Knight’s Curse (Knight’s Curse # 1) is the first book by author Karen Duvall that I’ve had the pleasure of reading. Duvall’s story is told in the first POV by Chalice a character who is so much more than she truly realizes. She is forced to wear eye, ear, and nose protection because her senses are superhumanly enhanced.
Chalice spent the first 13 years of her life with the Maronite Monks in Lebanon who not only trained her in their ways, but also told her that her mother died during childbirth in order to protect her from the real truth. After Gavin Heinrich shows up claiming to be her father and subsequently kills all the monks who protected Chalice, she is forced into a slave/owner relationship with Gavin.
Flash forward 12 years, and Chalice now wears a tattoo on the back of her neck and is linked to the ever nasty gargoyle assassin named Shui. Shui, who was a piece of work as a human, is even worse as a gargoyle. Chalice can only be away from Shui for 72 hours before needing him to lick her neck to prevent her from becoming a full time gargoyle.
Gavin uses this forced bonding in order to control Chalice into doing pretty much do whatever he asks of her. Gavin and Vynatara (international organization of nefarious magic users) trained Chalice into being one of the best thieves in the world who is able to use her superhuman abilities to get into pretty much any location where an artifact is located.
A surprise revelation takes place when Chalice is attempting to steal a hand that is said to belong to Saint Geraldine from a wealthy collector. Upon touching the hand, she hears her mother’s voice saying “Remember, little one, our people need you. Find them. And whatever happens to me--know that I love you always."
Duval later reveals with the help of Aydin Berkant, that Chalice is really a Hatchet Knight like her mother. The Hatchet Knights are a group of women, formed during the Crusades, who have special abilities and were conceived between human women, and fallen angels. That, in essence, makes Chalice part angel. *In other books, they would be called Nephilim.*
Aydin is also bonded to a gargoyle named Shojin after making a deal with a demon during the Crusades after failing to save Geraldine. Aydin has the ability to become a ghost, and is thief just like Chalice. Unlike Chalice, however, Aydin seems to actually like his gargoyle.
I really enjoyed this book. I enjoyed it because it focused on Chalice’s struggles to get away from Gavin and Shui, and later her relationship with Aydin that comes out of knowing and caring about one another and shared experiences of being bond to a gargoyle.
I liked Chalice as well. She just doesn’t sit around throughout the book whining and crying about her circumstances. She actually fights with everything she can and learns more about her mother, and father, as well as her membership in the Hatchet Knights so that she can break her bon with Shui once and forever.
Duval’s world is different from others in that the Fallen were former Guardian Angels and now they have to make a choice between remaining on the good side of things, or turning evil and working with people like Gavin.
I want to learn more, obviously, about the Hatchet Knights and their abilities to use their special gifts to protect the world from darkness. Thankfully, I already have the next book in my que, and plan on reading it really soon.
I normally hate cliffhangers, but, in this case Duval actually sets the stage for the next step in Chalice’s growth and story and in becoming a full time member of the Hatchet Knights without leaving me gasping for air and wanting more now!
Darkest Knight (Knight’s Curse #2) releases March 20, 2012.