The Curse of Sara Douroux

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 22 Apr 2019

Member Reviews

C.A. Wittman has lived in Hawaii since 1993, explaining her decision to set The Curse of Sara Douroux in Hawaii. This choice of setting was multi-cultural, interesting, well-described, and original, as most Gothic novels I have read are set in either suburban American towns or Victorian England. However, a book full of multicultural characters was at times confusing because some characters regularly switched between grammatically-correct English, broken English, and regional language, which was hard to read and understand. 

The arrival of Sarah’s mysterious, vampire-like “cousins” is Wittman’s attempt to create a new kind of Gothic monster. This is an admirable effort, but it could have been improved by providing much clearer information about these creatures much earlier in the book. For most of the time, I was left confused at who Sara’s “cousins” really were, who Sara really was, and the significance of any of this. When I finally began to understand the legend and the horror of Sara’s “cousins” – or rather, when I thought I understood – I was at least ¾ of the way through the book, if not more. Consequently, I thought  The Curse of Sara Douroux was a rather long read with little progression, which made it difficult to persevere and keep reading. 

This was exacerbated by the many, many, many characters in this book which, in my opinion, “clogged” up the development of the plot. I struggled to remember their names, who they were, and what (if anything) they contributed to the story, and I think quite a few characters could have been removed entirely and the story would have remain unchanged. 

The best part of The Curse of Sara Douroux is probably the ending, as it offers a more detailed, historical explanation behind Sara’s life and her supernatural “cousins”. However, I just wish we’d learnt these things sooner, as this would have provided clarity and suspense for the reader throughout the rest of the book. 

Unfortunately, I was left disappointed by this book.
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Thank you NetGalley and the publishers for this advanced copy. This was an interesting read, touches of mythology and paranormal. Basically a new take on a vampire tale. Good suspense and writing. I will be recommending this book to those teens who enjoy a dark tale.
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I wanted to like this book and did enjoy it up to a point but then things started dragging and I began to loose interest as so many characters were introduced making it hard to keep track of who was who and how they were related to one another. 

The story did have a creepy feel to it which was entertaining for a while, unfortunately this was not enough to maintain my enjoyment much past the middle of the book. The dialogue between characters also became an annoyance at times. 

Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for an advance copy of this title in exchange for an unbiased review.
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I felt oddly claustrophobic reading this, or maybe just trapped in a larger sense of the word. Good gothic young adult tales like this are really hard to find.
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Disclaimer: I received this book from Netgally for review purposes.


Ya know I applaud an original concept because this, to me, was completely original. I don't know if all of it 'worked' but I'd rather someone go all out and try then have one book that's like a billion others ! :)


It was a little hard for me to get into it. I don't know if it was the pacing or the way the dialogue was written, but it was just a little difficult for me. Luckily the mystery of the cousins element was enough for me to push on.


I wasn't crazy about it towards the end, but again, it was original and new and I could see good things coming from this author.
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Another one that tried to fit too much into one book! Having said that, I did love the story in theory just not the delivery in whole. 
Vivid, imaginative and unusual!
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An engrossing and fascinating paranormal YA novel with significant twists, THE CURSE OF SARA DOUROUX kept me riveted throughout. By turns multicurally diverse, historically referent, and wide-ranging in mythology, this novel I would rate in both supernatural and paranormal categories, and at the upper end of the YA range due to significant levels of violence, adolescent pregnancies, and substance addiction.
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I tried so much to like this book but it's all over the place and has too many perspectives. And the way some of the characters talked it was sometimes hard to follow what exactly they were trying to say.
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I loved the premise of this book and found the beginning genuinely creepy. I wanted to know what the truth was with Sara and her cousins. But I found it lost its way - it was confused and confusing and needed a good edit.
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Thanks Netgalley and the publisher/author  for this ARC for my honest review. 


I don’t have too much to say about this book.   At times it was a bit chaotic.   Too many characters that didn’t really seem to serve a purpose.      There were times that some dialogue or things said didn’t really seem to tie in.      It’s a unique and good storyline, and it really had potential.   Just missing something.....
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The starting to mid of the book was engaging. In fact the start drew me in quickly. You immediately learn that Sara was wrought with a terrible sickness, and that illness was out of the ordinary. 

The suspense was entertaining, and it build up with every turn of the chapter. I was stuck to the book, eyes running through page by page. Who are the four children? Who is Sara? Though the frequent use of French and Hawaiian left me frustrated, I was enamoured by the mysterious identity of these 5 characters. 

As I read on, the characters became even more confusing. One moment Sara was first in line of the high servants, and the next moment she is a Master. Who is she really? Is Samuel the only fatalist among the four cousins? If so and Carmilla and Michael were supposed to stop fatalists, why were they hidden together? Why were they even hidden in the first place? The background as to why the 5 of them are in this predicament was not explained well. 

