There will be uncut spoilers in this review.Oh, Star Cursed. For all the ways you improved upon Born Wicked, you also fell much, much farther than the first book in this series did. Where to even start? I’m going to go with the good stuff first. Star Cursed has much better pacing and plotting than Born Wicked. Lots of stuff actually happens other than in the very last third, and it’s interesting to read about! There’s also better fleshing out of the magic system and world, and how this society works. As far as characters go, Cate was much more likeable this time around, although I found Maura to be reverting into a very flimsy archetype of a character--the overly emotional fanatic. Tess still didn’t leave much of an impression on me, even though more things arguably happen to and with her in this book. I also actually enjoy Finn and Cate’s relationship. They’re equals, they act like equals, and they work together well as equals. It’s rare to see in a YA novel, so I appreciated it here and seeing them work together. But that’s it, as far as the good goes. Let’s get to the bad, and hoo boy, do I have a lot to nitpick with Star Cursed. For a series that tries its hardest to be feminist, I’ve been iffy on its feminist cred from the very first book. As I mentioned in my review for that one, Cate is horrific when it comes to other women, especially if they’re overtly feminine and, to her perception, “simple minded”. The narrative also supports this, with only two women breaking out of that perception and proving themselves to be Cate’s friends, Sachiko and her half-sister Rory. To my mind, you can’t have a feminist message in a book if you’re going to have your main character be a snot to other women like Cate was. Thankfully, Cate has more or less dropped this attitude in Star Cursed... but then it seems the narrative makes up for that by having all the women fighting each other. I do understand what Spotswood was attempting to do here, to show that everyone has their opinion on how a war should be waged, and I did appreciate the shades of grey she attempted to inject in the story. But gods, at some points it felt like everyone in this story took a huge drink of some Stupid Tea. Why would the Sisterhood try to divide the sisters as much as they did? What would it have proven? Why do they all need to be at each other’s necks in the first place? There’s also a very uncomfortable trend I noticed in regards to the characters of colour in this series. Pretty much nothing good happens to them; they’re either friends with Cate but need to be saved at one point, or they’re evil. No real exceptions. I don’t think this is intentional at all, but when I gathered up a list of all the characters of colour and what happens to them, it was a little hard not to see the pattern emerging. Also, in this alternate version of New England where it’s normal and accepted to have rich people of colour, why couldn’t Cate and her sisters have been non-white? Why is it that one of the prophesied sisters just has to be a slim, blonde, plain (but not ugly, never ugly), rich white woman? And there’s also the fact that Maura, the emotional (lesbian, or at least bisexual) sister, becomes an antagonist to Cate’s tightly controlled protagonist. Because all emotional women are silly and don’t do anything good, don’t you know? And those lesbians, you need to watch out for them too. Also, the ending? While I do realize how powerful it might be on its own, I rolled my eyes. It felt like a cheap ploy for drama and angst on Cate’s part, and to further separate Maura and Cate for good. We all know Finn is either going to remember or fall back in love with Cate anyway, so it just feels a little needless and, well, stupid. I want to like this series, I truly do. It has so many elements I love in fiction. But I finished Star Cursed feeling more frustrated and irritated than I did when I finished Born Wicked. I honestly don’t know if I’m going to continue with this series. I’m interested in what happens, but at the same time it does so much that angers me that I don’t know if it’s worth it to invest time in it. We’ll see what happens, I guess. But I’m not going to be hurrying out for book three.See more of my reviews at On The Nightstand.