Today on the author blog, Leland Lydecker reviews the first novel by author S.D. Reeves.
Curses of Scale is an unusually somber tale of love, fey magic, and cursed dragons. It follows Calem, a druid who made a bargain with the fey Oberon in an attempt to break the curse on his wife; Niena, an aspiring bard with a head full of dreams; and Marny, an old soldier and grandfather to Niena.
The author has a knack for colorful descriptions that pull the reader into the story, and there were many scenes that I could see, smell, and feel as if I was there. Amid a sea of authors who skip setting in favor of rushing straight into the action, S.D. Reeves’ immersive style stands out.
The writing is so full of detail that it sometimes takes on an almost stream-of-consciousness feel. At first it was a little confusing, but I soon realized that it conveyed the world the way the characters were experiencing it. Niena wanders through a reality where fey magic and her own wild imagination are often indistinguishable from real life, and both Calem and Marny at times find themselves lost in recollections of past experiences and conversations.
S.D. Reeves is also an author who understands human emotion. All too many tragedies that befall fantasy characters never really hit home with the audience or even the characters themselves.
Reeves’ protagonists, however, are human and believable in the best way. They experience losses and yearnings that will resonate with anyone who has ever lost a dear loved one (and, for that matter, with anyone who has ever been a teenager yearning to journey out into the world, despite its immense hostility, and find greatness.)
As you may have surmised, Curses of Scale is not your average fantasy. For one thing, these three heroes each have their own separate, fully developed plot arcs. While Calem and his desperate quest to save his wife were an early favorite for me, I found myself cheering for Marny and Niena too before the book was over. Each take a different path, but their stories remain intimately connected throughout the tale.
With Oberon acting to lead the heroes in seemingly opposite directions, the protagonists often seem at odds with each other. Without giving away spoilers, little in this story is what it seems. Elements which appear to be stereotypical fantasy fare turn out to be anything but, and the way the separate narratives come together and are resolved at the end is a work of art. Combined with everything else, this final twist elevates Curses of Scale from the ranks of decent storytelling into truly 5-star material.
S.D. Reeves’ breakout novel is available in ebook and paperback from Amazon. This is a fantasy tale that I greatly enjoyed, and I highly recommend it!