Knight’s Curse (Knight’s Curse #1) by Karen Duvall
Publisher: LUNA/August 2011
Knight’s Curse Series
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.
Knight’s Curse begins when Chalice is just a young girl, living with Maronite monks in a Lebanese villages. Orphaned, this is the only family Chalice has ever really known, and not only have they raised her, but they’ve also taught her some rather unusual skills. When a man thought to be her father comes to claim her, Chalice knows something is wrong, but is forced to go along with this menacing stranger. She is taken to live with the Vyantara, a group of magic users who use Chalice, and others, to steal cursed and magical objects for their own nefarious means. Chalice has become a skilled thief, but she’s got a secret that tethers her to her kidnapper, Heinrich, and the Vyantara, and she’s desperate to be free.
Knight’s Curse was not what I expected! I expected pretty run of the mill urban fantasy, but the characters and world that Ms. Duvall has created really are rather unique and refreshing. The curse in the title refers to Chalice’s binding to a gargoyle (foisted upon her by Heinrich, to keep her under control). They must maintain close contact or Chalice will actually turn into a gargoyle herself. It’s not a pleasant situation, especially since her particular gargoyle was once a human, who also happened to be a psychopath. Aydin, the handsome sorcerer that is also a member of the Vyantara (but on her side), is also bound to a gargoyle, but theirs is a very different relationship. Knight’s Curse is told from Chalice’s point of view and is very much a tale not only of magic, but of self-discovery. She discovers that she is descended from an ancient order of female Knights (the Hatchet Knights), and may be destined for greater things. First she has to escape her curse and her evil captor. This was such a fun book, and Chalice and Aydin’s love story added a certain sweetness. Loved the magic and otherworldly creatures in this one and can’t wait to explore Chalice and Aydin’s romance and adventures further in the next book, Darkest Knight!