Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Blog Tour: The Curse Servant by J. P. Sloan

Today I am thrilled to host J.P. Sloan's The Curse Servant, book two in the Dark Choir series. Released on February 26th, 2015, The Curse Servant picks up where The Curse Merchant left off, Dorian now hunting for his own soul. I am always excited to return to urban fantasy, and Sloan's series is remarkably 

The Book

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?

The Curse Servant is available from Curiosity Quills now!

My Review

I reviewed The Curse Merchant last September and loved it, so I couldn't pass up the opportunity to return to Dorian Lake's world! The Curse Servant picks up where the last book left off: Dorian's searching for his lost soul, while working on salary for Julian Bright, helping out with the local mayoral election. As you might expect, it doesn't take long for his efforts to balance personal and professional go awry....

I got a real Iron Druid / Kevin Hearne vibe from this story, which is, I think, a great thing. Dorian's not a fount of all wisdom and knowledge; he spends time researching various things, going back to the books or reaching out experts, which is a nice touch. I appreciated that while he's very good at his own niche work, Dorian's limits are also clear - he's not the biggest fish in the pond and he's smart enough to know it. I love that he has to work from that position - that he can't just use brute force/superior powers/jedi mind tricks to win at life (or whatever his current problem is). I've written before about wanting to get in on the ground floor with an urban fantasy hero, to watch them develop from novice to expert and I have the glorious suspicion that this series is going to satisfy that desire.

The Curse Servant makes great use of its own world. I really appreciated that many of the magic details had plot significance as well as building the universe. I also loved that there's overarching sense of governance, ethics and morality that impacts Dorian in such tangible ways. The plot brings together many layers of the world and I absolutely love it when things come together the way they do in this book.

The novel has great pacing - there's always something for Dorian to be doing, usually multiple somethings. This does, at times annoyingly, lead to him reflecting on what his top priority of the moment is. The repetition of underlining his current goal towards the end of a chapter as Dorian heads off to his next task did start to grate by the end of the book. It was clearly important for him to prioritize, but the repeated deliberate setting aside of one issue he was facing in favor of another began to wear on me.

The Curse Servant can be read as a stand-alone title, I think, but I would strongly recommend reading The Curse Merchant first. Dorian's carrying plenty of baggage that directly relates to the events of the first book. I also think that there's a certain amount of attachment to various people and places that I carried forward from that book, that elevated my experience of this one. Could I have followed the story without having read The Curse Merchant? Yes, absolutely, but I don't think I'd have enjoyed it as much. Plus, why skip ahead when you could read *two* amazing books instead of only one?  

Oh, and that cover? Creeptastic. 

The Bottom Line:

The Curse Servant is great urban fantasy. There's a complex, rich world within which Dorian is not the most powerful person - not even in the top ten! This book has a sense of humour, a tightly woven plot and just the right dash of magic and the paranormal to live up to the cover artwork. 

I absolutely recommend The Curse Servant - read The Curse Merchant first! I'm wishlisting paperback copies of them both because I can tell this is a series I'm going to want to revisit: I'm already looking forward to book three.

5 stars
For fans of urban fantasy, Kevin Hearne, creepy paranormal tales

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!

Find J.P. Sloan Online:

1 comment:

  1. Thanks so much for reading! And I totally agree... that cover has Clive Barker written all over it. Conzpirazy Digital Arts does amazing work!