Dora Machado, the award-winning author of the epic fantasy Stonewiser series, grew up in the Dominican Republic, where she developed a fascination for writing and a taste for Merengue. After a lifetime of straddling such compelling but different worlds, fantasy is a natural fit to her stories. She lives in Florida with her husband and three very opinionated cats.
The Curse Giverby Dora Machado
Brennus, Lord of Laonia is the last of his line. He is caught in the grip of a mysterious curse that has murdered his kin, doomed
Lusielle's bleak but orderly life as a remedy mixer is shattered when she is sentenced to die for a crime she didn't commit. She's on the pyre, about to be burned, when a stranger breaks through the crowd and rescues her from the flames.
Brennus, Lord of Laonia is the last of his line. He is caught in the grip of a mysterious curse that has murdered his kin, doomed his people and embittered his life. To defeat the curse, he must hunt a birthmark and kill the woman who bears it in the foulest of ways. Lusielle bears such a mark.
Stalked by intrigue and confounded by the forbidden passion flaring between them, predator and prey must come together to defeat not only the vile curse, but also the curse giver who has already conjured their demise.
- Paladin Timeless Books
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- Product dimensions:
- 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.94(d)
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I don't read a lot of epic fantasy, and I don't know why. Part of it, I think, is the fear of being let down with the world building. The author is creating an entire universe inside their head and they have the challenge of putting it down on paper for us the readers to understand and see and smell and touch. Really, that is an incredibly huge challenge. That all being said, it is books like The Curse Giver that make me glad that there are authors out there who are up for the challenge. Dora Machado has written a book that met and exceeded all expectations. The world of The Curse Giver is alluring. The descriptions the author gives are amazingly realistic and paint a clear and vivid picture for the reader. The background of the story was well thought out and depicted successfully through the pages of the book. As for the characters, Lucielle is a great female lead. Although she is coming from a tough place in life, she proves herself to be strong and self-sufficient. She has a caring heart and refuses to be pushed around. Bren can only be described as a tortured soul. He is, after all, cursed – and after watching that curse take his family, he will do whatever he has to in order to break it. All the characters are likeable (though they do have their moments!) and dimensional. Hato and Severo also brought a lot to the story, and I thought it was a great move on the author's part to include their POV as well, though I have to say the interactions between Lucielle and Bren are the best! Besides all the above, one of my favorite things about The Curse Giver is that from page to page I never knew what to expect. I was constantly kept guessing right to the conclusion. While this is my first book of this author's, I see she has another series already out that I am going to have to check into. Thank you to the author for providing me with a copy of The Curse Giver in exchange for an honest review.
I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed this book . . . and how much sleep deprivation I endured as a result. I warn you now, this may be my lengthiest review yet! The first thing you need to know about The Curse Giver is that Machado will keep you guessing. She is a genius at providing tantalizing hints. I always try to figure things out when I’m reading a novel. If I discern the ending before the author reveals it, then I feel pretty darn smug – although nipping at the heels of that comes a slight disappointment that the author hadn’t been more cryptic. I never have that issue with Machado’s novels. Similar to her Stonewiser series, she continually surprised and delighted me as she revealed more and more about the characters and the world of this story. (Btw, if you have not read her Stonewiser series, then you must, I repeat MUST, read them!) Machado also continues her streak in being a murderous tease when it comes to crafting the romance between her two leading characters – Bren & Lucielle. She excels at writing relationships! Again, if you’ve read the Stonewiser series, then prepare for more of that hot, juicy, enthralling romance in The Curse Giver. Another talent I’ve noticed is Machado’s formidable skill in writing competent, self-sufficient, relatable female characters. Lucielle’s character evolves from a docile, subservient girl into a strong, willful, and extraordinary woman. She sheds the emotional shackles of her terrible past and, refusing to be beholden to anyone ever again, becomes the master of her own destiny. It doesn’t take long before her wit and stubbornness aid in diffusing the tumultuous wall around the Lord of Laonia. What am I getting at? Well, to put it bluntly, Lucielle constantly busts Bren’s balls leaving him gape-mouthed like a suffocating fish out of water! And. It. Is. Hysterical! Bren. Oh dear Bren. What to say about him? What is it in me that loves an angst-ridden male? Well, aside from being cursed and thereby tortured and haunted by the heinous acts he has committed in his efforts to break the curse, and his volatile mood swings, he has brief, shining moments when he shows his hopeless romantic, could-she-ever-truly-love-me, side. He’s just my kind of complicated, messed-up, dude-in-distress yumminess! Other characters I really loved were (just to name a few): Severo (a brash and quirky member of Bren’s Twenty that I liked instantly), Hato (who took awhile to grow on me, but redeemed himself later on), Khalia (who completely surprised me), and Elfu & Carfu (the little monkey men I found curious but obstinantely loyal and therefore likeable). A myriad of additional characters go hand in hand with an abundance of intrigue. I couldn’t figure out who supported who and who was going to double cross who next. And of course, true to form, the world Machado has created is beautiful and dangerous. The Dismal Bog for example is home to a gruesome tree-like creatures whose tentacles snatch unsuspecting prey and trap them beneath the surface where it drains the victim’s life. The Dismal Bog also gives passage to Golden Monarchs – beautiful butterflies who fly in a place of vile darkness and, when startled, escape in a puff of golden dust. Whereas, the city of Teos, where the Chosen and lords of the land meet to pay tribute, boasts stunning architecture, gorgeous shrines, and more. Now, time to talk about Machado’s magic system. Obviously, as one could deduce from the title of the novel, there is the magic of the curse that was set upon the Lord of Laonia. There are also gods and goddesses, including those who fell from grace. The Chosen have their own nifty power over the airs. However, the one that was most striking was the power Lucielle wielded. Machado takes a simple thing like mixing herbs and remedies and turns it into a system so complex that it has to be magic to work! For me, this – Lucielle’s gift of creating remedies – above all else was the crème de la crème of The Curse Giver. I hope Machado isn’t finished with the characters of The Curse Giver . . . for while Bren & Lucielle’s tale could extend into a sequel, the final pages allude to designs on another legend – a being who becomes cursed at the end – and that is a tale of which we perceive only at its infancy. ***I received a free copy of The Curse Giver from Dora Machado in exchange for an honest review.***
