Three Strikes, You're Out • Hold My Beer • Just the Girl (I'm Looking For)
Series: Fallen Light | Genre: Dark Fantasy/Grimdark | Intended Age Group: Adult
Pages: 400 | Published: April 26, 2021 Publisher: Self Published
This Child is not the chosen one. She is a demon to be destroyed.
Born of magic, Nerana is labeled a demon and forced into hiding by the Order of Saro. Living with a curse that binds her to their leader, Nerana seeks to free herself from their hold and soon learns that the path to redemption may prove more fatal than the Order itself.
But for Nerana, this is more than a quest for survival... It’s a promise of revenge.
Note from the author: This book contains many TW that are not suitable for those dealing with past trauma or are sensitive to darker themes. It is not overly heavy on any particular triggers, however, if you are sensitive to certain topics that are prevalent in most dark fantasy novels like the Witcher or Game of Thrones, this book may not be for you.
Thank you to Escapist Book Tours for providing me with a copy of this book! I voluntarily leave this review!
The Order of Sardo has deemed Nerana evil due to her innate ability with magic. There are few safe places left for Nerana to hide, for the Order has spread tales of false treachery. And if Nerana dares to use her magic, the Order has placed a curse on her, allowing them to hunt her down. When she learns of an artifact able to break her curse, Nerana eagerly sets out to find it. But finding the artifact alone will not be enough.
Curse of the Fallen jumps readers right into the moment as Nerana and her comrades steal an item called the arun. But their heist isn’t so easily won as they find they must disenchant it first. Readers will be taken on an action-filled journey as Nerana quests to disenchant the arun and break her curse. Along the way H.C. Newell does a wonderful job building up the tensions of the world and how the Order of Sardo has convinced people of Nerana's supposed evil. There certainly is something causing the dark creatures of myth to come alive and torment souls once more. But can it truly be caused by Nerana’s abilities, or is she a clever scapegoat?
The parallel progression of Nerana’s quest and the increasingly horrific encounters she and her friend's experience will hook readers into the story. But there were a few moments where consistency waned. Nerana herself mentions how the Order can track her down when she uses her magic. And there are times when she has no choice but to use her magic. Yet when she is found after these events, Nerana seems confused about how she was able to be located. This doesn’t make the story any less enjoyable, as each encounter is laced with conflict and close calls.
Curse of the Fallen has a unique way of using footnotes. Instead of large moments of exposition, readers are given the option to learn more by reading footnotes. If you aren’t reading for worldbuilding, then skip the footnotes and stick to the action. But if you are a reader who enjoys learning about the details of a world, then the footnotes are there to help. Though I do wish a bit more of Nerana’s backstory had been introduced to readers earlier on, once the story delves into it I found myself connecting the dots from prior scenes.
Readers who enjoy grimdark tales should give this one a try. While it may start with a heist, Curse of the Fallen grows darker with each turn of the page. And when readers reach the emotionally charged ending of this journey, they will find themselves longing for the next book.
About the Author
H.C. Newell is an American author of epic fantasy. She is best known for the Fallen Light fictional universe, in which her fantasy novel Curse of the Fallen, is set.
Newell began her writing journey at a young age. In elementary school, she would often write small plays for her and her cousins to perform. In middle and high school her love of writing transformed into fiction literature, which she would write in spiral-bound notebooks. By 2015, she had written more than 5 romance and young adult novels and several short stories.
In 2014, Newell started her first novel series, Forthwind, which was a young adult trilogy. As she grew as an author, she found her niche in adult fantasy, and created the Fallen Light universe. This six-part novel series took Newell over seven years to create. She published her debut novel "Curse of the Fallen" in April 2021.
Newell's works have been compared by readers to authors such as J. R. R. Tolkien, Andrejz Sapkowski, and Robert Jordan among others. Newell lives in Nashville, TN with her husband