Knight’s Curse

At age 13, Chalice was ripped from the only home she had ever known by an evil sorcerer and bonded to a gargoyle. The monks who raised her in the Lebanese countryside were murdered before her eyes so that no witnesses would be left behind. Except Chalice.

What makes Chalice such a prize? She was born with incredible skills, extremely acute hearing, sight, and smell, that require her to wear special contact lenses and filters just to interact with the world. Those extraordinary senses allow her to see into the unseen, to sense not just technical alarm systems, but magical ones. The sorcerer, and those he represents, train her to be a thief. Chalice learns to steal magical, especially cursed, artifacts.

And she can never run. That bonding to the gargoyle…every three days, she must return to the gargoyle, and the bond must be renewed…or she will become a gargoyle herself. Chalice has tested the bond, and the potential transformation. She’s come much too close to want to test that boundary again.

But Chalice is more than just a thief with some boosted abilities. In Knight’s Curse, by Karen Duvall, Chalice discovers that she is the modern-day descendant of an order of female knights that have existed since the Middle Ages. And that she has a destiny–to gather all of her sister knights together to fight the order of sorcerers that has both cursed her and trained her. But first, she has to free herself.

I enjoyed reading this book. I kept wanting to see what happened next. On the other hand, there were a lot of things about Chalice’s story that bothered me. For someone who has been emotionally abused and isolated as much as Chalice has, she trusts much too easily. For one thing, she falls in love with the first man she meets, in spite of the fact that she discovers he is 1) a double agent for the bad guys, 2) 900 years old, and 3) in love with her great-great-great-grandmother.

There are a lot of very neat ideas in this book, including, but not limited to; an order of female knights from the Crusades existing into the 21st century, an order of evil sorcerers, previously mentioned, guardian angels, fallen angels, gargoyles, fae folk, hellhounds, angel speakers, and saints who are still alive in spite of having been drawn and quartered nearly 1,000 years previously.

This story read like the set-up for a series. Possibly in the vein of see how the kick-butt heroine becomes the kick-butt heroine. Because she isn’t there yet. And there are too many ideas in the soup right now. None of them are cooking terribly badly, but the recipe would probably be better with a few less ingredients and more attention paid to the parts that remain.

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