(Jen) The Artist Librarian's Reviews > Curse Bound

Curse Bound by J.L. Mbewe
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really liked it
bookshelves: arcs-or-reviews, christian-fic-fantasy-and-sci-fi, e-books, to-buy-wishlist
Recommended for: Fans of J.L. Mbewe's previous works

It's bittersweet to come to the end of this trilogy that I started reading nearly 5 years ago with Secrets Kept. Curse Bound covers events immediately after Darkened Hope and follows several different groups of characters from the original quest: Ayianna and Prince Vian traded their lives for the safety of their friends and are now captive in the heart of enemy territory. Kael, Jathil, and Tariq frantically search for the final ingredient to craft a life-saving tonic. Finally the remnants of the Guardian Circle prepare for war in the city of Praeten and watch over the sleeping cursed bound citizens in Kvazkhun.

Though it's been over a year since I last read this series, I was able to quickly reacquaint myself through the character list at the beginning of the book which spotlights each main character and their role in the series thus far. I think it would be possible for someone to jump straight to Curse Bound, but reading the trilogy through would be more preferred to give background and foster connection to the characters. The story continues where it left off from the previous book at full speed.

Appropriately, considering the title, much of the conflict of the novel comes through curses: Some are physically affecting curses, like the harpy curse which threatens to consume Ayianna or the Sorceress' curse on the plains' people that compel them to serve her. Others are subtle, like Kael's struggles to overcome his past failures or Vian's status as the marked firstborn of King Valdemar that makes him a target of Semine, who is convinced that his sacrifice will allow her evil mistress Raezana to rise again.

While I did enjoy the conclusion of this trilogy, I did feel a slight letdown on the ending in regards to the fate of one antagonist, because the story feels complete minus that one character. However, I have a feeling that perhaps it was intentionally left open-ended by the author so she can return to this story world and write more about Nälu in the future ... Other than that, I think overall, with diverse characters, detailed world building, and a subtle spiritual thread, The Hidden Dagger Trilogy is a solid indie debut for author J. L. Mbewe and is unique entry in the growing Christian Fantasy market.

[Disclosure: I received a complimentary ARC of this novel for review purposes.]
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
July 14, 2019 – Shelved
July 14, 2019 – Shelved as: arcs-or-reviews
July 14, 2019 – Shelved as: christian-fic-fantasy-and-sci-fi
July 14, 2019 – Shelved as: e-books
July 14, 2019 – Shelved as: to-buy-wishlist
July 14, 2019 – Finished Reading

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