A New Fantasy Saga Not To Be Missed!
The Kindred’s Curse Saga is now one of my new favorite fantasy series.
Listen up, everyone. There is a new “don’t miss” fantasy world out there, and it can only be found in Penn Cole’s debut series called The Kindred’s Curse Saga. In it, Cole introduces the reader to Emarion, a continent where mortals and demigods (the Descended) live side-by-side. It is a world where loyalty to the old gods (the Everflame) fights for traction against the colonization of a new godhood called the Kindred. Each realm of Emarion is governed by a distinct group of the Descended based on whatever Kindred god is their patron. For example, there is Lumos, Realm of Light and Shadow, whose Descended all have blue eyes and whose powers control the light and dark. Or there is Fortos, Realm of Force and Valor, whose Descended, with their blood red eyes, have the ability to heal or kill. In total, there are 9 realms of Descended who rule in cities, castles, and fortresses that are the centers of wealth and power in Emarion. The mortals, on the other hand, are either banned from the realms of the Descended or allowed to live adjacent to their luxury in spaces of poverty and squalor. I could go on for pages about the mythology of the Kindred, the Descended, and the mortals that Cole recounts in the book. It is utterly fascinating and ripe with more stories to tell. But let’s move on to some of the characters entwined in this immortal/mortal saga.
The heroine of the series is Diem Bellator. She is a healer in Mortal City in the realm of Lumnos. In the first pages of the book, her mother — a healer not only for the mortals but also for the Descended in Lumnos City — goes missing mysteriously. The secrets about Diem’s past that unfold after her mother’s disappearance begin to turn her world upside down. Diem has always been a bit of mystery in her community since, from a young age, she began to develop white hair and gray eyes rather than the mortal brown color that everyone else has. Yet her talents and compassion as a healer earned her community’s trust and, eventually, helps her gain the trust of the Descended. She becomes a reluctant new healer to the Descended royalty in her mother’s absence and, in her services, meets the dark and powerful heir to the King, Prince Luther. As she finds her way deeper in the Descended palace, she is recruited by mortal rebels who are ready for a civil war (one of the leaders of which happens to be her childhood friend and current lover). Throughout the book, Diem must navigate dangerous games of power, politics, and love if she is going to see herself and her family out alive.
What makes Diem a unique heroine in my mind is how the mystery of who she is and what she is capable of unfolds within her. Diem is a feisty, kicka$$ heroine with a short fuse. I’ve seen plenty of those in books before. In fact, I can sometimes disengage with a story if an author writes a heroine with “over-the-top” anger. A heroine that gets angry seemingly just for anger’s sake. Or a story with a slow-burn, enemies-to-lovers romance with banter that gets too angry and too aggressive without being balanced by reflection or self-awareness. It’s just not my thing. Cole writes Diem’s struggle with her anger in such a way that I saw Diem’s pain. Her burning. Her sense of something taking control that is “other” — something terrifying, persistent, and powerful.
“I stared at the depthless midnight sky, my thoughts as turbulent as they’d ever been, and I burned and I burned and I burned. And I wondered how long I had until the fire in my soul burned me alive.”
And the romantic tension between Diem and Prince Luther? Perfection. I wouldn’t quite call it a fated mates situation, at least not how I’ve ever read it before. Their connection seems more powerfully linked to their potential as players in the fate of Emarion. Cole describes it beautifully:
We both froze in place as something ancient, something profound passed between us. It was a primal force that transcended word and thought, as powerful as a crack of lighting, a child’s first breath, the endless depth of the sea. It was not of this world but entirely woven within it. It warmed by blood with a calming peace I’d never know, yet filled me with a terrible dread of a fate I could not avoid.
I could gush even more about this book, but I’m forcing myself to stop here so as to not include any spoilers. You’re going to want to read this book and to read it through to the end. It concludes with one doozy of a cliffhanger. Just — wow. Trust me, you are definitely going to want to meet Diem Bellator: “Devourer of Crowns. Ravager of Realms. Herald of Vengeance. Daughter of the Forgotten.”
Celeste is a woman who is unwavering about certain things in life; three of those being books, cats, and cold brew coffee. If she can enjoy all three at the same time, it’s going to be a good day. Her favorite genres are fantasy or sci-fi romance, historical romance, and historical fiction but every few books she likes to mix it up with contemporary fiction, a good psychological thriller, or an inspiring memoir. She has a busy schedule working full-time for an online university but she makes sure to unwind each day with stories, either by reading to her elementary school-aged daughter or tucking herself in bed with her Kindle or the latest book she picked up at a local book store.