The Curse Giver is a magnificent story that carries the reader into a world of curses, myths, gods and goddesses, and magic. I am not normally a fan of Fantasy. Usually this is because there are so many point of views, so many characters that you have to keep track of, it just is confusing. Well take if from a person that runs screaming from anything that is characterized as Epic Fantasy, this book rocks! It is told in four different points of view, but you never get confused. You are glued to the pages waiting to see what happens to people who have grown to love and care about. I felt like I was at a movie theater watching the events unfold. The realism and attention to detail is beyond anything I have every read. There is a whole new religion full of god and goddesses that is explained, and again I usually run screaming…but it was not to much or boring. I actually enjoyed a lot of aspects of their religion. The four main characters in this story are Lusielle, Bren, Hato, and Severo. Lusielle is married to a man that abuses her and bears the goddess mark. Bren would do anything to protect those he loves, even kill a woman who bears the goddess mark (Yeah he tries to kill her!). Hato is a crouchity old man that really enjoys seeing everyone else squirm, and Severo is just hilarious. Bren and Lusielle join together to try to break the curse that is on his people and along the way they start falling for one another. This book is not short, and despite what you want to do, you cannot read it in one night. I mean you could try, but 500 pages is a lot. Even with the length you just do not want to put this book down! I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
This book was a doozy, coming in at about 500 pages!!! I thought I wasn’t going to like some of it, but I loved every page. I’m finding it hard to express my thoughts, though. There is just so much to say. I’ve read other books with curses incorporated into the story, but never with anything quite like this book. I felt the doom in the air and I swear it was like watching a movie unfold. The emotions were very real and frightening as the characters stood to face the curse. The book is told in 4 different POVs, so that we know what is going on away from the main characters. Those characters are Hato, Severo, Bren and Lusielle. I usually shy away from books with that many POV because things can become confusing. In The Curse Giver, however, I didn’t find myself confused- I just wanted MORE. The adventure (if that’s what you want to call it) was more like them running for their lives and it was exhilarating and I never knew what to expect- that my favorite part. I know I said there is so much to say, but I don’t want to spoil anything. Just know that the world building is brilliant and the characters were well developed. Aside from that, get ready for the ride of a life time. Overall: An Epic Fantasy Adventure that will keep you up throughout the night. (no, really. O.O) Bren is a tortured man after witnessing his father’s -and then his brother’s painful deaths. He knows the curse is going to take him next, but he will do anything to save Laonia. Even kill a woman that bears the goddesses mark. He knows his duty and will fulfill whatever he needs to do. But underneath all that, there is a man crying out for help who actually HAS a heart. And there just might be one person that can help him. Too bad he has to kill her. Lusielle was orphaned at the age of 16 and then married a horrible man. He beat her and did other unimaginable things to her. Even after all that, she keeps her head up and back straight. She is full of strength and proves it time and time again. She cares deeply for anyone injured and helps to ease their suffering- with her gift as a remedy healer. Hato is a grumpy old man- but loyal to a fault. He has also like Bren in the fact he watched his friend’s downfall. He does everything he can to help Bren who is Laonia’s only hope and the last of his line. Severo: I had my doubts about him, but I came to like he just like the other characters. He and Lusielle had some funny moments together as well as some terrifying ones. He is defiantly a guy that you want on your side. 5 STARS Quotes: “We’re not going down!” Bren shouted. “Do you hear? Heave! Come on, my pretty girls. What are you? Afraid of breaking your nails? Heave!” ~Bren “When she dresses like that—” Elfu growled. “Don’t stare at my mistress’ bosom!” “I’m not!” Severo flushed. “I’ll beat you up—” ~Severo and Elfu talking about Lusielle Bren waited, pondering the strange turn his life had taken. Either he was a desperate man or he was becoming increasingly creepy. Both, he decided, smirking in the dark. ~Bren
Intrigue, romance and adventure await you in Dora Machado’s latest fast-paced, plot-twisting fantasy, The Curse Giver, just released by Twilight Times Books. The story begins with our innocent healer heroine, Lusielle, as she is about to be burned on the pyre after she’s sentenced to death for a crime she didn’t commit. But just as the flames are about to engulf her, a mysterious stranger on a horse storms through the crowd and rescues her. Brennus, Lord of Laonia, is tormented by the curse that has destroyed his people. To undo it, he must kill Lusielle in the most vicious of ways, for she is the one who bears the mysterious birthmark. However, destiny plays a trick on them. Now together, amidst a world teetering on the brink of war, predator and prey grow too close for their own good. Passion flares as in a twist of fate, together, they try to defeat the terrifying curse and destroy the Curse Giver… Lovers of dark romantic fantasy will relish The Curse Giver. This was a wonderfully entertaining, absorbing read. The stakes are high, the conflict compelling, and the sympathetic hero and heroine will make you fall in love with them. But the best thing about the novel is the writing itself. Lyric at times, Machado’s prose flows beautifully throughout the pages, bringing to life her fictional world in full, vivid detail. The Curse Giver is a memorable adventure for fans of fantasy and one I can certainly recommend.