Curses and Smoke by Vicky Alvear Shecter | Teen Ink

Curses and Smoke by Vicky Alvear Shecter

July 2, 2014
By alioramus GOLD, Chapel Hill, North Carolina
alioramus GOLD, Chapel Hill, North Carolina
18 articles 0 photos 1 comment

Favorite Quote:
“That reminds me of a puzzle…”
- Professor Layton

Curses and Smoke by Vicky Alvear Shecter. Arthur A. Levine Books, May 27th, 2014. ARC received for review.

Lucia is a funny, smart, and beautiful girl who’d much rather be reading, writing, and exploring the outside world rather than living the uneventful life of a proper Roman lady of Pompeii. On the other hand, her greedy father betrothed Lucia to a rich - and not to mention, way older - man in hopes that he can inherit the wealth. Lucia is devastated when she hears the news, but everything takes an unexpected twist when Lucia reunites with her childhood friend, Tages. Tages, or Tag, was forced into slavery, and his main job now is healing wounded townspeople. When their friendship sparks into forbidden love, secrets and lies about Lucia’s and Tag’s families resurface. On top of all that, Lucia’s beloved Pompeii experiences sudden tremors which lead to severe earthquakes. As the shaking grows stronger, Lucia and Tag must decide their fates by choosing between the lives they’re supposed to live or a prohibited life together before a volcano crushes their dreams.

From the moment one opens this book, they will be transported instantly to the city of Pompeii. The reader can hear the hustle and bustle of the marketplace, feel a slight tremor beneath their feet standing on an uneven stone street, and see the great Mount Vesuvius in the distance. Anyone who reads this book will come to love or hate the well-developed and extremely complex characters as they follow a first-person account of what really happened at Pompeii. Readers will find Lucia honest and strong, and will stand up for her at any point. Tag will similarly come across as brave and loyal. Throughout the story, sacrifices will be made, smiles will be shared, and tears will be shed if one decides to read this book. It was evident that the author enjoyed writing this story; it shows in her wonderful writing. Anyone who loves ancient civilizations and is specifically mystified by the story of Pompeii should give this book a try. This book well-deserves a rating of 5/5 stars.

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