful characters; the writing is rich with insights into human nature, described in punchy, evocative, fresh and original language that is a real pleasure to read. Exploring relationships between love and hate, power and subservience, freedom and imprisonment, the story cleverly avo This is a riveting novel, epic in its scope on many fronts: the phantasmagorical, colourful, multi-dimensional and broad landscape is vividly portrayed with a dramatic film-like quality and populated with haunting, powerful characters; the writing is rich with insights into human nature, described in punchy, evocative, fresh and original language that is a real pleasure to read. Exploring relationships between love and hate, power and subservience, freedom and imprisonment, the story cleverly avoids becoming didactic or moralistic. It challenges accepted norms and definitions through its complex personalities and surreal situations with many comic touches that lighten it and provide a foil to the potentially macabre elements. From the first sentence, a world – and underworld – is evoked which is not quite “straightforward”, inhabited by characters who are anything but simplistic. The author tantalises by playing with the tension between the reader’s natural instinct to empathise with the narrator, and the growing realisation that Ro/Ate is telling a story from a biased point of view, deluding the reader and developing a sense of discord and uncomfortableness which is accentuated by the ensuing events. The antithesis of both Tantalus in one respect and Sue in another, Ate – motivated by selfishness and self-preservation – is weak, cowardly and often mistaken in her judgment. Yet the goddess Ate is, through her imperfections, in many ways more human than her nemesis Tantalus, whose disrespect of all authority and convention in his quest to gain godlike power is finally brought down by the conviction, trust, faith and love of straightforward Sue. The nature and meanings of love on its many different levels, delusionary and real, are explored throughout the novel. Ultimately Sue sacrifices her soul for love, preferring to remain fragmented until she can finally be set free. Ate spends hundreds of years waiting for her one true love to be reborn, each time knowing that her love will again lead to their death in the inevitable cycle ironically caused by her own curse. There is a complex interplay of relationships: the selfless love between the steadfast uncompromising Sue and the pure unsullied and “new” soul Hako throws into relief the blind, superficial and delusionary aspects of love exemplified by Ate. When she is worshipped, Ate transforms from a weak, dejected and miserable state into a benevolent power, leading those around her into a misguided state of euphoria, but nevertheless showing how being loved can transform a person’s state of mind, creating positivity and optimism. Love will be the ultimate solution to undo the curse, “negativity won’t undo it” and “hatred only eats itself”. The characters and the landscape created within this novel are so real that they live on in the reader’s mind long after the book is finished. If the sequel was at hand, you would reach straight for it...

  2. 4 out of 5

    Caroline

    Ate! I've been waiting for you for so long! At last, a woman (or Goddess) who encapsulates so much more than many of the mediocre female characters I've met in books before. I feel like I've fallen a little bit in love with her, despite, and because of all her flaws. As I travelled with Ate, the journey twists and turns through the vivid landscapes of Mexico and the USA, it paints a picture of a grotesque yet fascinating underworld (which if I'm honest, kind of ruined mermaids for me). Along the Ate! I've been waiting for you for so long! At last, a woman (or Goddess) who encapsulates so much more than many of the mediocre female characters I've met in books before. I feel like I've fallen a little bit in love with her, despite, and because of all her flaws. As I travelled with Ate, the journey twists and turns through the vivid landscapes of Mexico and the USA, it paints a picture of a grotesque yet fascinating underworld (which if I'm honest, kind of ruined mermaids for me). Along the way I grew to know and love the characters like old friends, as their essence is so beautifully created. This is one of those books that I raced through, then ended up heartbroken at the end when I put the book down and came to realise how much I was going to miss them. I think that if you're a fan of Neil Gaiman's captivating fantasy, if Caitlin Moran's straight talking feminism brings a smile to your lips, or if you had a soft spot for Graeme Simsion's Professor Don Tillman in 'The Rosie Project', then I think you'll enjoy this.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Kate