Was there a need to bring in so many side characters? Kawika, ikaida, etc. They play negligible roles in the book and only served to clutter the storyline. 

The ending was rushed. A brief background of the vampires/demons were inserted hastily towards the end. I felt that the story could be more organised.

Overall, it had good potential and entertainment quality could have almost been on par with Stoker’s Dracul. But the organization of the book and the culmination was sub par and could have been done better.
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In a remote island community, Sara lives with her deeply religious elderly parents. Discouraged from building friendships in school, she leads a quiet, secluded life, but when the family is forced to take in four mysterious young cousins, Sara’s life soon turns tumultuous.
Something wicked, something dark has Sara’s family in its grip.An insidious terror will soon sweep through the small valley where Sara lives, threatening the lives of her neighbors. In a race to discover the truth of who her cousins really are, Sara forms a tenuous friendship with an unlikely pair: Jenny, a shy newcomer to the island, and Sunami, a tomboyish local girl. As the girls discover a chilling truth, they realize to their horror that time is running out and some secrets should never be disturbed.

This book has a heavy, Gothic feel, which I definitely enjoyed, especially against the backdrop of Hawaii.  
I found it very suspenseful and intriguing. It's a very unique story.
The characters were developed well, along with the setting.
I love that the author tried to create a new version of a traditional “monster”.
I found the story very creative and the cousins were very creepy.
I recommend giving this one a go. 

I received an ARC of this book in return for my honest review.
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The Curse of Sara Douroux was a good book. I really enjoyed it. The story was suspenseful, and dark. It was an interesting setting as well.
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Sara’s life has always been odd, with her parents secretive ways and not letting her go anywhere besides school and church, but when they have to take in four cousins that Sara has never met, Sara feels that things are about to get really bad. 

  I didn’t finish this book. I was expecting this to be spooky from the beginning, but it just wasn’t. I thought the story was slow and the characters fell flat, because there wasn’t enough character building. I’m not trying to criticize the authors writing style, because I know that some people loved this book, but it just wasn’t for me. Most of the dialogue was extremely stiff, especially between the teachers. The Hawaiian slang was hard for me to understand, and Sunami wasn’t a fun character for me to read about. It was neat, however, to see Sunami and Jenny become friends, after Sunami’s original prejudice towards her. It shows that even though you don’t like somebody at first, you can eventually become friends with them once you’re forced together enough times. 

  I only read about 30% of this book, and just couldn’t make myself go any further.
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This was a surprising book, I was not expecting it to be so interesting. Others have mentioned that they did not like the use of Hawaiian slang but I actually felt that it added to the character development and it was not hard to understand. I wish we could find out more about the history of some of the other characters but I suppose that would have made the book quite a bit longer.
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A creepy thriller that has you digging beneath the surface to uncover the truth about not only the characters but the world and life and death itself.
A  Twisted Read
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This book scared me so much I've had to sit it aside and watch cartoons to be able to sleep. If you like horror you'll love this book. I don't give spoilers if I'm able to avoid it...and so I'll just say beware of things that go bump in your mind...because the night is full of them. Do not read alone or in the dark.

Thank you NetGalley for the chance to review this book.
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I don’t know exactly what I was expecting this book to be, but it was far different than I had anticipated.  I found it to be long and, at times, confusing.  I don’t want to spoil the story for anyone, but the tale of what the “cousins” are within the creature world is not explained to my satisfaction.  The author leaves a great deal up to interpretation, and without background knowledge, this leaves the reader confused and frustrated.  

Overall, 3 stars because the premise is good, but I didn’t enjoy this book as much as I wanted to.
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This was a really good read!!! The author did a great job on the story and the characters and the detail for both. I found it to be suspenseful, intense, scary, shocking and emotional and had a hard time putting the book down and want to read more about Sara. I recommend this book to anyone that loves a good intense, suspenseful, scary page turner!!!
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I found this book pretty disappointing.  It had a heavy, gothic feel, which I definitely enjoyed, especially against the backdrop of Hawaii.  That being said, this not only moved painfully slowly, but the secrets, when they came, where just lackluster and flat.  It doesn't help that you could figure out the "cousins" pretty easily, so nothing's really a surprise.  The first 60% of this book is a snoozefest, though, and I had a hard time picking it up to keep reading.

I also felt like the characters were really one dimensional, except Sunami. I liked her--I liked that she was a character who was capable of changing after our first impression of her.  The rest just seemed kind of flat and predictable.

I forged through until the end, but I don't know why.  I suppose I kept waiting for it to become more evocative and interesting.  It just never did.
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