Sunday, September 18, 2011

Review: Knight's Curse by Karen Duvall

Knight's CurseChalice is a descendant of an ancient order of knights and her powers are great but she is a prisoner of a vicious wizard who belongs to an ancient order of his own and will stop at nothing to make her do his bidding. She has a great destiny but she must embrace who she is and free herself from her curse before she can truly make a difference.

This was a fun and easy read filled with magic, incredible creatures, plenty of action and a heady mixture of present day, myth and biblical legend. The book got off to a relatively slow start with a lot of explaining of what and how and who, setting the scene for the relationship between Chalice and her captor, but once that was established and the author got on with the story it was actually able to keep my interest throughout. The book ended with a satisfactory resolution to the major conflict and without a cliff-hanger but the premise for the next book is thoroughly set up in the final chapters so the reader knows in what direction the story will progress in the sequel.
I enjoyed the varied world of ancient magical beings living side by side with the unsuspecting public and keeping their existence secret. Duvall gives us barely a glimpse of majority of them but the ones that get the attention are developed with much thought and the secondary characters like Elmo and Zee often become scene-stealers. It would be interesting to see what she would do with the rest.
Character development seemed natural and realistic - Chalice has trouble accepting that the things that have been ingrained in her for years aren't actually true, she's wary of everybody she meets and her transformation from someone who believes that all magic is evil to a person who accepts that there's a good side to it too refreshingly takes more than a chapter. I also enjoyed that Chalice's sudden, overwhelming attraction to her warrior protector Aydin isn't set up as a natural thing that happens between two people who barely lay eyes on each other and Bam! they're in love. It is rooted in their magical natures and Chalice's struggle between believing that it's real and wondering whether it's something that wouldn't even exist had it not been for their curse and gives an extra angsty dimension to her character.
There were a number of things that made this book not nearly as enjoyable as it could have been and are the cause of me not particularly hurrying to find out when the sequel will be released. My main gripe is with the fact that Chalice has been Gavin's slave for over a decade and yet in all this time she hasn't wondered how to break herself free, what kind of person her mother really was or how Gavin controls the gargoyle that binds her curse (she must've been paying zero attention to that little detail despite the fact that she has to come into contact with it every three days and Shui is far from tame), she apparently somehow has had no interaction whatsoever with anyone outside of a few members in Gavin's organization and has done no research at all to find out more about her situation. Give me a break, not like the girl was drugged or kept in a cell, she actually has her own apartment. She may be watched, but she's not chained to a guard 24-7! All this could've seemed realistic if she had been a prisoner for months, may be a couple of years (extensive training, they didn't trust her and didn't leave her much alone time, etc.) but not for over a decade. Besides, she's smart and feisty, sitting around being scared of the consequences of her snooping around is very much out of character for Chalice.
All in all this was a fast-paced and entertaining book with a good story and a few plot twists to keep it going and if you're looking for an escapist read that won't keep you up till 3 in the morning because you just can't put it down you might want to check it out.

ARC of this book was received from Luna Books via NetGalley. It is now available in stores and on Amazon.

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