Curse of the Sphinx by Raye Wagner
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Thanks to Raye Wagner for the free copy I received through her website!
This book was very different to what I expected. I was thinking it would be heavy on the fantasy elements, and lighter on the characterisation - I could not have been more wrong! Really, the opposite is true. 'Curse of the Sphinx' was a fun, romantic read above all else, and I found that quite refreshing.
Wagner's writing was exceptionally pretty in this novel. I especially enjoyed her characterisation. I really felt that I knew Hope and understood her feelings, fears and desires. It is critical for me to feel connected with a MC so that I actually care what happens to them, and I had so many sympathy feelings for her throughout the story it's not funny. Athan, Haley, and Mr. Stanley were also relatable and interesting characters that added depth to Hope's story.
I was surprised at how much I enjoyed the romance between Hope and Athan. As I previously said, I thought this book would be fantasy heavy, romance light. So, when Hope and Athan began to feature prominently as plot point, I expected to be disappointed - but I really wasn't. I found their romance believable, light, fun, and romantic. In my opinion, this is just how teen romances should read. Kudos to Wagner for writing a believable teen romance in a fantasy setting.
'Curse of the Sphinx' had an intriguing premise. I have read a lot of YA fantasy novels, but I cannot think of a single one that featured sphinxes as a prominent part of their mythology. A unique concept is hard to come by in fiction these days, and so I greatly appreciated this. I also loved that the mortal world seemed to follow the Ancient Greek religion (there's mention of mortals having temples for Athena in a modern day America). Wagner's world building is flawless, so I never questioned the plausibility of this. The mythology and fantasy elements were really interesting - however, I would have loved more focus on this side of the story. As much as I loved the characters and the romance, the mythology was definitely a big draw for me. I hope Wagner explores this side of the story more in future novels.
Overall, this was a fun story with a solid mythology backbone. I would recommend 'Curse of the Sphinx' to someone who wants a story with a unique fantasy premise in an urban setting.