Cursebreakers by Madeline Nakamura Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

A professor of magic struggling with his own mental health must face a powerful curse affecting the city of Astrum while being caught between scheming magical academics and a power-hungry military in author Madeline Nakamura’s “Cursebreakers”. 


The Synopsis

Adrien Desfourneaux, professor of magic, must survive his own failing mental health and a tenuous partnership with a dangerous ally in order to save the city of Astrum from a spreading curse.


Adrien Desfourneaux, professor of magic and disgraced ex-physician, has discovered a conspiracy. Someone is inflicting magical comas on the inhabitants of the massive city of Astrum, and no one knows how or why. Caught between a faction of scheming magical academics and an explosive schism in the ranks of the Astrum’s power-hungry military, Adrien is swallowed by the growing chaos. Alongside Gennady, an unruly, damaged young soldier, and Malise, a brilliant healer and Adrien’s best friend, Adrien searches for a way to stop the spreading curse before the city implodes. He must survive his own bipolar disorder, his self-destructive tendencies, and his entanglement with the man who doesn’t love him back.

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The Review

This was a compelling read. The blend of dark academia with adult fantasy storytelling was remarkable to see come alive on the pages of this book. The world-building and imagery the author infused into their writing allowed the story to shine and brought to life the rich city of Astrum in a way that felt almost cinematic in its display. 

The heart of this story resided in the themes and character arcs that the author explored. Protagonist Adrien is a uniquely complex and flawed hero, and yet someone you still want to root for as time goes on. The exploration of mental health and the importance of taking control of your own mental health journey is great to see come to life through Adrien’s story, and the way the author was able to infuse important relationships into the story without including romance as a plot device was great to see come to life in this book as well.

The Verdict

Compelling, thrilling, and entertaining, author Madeline Nakamura’s “Cursebreakers” is a must-read adult fantasy and dark academia read. The conflict that arises between the academics of this city and the more strength-driven military might of the Vigil was fascinating to see come to life on the page, and the twists and turns this narrative takes will keep fans eager for more from this remarkable author. If you haven’t yet, be sure to preorder your copy of this book or read it on September 12th, 2023! 

Rating: 10/10


About the Author

Madeleine Nakamura is a writer, editor, and lifelong fantasy devotee. She began writing her first novel the day she realized a computer science degree wasn’t happening. She graduated from Mills College in Oakland with a degree in creative writing. She is based in Los Angeles, California.

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