Alaya never imagined how much her life would change when she’d accidentally unlocked an ancient curse. Raised to keep her powers a secret, she’d never thought much about the reasons behind her mother’s wanting her to hide them at every turn. Now that her secret has been discovered, she’s unsure of what to do. There are those who want to use what she holds deep within for an end to their own means, as well as those who’ve decided she’s better off with a price upon her head. A price she isn’t willing to pay. Not when she has the chance in unlocking the secrets of a long-lost past she’s known nothing about.

A lovely, and quite intriguing start, to the Serpents and Kings trilogy, The Queen Of Cursed Things catapults us into Alaya’s tumultuous life. This is a girl who’s been dealing with untold powers from the moment she’s been able to summon them. Unwillingly, of course, since she’s not quite able to control what roils deep within her veins. Not yet, anyway.

SM has given us a story that begs to be plundered. Full of numerous twists and turns, we get to discover what lies behind Alaya’s carefully constructed facade. Unsure of her footing within the world she lives in, we get to see her make decisions that may sometimes be chaotic, yet they often prove to be in her favor. Granted, the results are never what she expects them to be.

Alaya’s vulnerabilities and uncertainties pour off every page, allowing us to see and feel everything she does. The author has been building such an interesting lore for this world. It pulls the reader in from the get-go, making us want to know more about each distinctive clan. The complexities of this world, and of the characters themselves, is astounding. She’s left me wanting to read more of Alaya and the secrets that surround her entire world. Definitely looking forward to book 2!


She’s the last member of a cursed and deadly clan.
He’s the crown prince with a dangerous secret.
Together, they’ll save the empire. Or destroy it.

Decades ago, the High King of Sundolia waged a war that vanquished the Serpent clan and drove them out of the empire, reducing them to nothing more than legends spoken of in occasional frightened whispers.

But they did not leave peacefully.

Their parting gift included curses that now rest within the empire’s soil, beneath the shade of its jungles, treading through the waves of its seas. Growing more and more dormant as the years pass under the rule of that increasingly tyrannical high king.

Until Alaya—a young woman with a hidden Serpent mark who shouldn’t exist—accidentally wakes one of them up.

Then another.

And suddenly she finds herself exiled from her adopted village and left with no choice but to seek the truth about her lost clan and the so-called curses they left behind. About her true home. About a power, stolen from the Serpent goddess herself, that is supposedly resting in that home. It is the sort of power that could help her overthrow a king, expose the lies he’s told, and put a stop to his wars.

The crown prince of Sundolia claims he wants to put a stop to those wars with her. That he only wants to help her find that power so he can undo the horrors his father has created. All they have to do is find a way to trust each other.

But the closer they get to that power, the more complicated the truth—and the trust— becomes. The more dangerous Alaya’s waking power seems. And the more she begins to wonder: Can you still be the hero if you were born a curse?




As a kid, S.M. Gaither spent way too much time playing video games like Final Fantasy and reading every book she could get her hands on instead of doing silly things like her assigned homework. As an adult . . . Well, not much has changed.

Her goal is to write books that distract others from their life’s obligations, too, thus creating an army of fellow procrastinators over which she can reign supreme. These days, her personal ?favorite places to procrastinate are in the mountains near her North Carolina home, in the company of her husband, their daughter, and their very spoiled dog.