The Curse Merchant (The Dark Choir #1)
J. P. Sloan
Published: 14th September, 2014
Curiosity Quills Press
Genre: Urban Fantasy
From: Purchased via Amazon
Dorian Lake spent years cornering the Baltimore hex-crafting market, using his skills at the hermetic arts to exact karmic justice for those whom the system has failed.
He keeps his magic clean and free of soul-corrupting Netherwork, thus avoiding both the karmic blow-back of his practice and the notice of the Presidium, a powerful cabal of practitioners that polices the esoteric arts in America. However, when an unscrupulous Netherworker interferes with both his business and his personal life, Dorian’s disarming charisma and hermetic savvy may not be enough to keep his soul out of jeopardy.
His rival, a soul monger named Neil Osterhaus, wouldn’t be such a problem were it not for Carmen, Dorian’s captivating ex-lover. After two years’ absence Carmen arrives at Dorian’s doorstep with a problem: she sold her soul to Osterhaus, and has only two weeks to buy it back. Hoping to win back Carmen’s affections, Dorian must find a replacement soul without tainting his own.
As Dorian descends into the shadows of Baltimore’s underworld, he must decide how low he is willing to stoop in order to save Carmen from eternal damnation… with the Presidium watching, waiting for him to cross the line.
What I liked: Normally stories are seen from the eyes of the people with good intentions, and that’s where this one differed originally. Dorian isn’t all that much of a “good guy,” he does some pretty nasty stuff that he believes is okay to do since what he does is “karmatic balance” to the people his clients want hexed. So that right there was something that made me much more interested in reading this book when I realized that though he may consider himself a “good guy” that he’s really not. He gives off the way he was raised in the upperclass by the way he talks about people he meets without knowing them, and judging people by their heritage, but while that gave insight into him as a character, it also made me both dislike and like him oddly enough. He’s that morally grey character who while I don’t really like him, and sometimes he pulls moves that I really don’t like, it made him an interesting character.
What I didn’t like: Like I said, while I like Dorian, I also really don’t like him and that’s with how he judges people based on the way they look and their heritage. Carmen, for example, is of Latina heritage and he says a lot of things like “her Latina pride” and one about something about her angry posture being Latina. It bothered me because he was so judgmental and such because of a characters heritage. But I mean, other than the way Dorian came off sometimes there wasn’t anything I could say I didn’t like.
Overall Review: Dorian is an interesting character that, while he does get his karmatic backlash for everything, I will follow on with the second book to see what happens to him and see how he manages to reverse what happens to him by the end of this book. He makes for a different kind of view since this book starts out with him in a terrible place and though by the end his situation is better, it’s still not all that great for him.
Recommend?: This was a good book, it kept my attention and was certainly something that I enjoyed overall. I’ll definitely be continuing on to find out what happens to Dorian next.
My Rating: 4/5
The Curse Servant
J. P. Sloan
Published: 26th February, 2015
Curiosity Quills Press
Genre: Urban Fantasy
From: Curiosity Quills Press
The one person standing between Hell… and an innocent girl… is a man without a soul.
A regular life isn’t in the cards for Dorian Lake, but with his charm-crafting business invigorated, and the prospect of a serious relationship within his grasp, life is closer to normal than Dorian could ever expect. In the heat of the Baltimore mayoral campaign, Dorian has managed to balance his arrangements with Deputy Mayor Julian Bright with his search to find his lost soul. Dorian soon learns of a Netherworker, the head of a dangerous West Coast cabal, who might be able to find and return his soul. The price? Just one curse.
Sounds easy… but nothing ever is for Dorian. A dark presence arrives in the city, hell-bent on finding Dorian’s soul first. Innocents are caught in the crossfire, and Dorian finds it harder to keep his commitments to Bright. When the fight gets personal, and the entity hits too close to home, Dorian must rely on those he trusts the least to save the ones he loves. As he tests the limits of his hermetic skills to defeat this new enemy, will Dorian lose his one chance to avoid damnation?
What I liked: This book takes what happened to Dorian at the end of The Curse Merchant and shows us whats happened to Dorian since then. It starts off with a bit of a bang for Dorian, and as the story progresses Dorian ends up getting mixed up with exactly what he had been trying to avoid, Netherwork. And he may have found a girl he can really like in Ches. Yet there’s also the fact he has someone he has to save and this takes a lot more digging to find out how than I had expected which I liked.
What I didn’t like: Some parts felt paced too fast or too slow to me for what was happening at certain points in the book.
Overall Review: I think one of the great things about this book is that you can read this book without having to read the first one with very little confusion since many of the things that happened in the first book were alluded to within this book as well when it needed to be brought up. Dorian has changed quite a bit since the first book and I can’t wait to see how he ends up in the next after everything in this book!
Recommend?: This was a really good follow up to The Curse Merchant and I’m wondering just what will happen in the next book!
My Rating: 4.2/5
About the Author
I am a storyteller, eager to transport the reader to strange yet familiar worlds. My writing is dark, fantastical, at times stretching the limits of the human experience, and other times hinting at the monsters lurking under your bed. I write science fiction, urban fantasy, horror, and several shades in between.
I am a husband and a father, living in the “wine country” of central Maryland. I’m surrounded by grapevines and cows. During the day I commute to Baltimore, and somehow manage to escape each afternoon with only minor scrapes and bruises. I am also a homebrewer and a certified beer judge. My avocations dovetail nicely!