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Reviewed by Stephanie Chapman for Readers' Favorite
H.C. Newell’s Curse of the Fallen features Neer’s quest to rid herself of a curse placed on her by the Order of Saro’s High Priest. The curse prevents Neer from using her magical abilities without alerting the mercenaries to her location. Neer is accompanied by Loryk and Gil as she searches for the arun, an artifact that could break the curse. After Neer manages to teleport with her friends to Vleland, they enter a magical cave. She learns that to use the arun, she must go through the Trials of Fire. Gil is unable to go with Neer, but Loryk refuses to part from her. As they travel, they encounter Klaud, an elf who is also going to the trials. They journey together, meeting people who are on the hunt for invading elves and magic wielders. Loryk's abilities as a bard prove to be far more valuable than anyone anticipated.
H.C. Newell exceeded my expectations with this epic fantasy. Every page is filled with vivid depictions of the characters and their surroundings. I felt like I was walking with the travelers. Neer’s determination and compassion are unrivaled by her companions. Klaud’s intentions were admirable but he is self-centered. Loryk was brave to stay with Neer, especially since he didn’t have any magical abilities and was an average person. This made his character relatable as he voiced his fears and attempted to prevent Neer’s emotions from misguiding her. Neer's point of view, in my opinion, focused on her emotional pain. The cliffhanger ending was completely unpredictable and left me desperate to read the sequel. The Curse of the Fallen is highly recommended to readers who enjoy fantasy stories with intrigue and well-developed characters.