Knight's Curse, book one
ebook, 315 pages
Published August 23rd 2011 by Luna
A skilled knife fighter since the age of nine, Chalice knows what it's like to live life on the edge--precariously balanced between the dark and the light. But the time has come to choose. The evil sorcerer who kidnapped her over a decade ago requires her superhuman senses to steal a precious magical artifact...or she must suffer the consequences. Desperate to break the curse that enslaves her, Chalice agrees. But it is only with the help of Aydin--her noble warrior-protector--that she will risk venturing beyond the veil to discover the origins of her power. Only for him will she dare to fully embrace her awesome talents. For a deadly duel is at hand, and Chalice alone will have to decide between freedom...and the love of her life.
Another book shelved as urban fantasy, and again I'm oblivious as to why...
I wasn't going to read this one but an advertisement for its sequel was featured at the end of Michelle Sagara's Cast in Peril, and it sounded good. So I thought what the hell... and I'm so glad I did.
Raised by monks for the first thirteen years of her life, Chalice is an exceptional female with senses so heightened, werewolves and vampires alike would be jealous. Abducted by a man who claimed to be her father, she was taken from her old world home and brought to a thriving America and trained as a thief of magical relics. Oh yes, magic runs abundant in this paranormal world.
After failing to collect the mummified hand of Saint Geraldine, Chalice is sent to the Fatherhouse with Gavin following shortly behind. It is here she meets Aydin, a nine hundred sixty-seven year old fellow thief and kindred spirit who doesn't look beyond thirty (and barely manages to act even *that*). He, too, is bonded to a living gargoyle. Ah, the gargoyle.
Both Chalice and Aydin have been been tattooed at the base of their skull with a mark that bonds them to a gargoyle. Chalice's is Shui. And he's one homicidal bastard. Every seventy-two hours, Chalice must make contact with Shui, specifically his saliva, to keep her from transforming into a gargoyle as well and losing her humanity forever. Another symptom of the bond? It feeds an attraction between she and Aydin, making for a fine dose of tension. Especially after Gavin introduces him as his spy.
While Chalice's world is filled a vicious bondmate and people just waiting for a chance to betray her, Aydin's is not. His gargoyle, Shojin, actually likes him, and the guy's got friends. Caffeine addicted ones with pets that coo like babies and shapeshift with every facial alteration. Ah, Ling-Ling.
Finally a writer that gets it. She thrusts Chalice and Aydin together and there they stay. Even move in together. From Aydin, Chalice begins to learn just how much she doesn't know. How to lie being only the beginning.
The guy is truly a force not to be trifled with and has a number of powers at his disposal, which made the complete and total neglect of the scene where he gave up his humanity to save Chalice from her curse a serious WTF moment. I wanted that scene! How does one just skip over something like that?
So Aydin was the true star of the show for me. Gavin was a reasonable villain. Quin, eh. Rafael.... I've got a feeling he's going to be trouble. Geraldine could take a flying leap and Chalice, I actually liked. She's a simple girl with ordinary wants and dreams. And that works for this reader.
4 out of 5 stars.
- Throughout this exchange, Aydin hung out in the science-fiction and fantasy section. He wasn’t close enough to hear us talking, but I’m sure he must have caught the gist of our conversation from our facial expressions and body language. I’d giggled in all the right places, touched my hair and gazed up at Quin through my eyelashes. I slid a look in Aydin’s direction to see if he still watched, and he did. Outright. It made him look like a stalker. I scowled at him and he seemed to catch himself, returning his attention to the book in his hand.