DANU’S CURSE by Nicole Pierman
Review and Cut by Shaggy Shepherd & Whitney Reinhart
Neas is no ordinary woman. Born with Fae magic in her veins, she is the only mortal with immortal abilities in Ireland. Due to her powers, she has always been protected by her uncle, a toisech of a powerful Irish clan. But war continues to hang in the air, and Neas agrees to marry a prized warrior from another village in a desperate bid to strengthen peace between clans, even though she loves another man.
When Fomorians rise from the Underworld and begin to attack, Neas begins to question her uncle’s motives. Her uncle keeps her hidden behind the walls of his stronghold, away from the outside world as her people are slaughtered. Even though her magical abilities could easily end the bloodshed, she is pushed to the side until Neas uncovers the truth of his plan.
Can Neas stop her uncle’s bid for ultimate power without losing those she loves?
Danu’s Curse is a sweeping standalone Irish fantasy novel. If you enjoy independent female heroines, Irish mythology and fairy tales, and a thrilling magic-fueled story, then you will love Nicole Pierman’s epic story.
Shaggy Shepherd: I loved the sound of Danu’s Curse as soon as I saw it, both because of the cover as well as the blurb. Irish mythology, the fae, and strong female protagonists. Sadly the book didn’t work quite as well for me as I had hoped.
The characters weren’t quite as fleshed out as I would’ve liked and they acted younger than I’d like for a story like this. They didn’t seem like they were an age where they would need to worry about marriage or be able to handle the stresses that were put on them in this story. They also seemed a bit gullible and I’m surprised they figured the whole thing out by the end. Then again though, despite the claims that things would be so difficult for them, they still seemed to conquer every challenge easily in the end.
There were several positives for me as well though. I loved the pronunciation guide for Irish words at the start and how smoothly integrated they felt into the story. The quick chapters made it feel like you were moving through the book at a good pace the whole time. I think my favorite part about this book though was how much comfort the main characters found with each other in a non-romantic way. So many books focus on the love interest, which we had here as well, but not enough put emphasis on the emotional support you can have between friends.
While overall the writing felt too YA for my liking and there were some inconsistencies about the world and character behavior, I still think the author had a great foundation and ideas for her book.
“The grotto’s shimmering, protective walls stood before them, and with one last push from her exhausted legs, Neas jumped through the see-through entryway into the Otherworld…”
Whitney: Nicole Pierman’s take on druidic magic and folklore offers readers a sparkling glimpse into the rich histories and mythologies long associated with Ireland. Centering on Neas, a mortal young woman with immortal gifts, Danu’s Curse weaves a tale of love, family, loyalty, betrayal, and magic.
Neas is the only mortal in the land with her gods-granted talents and she is valuable. As her uncle’s ward, her marriage could secure powerful allies, useful to protect her clan from warring neighbors. When the gods approve of the husband her uncle chooses, Neas is duty-bound to turn her back on her true love, Finn. For the good of the clan, she feels she has no choice.
The appearance of underworld demons, fomórians, ravaging through nearby villages and homesteads alert Neas and her Fae tutor, Aoibheann, to dangers far more serious than cattle raids and petty farm squabbles. Someone powerful had to have summoned these deadly evils. But who?
Neas and her loyal friends, human and Fae alike, are determined to get to the bottom of the mystery and expose the traitorous villain’s plans. Drawing on her natural abilities and close ties to the natural and magical worlds, Neas wields fire and water, earth and roots to interrupt battle plans in her search for the ultimate mastermind behind so much death and destruction. The answers are devastatingly painful and eternally infuriating. In the end, Neas must make the Hero’s Choice. Her decision will either save or doom them all.
“I gave her the hero’s choice and she chose correctly,” The Morrigan said simply.
I thoroughly enjoyed Danu’s Curse. Pierman does an excellent job introducing Irish Gaelic terms and provides a small glossary to aid readers with pronunciations. She deftly explains the connections between daily human life and otherworldly magic without belaboring the point. I applaud her inclusion of an actual Fae character, Aoibheann, who is integral to story progression without seeming like a caricature or window dressing. The veil is truly thin where Neas is concerned. The love story between Neas and Finn is sweet and well written if it is a bit cloying for my personal tastes. I imagine romantasy fans will love it. On the whole, all the necessary elements of effective storytelling i.e. character development, pacing, dialogue, power structures, and plot twists are executed well.
Unfortunately, though, Danu’s Curse fell short of the mark. I wanted more depth, more contrast, more something. This is a lovely, quick-reading book with a definite YA feel. Nothing wrong with it but nothing which makes it truly stand out in the field. I’m sad to say it’s a cut for me.
If Danu’s Curse sounds like your cup of tea, check out the author’s Goodreads, or jump on over to Amazon to grab a copy!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Nicole Pierman rocks out to metal, is obsessed with coffee, and (obviously) loves to write. Writing is part of her DNA, but when Nicole’s not writing, she’s either baking, reading, or active on her YouTube channel.
You can find Nicole on these platforms:
Website → https://nicolepierman.com
Facebook → https://www.facebook.com/Nicole-Pierm…
YouTube → https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCU1G…