    From the first chapter to the final page, I was hooked. As vivid as a film, Ate is now one of my favourite characters of all time. Not only because of the beautiful prose (a goddess perspective of love-making!) but the fact she is an anti-heroine, a female protagonist that you can’t decide whether to revere or be disgusted with. Sometimes I loved her, other times I didn't - but I was always interested in what happened next and how she would react. My favourite part of the book was set in the Unde From the first chapter to the final page, I was hooked. As vivid as a film, Ate is now one of my favourite characters of all time. Not only because of the beautiful prose (a goddess perspective of love-making!) but the fact she is an anti-heroine, a female protagonist that you can’t decide whether to revere or be disgusted with. Sometimes I loved her, other times I didn't - but I was always interested in what happened next and how she would react. My favourite part of the book was set in the Underworld and the description of that mountain they have to crawl up is haunting. I look forward to reading the next one.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Helen Down

    Gosh - I am so pleased that I was recommended to read "Cursed Love Blues". I fell in love with Ate, the strong female character, especially with her weaknesses. The vivid description of the landscape made you feel that you were with them. The book made me question what was important with life and i felt as if I had come out of a long journey - very happy that i had been allowed to go on it. Gosh - I am so pleased that I was recommended to read "Cursed Love Blues". I fell in love with Ate, the strong female character, especially with her weaknesses. The vivid description of the landscape made you feel that you were with them. The book made me question what was important with life and i felt as if I had come out of a long journey - very happy that i had been allowed to go on it.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Shelley Wilson

    Cursed Love Blues has it all; gods and goddesses, lots of sex, music, and even vampires! The author doesn’t hold back with her descriptive prose, and this novel is, therefore, far from a clean read. Ate is a disgraced goddess who is cursed to walk the earth in human form. Known as the goddess of infatuation and recklessness she finds numerous ways to pass the centuries. She comes across a young couple, Hako, and Sue, who are part of a band. The music element in the book is well written and beaut Cursed Love Blues has it all; gods and goddesses, lots of sex, music, and even vampires! The author doesn’t hold back with her descriptive prose, and this novel is, therefore, far from a clean read. Ate is a disgraced goddess who is cursed to walk the earth in human form. Known as the goddess of infatuation and recklessness she finds numerous ways to pass the centuries. She comes across a young couple, Hako, and Sue, who are part of a band. The music element in the book is well written and beautifully crafted, weaving itself into most scenes. Ate becomes their manager, and the story unfolds as they embark on a road trip. As we learn more about Ate in the present day, the author then switches between time periods, so we learn more about Ate’s previous encounters over the many years she has spent as a goddess in a human body. There are links to the past lives of those she meets, and this opens up to the twists and turns of the story arc. I actually found this review quite difficult to write. Cursed Love Blues is well written. However, I didn’t bond with the characters at all and struggled to read it, opting for short bursts. Having said that, I did like the god, Hermes, as his humour was well portrayed. He enters the story by hijacking human bodies so he can interact with Ate and the other characters. There is a beautifully written scene where Hermes dances with Ate but hops from body to body as the dance progresses. The author has delivered an interesting read which shows us how a god and goddess might view human life with frailties of body and mind, but it didn’t quite hit the spot for me. I received a copy of Cursed Love Blues from the author via Rosie Amber’s Book Review Team, in exchange for an honest review.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Nick

    Not the type of thing I would normally read, but found it fully entertaining. Enjoyed the travel and and musical elements, liked the main characters and how the story spanned different centuries and continents. Great holiday read.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Jeffs

