Curse of the Sphinx
Series: Sphinx #1
Author: Raye Wagner
Published: August 11th, 2015
Genre: Fantasy, Mythology
Source: YA Bound Book Tours - I received this book for free from YA Bound Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my review.
How long can a monster stay hidden in plain sight?
Seventeen year-old Hope Nicholas has spent her entire life on the run. But no one is chasing her. In fact, no one even knows she exists. With her mom, she’s traveled from town to town and school to school, barely staying long enough to meet anyone, let alone make friends. And she’ll have to keep it that way. It’s safer.
When her mother is brutally ripped away from her, Hope’s life shatters. Is this the fulfillment of Apollo’s curse, murder from the shadow monsters of the Underworld, or have the demigods finally found her? Orphaned and alone, Hope flees again, but this time there’s no one to teach her who to trust—or how to love.
Set in a universe where mythology is alive and well in the modern world, Curse of the Sphinx irresistibly blends action, suspense and romance.
Myths. Gods. Monsters. EMOTIONS!!
Curse of the Sphinx is a refreshing take on the modern Greek mythology story. The premise is so incredibly fascinating – Greek god’s still ruling in modern society and people are aware of it. In fact, many people still worship the gods, honor heroes/demigods, and fear monsters. This story, unlike the plethora of other urban mythology’s out there, is told from the point of view of a monster – the sphinx.
Wagner is a great story teller, whose prose is vivid and poetic. I adored her depth in explaining emotions
“There were no words. Hope stared at her hands as if the answers might appear within her palms, but the only thing she saw were the lines and cracks, a map that went nowhere, that meant nothing.” – Raye, Wagner, Curse of the Sphinx
How she described interpersonal conflict.
“I’m so sorry.” The words fell all over the floor, the mess too big to step around, opening a gaping chasm between the two of them. – Raye, Wagner, Curse of the Sphinx
Her vibrant depictions of scenery.
“The store was old’ its white tile floor grayed with time, and the fluorescent lights cast unnaturally bright light, emphasizing the worn appearance of the store.” – Raye, Wagner, Curse of the Sphinx
I could go on about how much I enjoyed Wagner’s writing, but I’ll just leave this here…
My only issue with the actual story was that there were a few points where I was confused because there wasn’t any in-depth explanation of the world Hope lived in and the pacing of the story made it seem forever until I figured out what was going on. The reader jumps into this world that is similar to ours, but vastly different at the same time. It was confusing. Apparently there is a prequel that explains more, but I didn’t have the privilege of reading it before starting Curse of the Sphinx.
Hope is a great protagonist. She’s not typical in what I usually like in a female lead. She’s not some badass girl out to save the world. She’s a monster – hunted, scared, paranoid, and due to events in the story, a little broken.
“I do trust you.” But even as she said the words, she knew they were a lie. – Raye, Wagner, Curse of the Sphinx
All of her flaws doesn’t make her weak or incapable – it makes her human.
One thing I really enjoyed was exploring Hope’s struggles. Hope is a victim of a long-standing Greek curse that dictates every moment in her life. Throughout the book, she constantly wavers between wanting a life, but fearing the consequences of befriending her peers. The never ending struggle of keeping her identity secret because she is something that the world fears, rules her entire existence. It was extremely refreshing to see this struggle from the “monsters” point of view.
The romance was refreshing. It was so the opposite of insta-love that at times, I wondered if I was actually going to get a romantic subplot. That is not to say that the slow build up was bothersome. Quite the opposite actually. I loved witnessing Hope’s attraction to Athan grow at the pace it did because it made since coming from a girl who was weary of everyone.
You start the story knowing who Athan is, but that doesn’t take away any mystery in the story. Actually, it added another layer – I can’t add any more to that without being spoilery, but trust me. It’s a good thing. Also, knowing who Athan is from the very beginning gives the reader the chance to understand him better throughout the story.
The other characters were clichéd, but typical high school students. Haley – the gabby friend. Krista – the queen b*tch. Krista’s posse of mean girls. There were others, but not much was mentioned about them in this book.
Curse of the Sphinx, is a superb YA filled with mythology, a curse, some intense emotions, and the beginnings of a sweet romance.
About Raye Wagner:
Raye Wagner grew up in a family of dragon slayers. She never wanted to be a princess, and spent her time searching for adventure with her siblings in the suburbs of Seattle, Washington. She read heaps of books while locked away in the upstairs room of the family castle. Enchanted with the idea of magic, Raye studied to become a wizard in the arts of healing, and continues to practice her special brand of sorcery in the realm of gastroenterology.
One sunny afternoon, the idea of a cursed mythological creature popped into her head, and her writing journey began.
Raye enjoys creating delicious bakery sweets, practicing ninja skills (just in case), and escaping to sunny tropical destinations. She lives with her husband, who has nature wielding abilities, and their three children in the realm of Middle Tennessee.