SPFBO 2018 entry The Curse Recalled by J. E. Merritt
Firstly, my SPFBO reviews are not intended to be discouraging feedback for the author. This is only one reviewer’s opinion and should be taken in the context of the contest which is that reviewers on Booknest were assigned books by our EIC and not chosen based on any particular tastes of the reviewer in question. I think to have written a book is a monumental achievement and I hope that all SPFBO authors continue to work on their craft and share their stories.
The Curse Recalled is a multi POV epic fantasy that wrapped its tendrils around my heart and mind as I fell into the intrigue and pain that surrounded Nicolo and his band of mercenaries.
I don’t wish to spoil any of the events of this enthralling tale but suffice to say that everything feels intentional, thoroughly thought out and earned. Our anchor POV is Nicolo both his current jaded mercenary leader self and his younger POV, the contrast and depth this provides not just for the character but for the whole story was perhaps my favorite aspect of this novel.
J. E. Merritt knows how to end a chapter and how to write action. Some of the scenes in this book involving its fantastic creatures and moments of violence feel like they were ripped from an awe inspiring anime or action film. But none of that would really matter if I didn’t care about the characters and I very much did.
Again I hesitate to say much for fear of spoiling our readers, but I found that these characters, their relationships, pasts, and pain were slowly given to me strand by strand until I found myself completely tangled in their regrets, failures, vices, valor, and love.
Finally, the worldbuilding is very intentional with the sense that there are more mysteries and histories waiting off stage for later stories while presenting the information needed for this story in a way that mattered to me.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed The Curse Recalled for its characters, structure, cinematic action, and world building. I highly recommend it and choose it as my personal semi-finalist for SPFBO 2018 to be considered amongst the other semi-finalists by Booknest writers by our EIC.