31 October 2013

Denise Grover Swank's The Curse Keepers earns three stars for originality

When I read the description of Denise Grover Swank's new book The Curse Keepers, to be published 19 November 2013, I was immediately intrigued as I've always been fascinated with the story of the Lost Colony of Roanoke. However, I want to be absolutely frank, once I began reading the book I had a pretty hard time of it.

Swank's two main characters - Ellie Lancaster and Collin Dailey - are the Curse Keepers, the first in their families in 400 years to meet and trigger an ancient curse. One of the problems was that I found I could not relate (nor really like) either character. I understood that both had heavy loads to carry (Ellie's father's Alzheimer's and Collin's care of his family from a young age), however their introductory actions (Ellie's with her boyfriend and Collin's every time he argues with her), just did not engage me at all. In fact their constant arguing made me start to want to skip pages, which I never do. When there finally is romance, I found it almost anti-climatic, and had lost interest in both of them by that point in the story.

I really wanted to like it more than I did, but found the Native American gods uninteresting, the slaughter of the birds horrific, and all in all, just didn't ever feel the story draw me in. I'm probably in the minority with this opinion, and I hope I am, as I admire Swank's previous books. From the set-up of the concluding chapter, I would guess she has a second Curse Keepers book planned. Perhaps that will fill in some of the blanks and the characters will evolve in a more likable way. For now though, I'm going to give The Curse Keepers three stars for originality and creating a story around one of America's great mysteries.
___________________________________
From the Publlsher


The Curse Keepers by Denise Grover Swank
Amazon Publishing
47North
ISBN 9781477808627
Pub Date Nov 19 2013

The wall between our world and that of vengeful spirits has protected humanity for more than 400 years. It’s about to come crashing down.

Ellie Lancaster has lived her whole life by the site of the mysterious Lost Colony of Roanoke, the Virginia settlement that vanished without a trace around 1590. Only the descendants of the two men who banished the spirits of an enemy tribe from the material realm know what really happened to the colony. Ellie is one of those descendants—a Curse Keeper. Her father took pains to teach her what he knew of the curse and the responsibilities of its guardians. He taught her that if the two Curse Keepers ever meet, the curse will be lifted, the gate will open, and the raging Native American spirits will be unleashed to seek their revenge.

Despite her father’s seriousness, Ellie has always taken the legend for a harmless fairy tale. Until she meets the darkly handsome, but downright infuriating, Collin Dailey and realizes everything she was told is true. For when they meet, it’s like the air is sucked from the room. Collin’s presence is electrifying… and it’s not just attraction Ellie feels, but the inexorable pull toward her destiny. The prophecy is real, and now Ellie and Collin must battle supernatural forces and their loathing—and passion—for each other to set things right.

The Curse Keepers are all that stand between the world and its destruction.