***** (5 out of 5) · Books · Fantasy

Second Hand Curses

Second Hand Curses

by Drew Hayes

narrated by Scott Aiello, Marc Vietor, and Tavia Gilbert



Amazon | Goodreads

*Disclaimer: All Amazon Links are affiliate links. If you purchase anything through one of my links I will get a small commission! All the thoughts and opinions in this post are mine and in no way influenced by Amazon.

This book is amazing! Its DnD meets fractured Fairy Tales and I love it.  Second Hand Curses follows the Bastard Champions as they take jobs that no honest adventurer or Knight would take. (as long as it pays well enough)  The Bastard Champions are a group of scoundrels with morals.  They may be willing to take dirty jobs like breaking fairy curses, (even when the fairy made a fair deal) but they will never turn down a job to help rescue innocent children.  And, above all else, they are loyal to each other.


I love all the fairy tale references strewn throughout the book.  I caught a lot of them, but I am sure there are just as many that I missed.  At the beginning of the book, each chapter is a different job the Bastard Champions take.  The first job is saving Cinderella.  Cinderella made a deal with a fairy – she trades her freedom in exchange for the Prince’s heart.  But, when the prince really does fall in love with her, Cinderella panics and wants out of the deal.  She hires the Bastard Champions to help her.  Throughout the book there were many other fairy tales brought into play; The Princess and the Frog, Pinocchio, The Cobbler and the Tinker Elves, The Pied Piper – just to name a few.  As the book progresses the jobs start to run together as the Bastard Champions start on their own larger quest instead of just taking paid jobs.

As the main quest continues you learn more about each individual member of the group.  Frank is Frankenstein’s monster who has been given a second chance at life.  Jack is from pretty much every fairly tale where the main boy is named “Jack.” Including Jack and the Beanstalk, and Jack be Nimble, and something about a cricket, tho I didn’t understand that reference?  I’m also not sure what Marie is based on?  She might be a creation of the author or she might come from a different story, I don’t know.  Whatever she was, the trio was amazing together and they had such great dynamic that it was fun to read!

Since the book is set in a world of fairy tales there is an omnipotent force called “The Narrative” This is where the DnD aspect comes into play.  The Narrative actively helps or hurts plans as it sees fit to do what is right.  Frank, who comes from our world, often compares God to The Narrative and it interests him that The Narrative plays an active roll, where as God rarely ever interfered with anything.  I am not doing a great job of explaining it but I loved the idea of The Narrative and it was a fun addition to the book.

The audiobook itself was super easy to follow along with.  Its possible that this book was written to be listened to?  Its one of the best audiobooks I have heard!  I liked all three narrators but I liked the male narrators a lot more than the female.  Her voice was fine, I just felt her accent was a bit preppy sounding, which didn’t fit the female character.

Overall I loved this book.  It was funny and quick and adventurous and I really wish it was part of a series and not just a stand alone! I want more!!! (Tho I have great respect for stand-alones because I hate cliffhangers haha)

In a way, the Bastard Champions are the A-Team of the fairy tale world:

If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find them, maybe you can hire the Bastard Champions.


If you have read the book you might find this wiki by TVTropes super interesting.  Its got a ton of reference and cool information.  (But beware it is chock full of spoilers, so don’t visit it unless you have read the book!)

Have you read Second Hand Curses? Did you love it too?!?!






23 thoughts on “Second Hand Curses

  1. I loved this book too! I’ve seen similar concepts play out before (with mash-up fairy tale retellings), but I felt that this was one of the best. I also would love to see more stories set in this world (with these same characters or not doesn’t really matter to me) but the author’s website lists this as a stand-alone… at least for now. Nothing else is planned in this world, but we can still hope!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I didn’t explain it very well haha. It is kind of like a god that actually interferes with lives. Since this is a fairy tale world the narrative helps out the good guys so that every story can have a happily ever after sort of thing. Its really cool! I hope you like it 😀


      1. My research shows that the Talking Cricket (in Italian: Il Grillo Parlante), was a fictional character created by Italian writer Carlo Collodi for his children’s fairytale The Adventures of Pinocchio. He represented Pinocchio’s cricket.
        Maybe Jack had his consciene personified into a cricket and set it free. Otherwise how could he live with the fact that he killed an innocent giant in order for his people to prosper? Or with leaving his ailing mom behind? He seems to have a conscience, it just doesn’t speak very loudly to him. Like it has been muted, on purpose.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Your timing is awesome 😀 I actually got to meet Drew Hayes this last weekend at Denver Pop Culture Con and I asked him about the cricket. Turns out that it was the same cricket from Pinocchio even though Jack and Pinocchio were different characters in the book, but cricket was a metaphor for Jack’s conscious 🙂


  2. I haven’t read the other comments, maybe someone else told you. Marie is the daughter of Belle and her beloved Beast, this is a French fairytale and notice her parents are the rulers of Villa Neuve Kingdom. While Belle’s true love cured the beast, the curse was passed on secondhand to Marie.
    Reasons I believe this:
    1-Marie is from Villa Neuve (French for new Village) which is also know as the Kingdom of the Roses (the rose plays a big part in Beauty and the Beast… The eventual death of the Rose signaled when the first would become permanent)
    2-The group calls Marie’s curse a beast not a werewolf. for a while there I thought she may have been Little red Riding Hood bitten by the wolf.
    3-Her mom’s name is Queen Belle.
    4-her father even states that curse passed on from him to her inadvertently.
    I’m only to the point where the prince from the neighboring kingdom has offered to wed Marie, but so far I like the book very much.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. How did I miss that?!?!? I remember it saying that the curse was passed on from her father but I missed that her mom’s name was Belle. I was thinking it was still a twisted Red Riding hood tale, but when you lay it out like that, it is obviously a Beauty and the Beast twist! Thanks for sharing that was awesome ❤ And I hope you love the rest of the book!


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