I remember where I was when I first heard about this story. It was in a quiet Starbucks on a sun-filled Sunday morning in the quiet following a whirlwind conference. We were all tired, I think, and basking in the final hours we had as fellow authors before we had to part for another year.
I remember hearing her explain the concept, a girl on a quest to slay a beast, but the beast is in her mind.
I was fascinated.
So when I heard that To Slay A Curse was finally publishing and Rae asked if I would like to be a part of blog tour, of course I said yes.
To Slay A Curse is a thrilling, imaginative quest story that reminded me of all my favorite old medieval quests with whispers of Narnia and a bit of a Christopher Nolan’s Inception thrown in.
Giselle deals with a monster in her mind that leaves her feeling unworthy and unable to hope for a better life than the one she has: caring for her drunken, abusive uncle. But when a chance to set things to right and be rid of the monster—be it a slight chance—she takes the opportunity and is plunged into an epic quest—inside her own head.
The feeling of the book is almost fairytale; the contrasts between good and evil were drawn in multiple layers from the men who worked in menial jobs daily choosing right or wrong, to great battles that have Biblical echoes. I also sensed, in the very best way, the air of Narnia as we neared the climax, and Giselle comes face to face with her bitterness.
You watch Giselle transform as she faces the danger of her mental world, turning from an apologetic girl who shrinks from relationships to one who learns to take responsibilty not only for herself but also for protecting those who join her in the quest to save her. And by the end she is able to display her strength in the ultimate form, forgiveness.
The author tackles without fear the topics of shame and unworthiness bringing them from their ugliness in the beginning to a beautiful conclusion that left me satisfied. If you’re looking for a fantasy story with the traditional feel but a unique approach, Rae Graham has spun us a story that does just that.
A proud Hufflepuff and hard-core Tolkienite, Rae weaves fantastical tales filled with heart and hope for the YA reader. If you can catch her without her nose in a book or a pen in hand, she would be more than thrilled to share in an adventure or relax with a chai and chat. After growing up in several countries across Asia, she is now happily settled on the banks of the great Mississippi with her family.
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