    This novel is at once intelligent, joyful, outrageous, full of mythological enquiry, well researched and swimmingly beautiful. Like many, I have fallen in love with Ate, intoxicated by her power and raw female energy. The story is a roadtrip and when you download the soundtrack to accompany the ride you can almost taste the path the three central characters Hako, Sue and Ate tread together. I truly struggled to put this book down, the cliff hangers at the end of some chapters almost unbearable. This novel is at once intelligent, joyful, outrageous, full of mythological enquiry, well researched and swimmingly beautiful. Like many, I have fallen in love with Ate, intoxicated by her power and raw female energy. The story is a roadtrip and when you download the soundtrack to accompany the ride you can almost taste the path the three central characters Hako, Sue and Ate tread together. I truly struggled to put this book down, the cliff hangers at the end of some chapters almost unbearable. This is a sweet song of youth and immortality played out in an epic landscape of both ours and the underworld with just enough horror and euphoria to satisfy any reader.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Gary Shilladay

    This book ticks all the boxes: vampires, a journey to the underworld, gods, music and sex. It was a powerful vision of the narcissistic perspective a goddess would have. The characters are both fascinating and fallible, Hako is like a loyal and lovable puppy and Sue’s first bloodfeeding scene was one of the best ones I have read in a vampire novel, allowing you to easily enter her fantastical perspective. I love the exploration into a goddess's gaze onto the human race, grasping some things abou This book ticks all the boxes: vampires, a journey to the underworld, gods, music and sex. It was a powerful vision of the narcissistic perspective a goddess would have. The characters are both fascinating and fallible, Hako is like a loyal and lovable puppy and Sue’s first bloodfeeding scene was one of the best ones I have read in a vampire novel, allowing you to easily enter her fantastical perspective. I love the exploration into a goddess's gaze onto the human race, grasping some things about what compels and motivates us but also in her failure to comprehend our complicated emotional needs. Read it and don't forget to also check out the amazing soundtrack!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Paoletti

    I loved this book! The first chapter literally seduced me and I was at the mercy of the rest of the book from there. The way the book meanders through different time periods reminds me of David Mitchell's 'Cloud Atlas'. I adore books with a strong female lead and Atë is certainly a force to be reckoned with. This is not your average 'safe' book... I felt how I did after I'd walked out of the cinema after watching Lord of the Rings in 3D.. My mind was blown. I'm really happy that it's a trilogy a I loved this book! The first chapter literally seduced me and I was at the mercy of the rest of the book from there. The way the book meanders through different time periods reminds me of David Mitchell's 'Cloud Atlas'. I adore books with a strong female lead and Atë is certainly a force to be reckoned with. This is not your average 'safe' book... I felt how I did after I'd walked out of the cinema after watching Lord of the Rings in 3D.. My mind was blown. I'm really happy that it's a trilogy and I can't wait for the next book.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Hugh Garling

    Ambitious in its scope and vivid in its execution, Cursed Love Blues is an exhilarating, page-turning read. Blending elements of fantasy, horror, road-trip, period drama and western genres, it carries the reader on a musical mythological odyssey across the wild and wide open spaces of the Americas and into the fearful depths of the underworld. Its central protagonist, the disgraced goddess Atë of Ancient Greece, is both amoral and intriguing. Alienated from the realm of gods and humanity alike, Ambitious in its scope and vivid in its execution, Cursed Love Blues is an exhilarating, page-turning read. Blending elements of fantasy, horror, road-trip, period drama and western genres, it carries the reader on a musical mythological odyssey across the wild and wide open spaces of the Americas and into the fearful depths of the underworld. Its central protagonist, the disgraced goddess Atë of Ancient Greece, is both amoral and intriguing. Alienated from the realm of gods and humanity alike, she wins the readers’ sympathy in her struggle to break the curse under which she labours and from her search to redeem lost love. Along the way, Cursed Love Blues offers some thought-provoking reflections on the nature of love and of freedom and at the end of the ride, the reader is left wanting more. I wholeheartedly recommend this book and can’t wait for the next instalment in this promised trilogy.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Lisa Balmforth

  12. 5 out of 5

    Wincate Kinya

  13. 5 out of 5

    Kate Orrells

  14. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

  15. 5 out of 5

    Shiromi

  16. 5 out of 5

    Sharna Waller

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