Curses! A F**ked-Up Fairy Tale lives up to its title. J.A. Kazimer has concocted an occasionally hilarious pastiche of twisted fairy tales and hardboiled noir. Neither of these are particularly original, but the precise combination presents some novelty, and the author is clearly having a great deal of fun.
The narrator, RJ, is mistaken for a private eye in New Never City and hired to solve Cinderella’s murder by her not-so-ugly stepsister, Asia. RJ is, in fact, a villain on a forced vacation by the Villain’s Union for post-villainous-related stress. He is also suffering under a curse that leaves him entirely unable to refuse damsels in distress. Then the bodies start piling up.
Sadly, after an intriguing and amusing opening, Curses! Descends into a confused murder mystery that relies a little too heavily on the fairytale jokes and references. The conceit felt stretched. J.A. Kazimer was clearly enjoying herself writing this, and there are certainly moments of genuine hilarity, but on the whole the mix of humor, fairytales, and noir didn’t quite cohere.