Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Early Review - Knight's Curse by Karen Duvall (3/5 stars)

Knight's Curse (Luna Books)Reading level: Adult
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Size:  320 pages
Publisher: Luna
Release Date: August 23, 2011
ISBN:  978-0373803408
Stand Alone or Series: 1st in the Knight's Curse series
Source: ARC from
Rating: 3/5 stars

I got an advanced reading copy of this book through NetGalley(dot)com.  It was an okay book, but I had trouble enjoying the characters and picturing the world.

Chalice is a half-angel who has been trained from the age of nine to knife fight and steal.  Her mother died during childbirth and her father is a Fallen Angel.  Chalice has been bound to a viscous gargoyle and is being used by her guardian, an evil sorceror, to carry out their dirty work.  Things change when she meets Aydin, who like her has special abilities, and (like her) is bound to a gargoyle.  Chalice is now twenty five and wants her freedom; she will find out that freedom has a cost and along the way she will have some tough choices to make.

There were some things I really liked about this book.  The whole theme of angels and gargoyles is unique and interesting.  The world built here is complex, yet incomplete.

I had some problems with Chalice as a character.  I didn't understand the need for the flashback prologue, I think the story would have been better without it.  Chalice always came across as kind of bland to me, she was vindictive but didn't have a lot of dimension to her character outside of that.  At many points in time Chalice comes across as much younger than twenty five; she seems like a teenager or even younger.  I am not sure if this was intentional, but it was frustrating.  She would complain about wanted freedom like a true adult but her actions and complaining would be very childish.

Her love interest in the book, Aydin, was also bland to me.  He was kind of funny and cute, but was never very engaging as a character.  Aydin and Chalice as a couple were pretty lackluster.  The heat between them seemed one-sided (Chalice obviously was into him) and never really got anywhere; I never found myself rooting for them as a couple or really enraptured by any of the scenes they featured in.

Chalice's Fallen angel father, despite his brief appearance, was probably the most interesting character in the book.  Followed by a side character who can talk with angels, hopefully he features more in the next book too.

While I found the idea of a world filled with angels, gargoyles, and magic alluring I had trouble wrapping my head around the world in this book.  The settings, place in time, and surroundings were hard to picture.  Even when the story was in Colorado I had trouble remembering we were in Colorado.  I also had trouble making sense of the magic system; it was a blend of super hero like angel abilities, wards, spells, and curses.  I could never quite figure out the rationale behind any of them, the rules behind the different types of magic, or really which type of magic was what.  It was something that should have been explained better, especially since Chalice is immune to some types of magic but not all.

The plot was mysterious and well done.  I did like the inclusion of many different races (Eeves, gargoyles, angels, etc).  I enjoyed reading about Chalice's fighting abilities.  I also enjoyed Aydin's ghosting abilities.  I like the quirky idea of a Saint who is living parcled out in pieces.

Basically I enjoyed a lot of the ideas in this story, just not how the ideas were executed.  The story ends well, some things are wrapped up but you can tell Chalice's adventures are just beginning.  Definitely the first book in a new series.

Overall an okay read.  Some of the concepts in here are very neat: love the gargoyles and bindings, the half angel children, and other magical stuff like that.  I wasn't big on our two main characters Chalice and Aydin; they weren't likable or engaging and the chemistry in their relationship felt forced.  The world is a bit confusing as the different types of magic are never explained very well; the descriptions were a bit lacking...I kept forgetting where the story was taking place.  I personally won't be reading any more of this series, although I will keep an eye on it to see if subsequent books are better.  If you are big into angel mythology you might enjoy this, although I would recommend the Remy Chandler series in place of this one.

This book goes towards the following reading challenges:

Knight's Curse (Luna Books)


  1. Yeah, I've been trying to read this one since last month, but I keep losing interest and putting it down every few pages; I really don't feel like have to force myself to finish it. So, I think this one will have to be a DNF for me.

    My biggest issue with the book is exactly what you pointed out: the bland, immature protagonist.

    Thanks for the review!

  2. Hi Marg,

    Glad you agree and thanks for the comment. I really wanted to love this world, but just had trouble getting into Chalice as a character. She acted like a pre-teen the whole book!

    - Karissa