Thursday, October 12, 2017

Book Review: 'Curse Breaker' by Melinda Kucsera

New York author Melinda Kucsera has a passion for fantasy, mythology, dragons, sorcery and all the aspects of a rich imagination. She created an escape world, a fantasy realm called Shayari, which in her fertile imagination she created its world and wrote about its people, culture, topography, religion, history and creation. Of tender interest this book came about both as a result of her obsession with her science fiction notes and blog and her late sister’s insistence that she pursue writing her notes and blogs into a book form. And so we have Melinda’s debut novel –CURSE: ENCHANTED – the first venture into the Curse Breaker Saga.

Melinda already has a mature grasp of the mechanics of how to make a long saga work well with readers. She immediately upon opening her book introduces us to her main character in a delightful atmosphere manner – ‘Dodging people, statuary, and some grasping foliage, Sarn hurtled through the crowded tunnel. He picked up the pace and threaded through a knot of laughing boys. He had to cross half the mountain to reach tonight’s meet point before those bells tolled. But the populace of the mountain fortress clogged the tunnels, and they lollygagged. No bell rang but soon they'd toll the twentieth hour, and each peal would count out his doom. Sarn ground his teeth in frustration when the crowd halted for the fifth time. With his emerald eyes closed to conceal their glow, he could only guess at why the people in front of him had stopped this time. Conversational cues helped fill in the visual blanks. But the tailors remained stalled in front of him arguing about embroidery. He willed them to move along or take their conversation to one of the side alcoves. When he attempted to elbow his way past the group, they closed ranks against him. Damn, he’d have to wait until the crowd moved, not good. Feeling eyes on him, Sarn bowed his head and pretended to be praying. People tended to give the religious and the crazies a wide berth. Don’t look at me. Look elsewhere. Notice the statuary, but ignore the indentured man in your midst. Debts never died. They passed from father to son forever. When a man’s debt exceeded his ability to pay, he became indentured. Sarn pulled his cloak tight about him to conceal the mark of the Indentured on his clothes.’

The style of prose is set and Melinda manages to hold our attention tightly as she leads us into her world. The summary is brief but provides an outline of where the saga will take us: ‘Secrets threaten, but magic kills. Plagued by sanity-twisting magic, Sarn must unravel a deadly mystery. But he’s prevented at every turn because his life is not his own. Haunted by one of the victims, Sarn must find out what happened before the ghost drives him mad. As plans collide beneath ensorcelled boughs, one thing is certain. If Sarn can’t get his magic under control, he’ll never discover why enchanted trees committed murder. How far is he willing to go to find the answer? The search might cost more than his sanity. Exposing the truth might claim his life and destroy the secrecy protecting his son from a killer. Something lurks in the enchanted forest and its sights are set on Sarn and the magic in his blood.’

Mystery, fantasy, magic, sorcery, and thrills fill this excellent first installment in Melinda’s saga. An impressive debut. Grady Harp, December 16
This book is free on Kindle Unlimited.

Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.

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