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Curse the Dark Paperback – 1 Jul 2005

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Product details

  • Paperback: 348 pages
  • Publisher: Harlequin Enterprises Ltd (1 July 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 037309079X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0373090792
  • Product Dimensions: 20.3 x 13.3 x 1.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jane A. on 28 April 2009
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is the second retriever novel I've read. I really liked the first one (4-5stars), still like the characters and setting, but this story is a total mess. Almost nothing happens, just endless talks about who or what information you can or cannot trust, several completely redundant chapters about The Silence that lead nowhere, lots of getting coffee or food and complaints about the weather (I'm not kidding)
The little action there is is almost always told in hindsight. Something is starting to happen, chapter stops and the next starts a few days/hours later. That happens about five or six times. Must be a tool from Creative Writing classes. Doesn't make for interesting reads when overused.
There is one very nice and well written sex scene, but apart from that you can basical skip the first 250 pages.
The final 'showdown' is short, confused and difficult to follow and the book has two ends: one incredibly depressing one, which comes totally out of the blue (all the hinting in the book hardly leads to anything) and one Epilogue that is supposed to be cliffhangerish, but doesn't work because the book simply isn't as clever as it's trying to be.
Terrible! I'm just giving it three stars instead of two because there is no other review so far (and to be fair I could just have been in the wrong mood while reading it) and the general setting and characters really are worthwhile exploring.
I'll read the third in series and then see if I want to continue.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By John Nunn VINE VOICE on 24 Jun 2009
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is the second book in the Retrievers series following the lives of Guenevere "the Wren" Valere and her business partner Sergei Didier. The sexual tension between Sergei and Wren reaches boiling point, whilst on a job in Italy for the Silence; Sergei's old employer. Not only that but the Fatae are being targeted and attacked.
This was almost as compelling a read as the pervious book, again the plot doesn't set any speed records, however it is very cleverly put together with many twists that keep you guessing. The ending is quite dramatic and unexpected.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I was a little surprised that the Wren didn't need sedation on the plane! Meeting young Talent in Italy was fun.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 25 reviews
64 of 67 people found the following review helpful
Not bad, but doesn't live up to the potential of "Staying Dead" 29 July 2005
By R. Kyle - Published on
Format: Paperback
Last year, "Staying Dead" got a 5-star rating. I thought it was an excellent fantasy novel with an interesting romance angle thrown in. In her second book, Laura Ann Gilman isn't making either the fantasy or the romance angles work that well for me.

The concept: Wren is a Retriever. Basically, she goes and steals back items that are taken by others. Sergei is her manager/partner. He's in his 40's, about 20 years older than she. They're in love, though neither is actively acknowledging it til this novel.

"Curse the Dark" sends the two of them after stolen Catholic Church relics. We get a better explanation than the initial one about the 'CosaNostradamus' the organization that controls mages and the 'Silence' the organization that makes sure the 'Cosa' is on the up-and-up.

"Curse the Dark" crosses a few more barriers than "Staying Dead" by introducing a mystery line--just what are the relics, what do they mean, and why are they protected so strongly against mages? And, finally, who but a mage could steal them? Gilman's good at setting up mystery, but her explanations are somewhat muddy.

"Curse" answers a few of the questions I had from "Staying Dead" but doesn't leave me looking forward to the sequel or as excited about new-author Gilman as I previously was.

I'm not sure I will read #3 next year. Will definitely have to sit down and make sure I can get through the first chapter or two before I commit to it. Feels as though Gilman is trying to please too many audiences at once and not doing very well at any of it.
17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Great read for a first time author...................... 30 Oct 2005
By R. Hoover - Published on
Format: Paperback
I just happened to find this book at my local book store and what a great read. I could'nt find the first book of this series,but Laura blended both books so well together that I felt that I diddn't miss anything. Sergie and Wren are so great together that it was a joy just to see their reactions together. Also enjoyed how the electric current worked so well with the magic. Will have to someday pick up Staying Dead,but eagerly awaiting the next Retriever Novel. I highly recommend this series if you enjoy Jim Butcher,and Laurell K.Hamilton. Enjoyed it Laura,hurry up and finish the next book.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Nice start, flat ending 25 Sep 2006
By moria2 - Published on
Format: Paperback
Curse the Dark is the second of the Retriever novels. The is the review of the trade paperback. Wren and Sergei are trying to figure out their personnel and professional lives. Since their last job, work has been falling off. Wren esp. needs some cash, so they jump at a chance to go to Italy and investigate the disappearance of an artifact for the mysterious Silence organization. The trip to Italy is short, a bit of a shame. However, the artifact and the guardians of the artifact are engaging. The political wrangling within the Silence is interesting as well. In chapter 15, the book starts to unravel or at least I started to loose interest. Here are two reasons:

1) On page 271, the author has a character say something that is completely against everything the character has done in the first book and the first 270 pages of this book for a little cheep complex. I but the book down and didn't pick it back up for a week. It completely turned me off to the story. I always feel a little betrayed when authors do this. Like we won't notice!
2)*****Possible Spoiler****The author also wastes a character that I hadn't formed an attachment to yet. So, the death, which is treated as pivotal, didn't mean much because I hadn't become involved with them.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
More like 4 1/2 stars... 3 July 2007
By Deborah Wiley - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Wren Valere's jobs as a Retriever have begun to disappear due to the Council's subtle but effective whisper campaign against her. As a lonejack, Wren is used to working on her own and flying under the Council's radar. She has been very successful at stealing artifacts back due to her use of both conventional and magical means, but this is not a career that welcomes attention. The only thing keeping her financially afloat at this time is the retainer from the Silence, and now the Silence wants her to do a Retrieval of an ancient but deadly manuscript. Meanwhile, the unrest between the various magical factions is reaching a boiling point and Wren is stuck in the middle. Wren and her partner, Sergei Didier, discover just how unprepared they are for this latest Retrieval as they will have to risk everything if they hope to succeed.

CURSE THE DARK is the second book in the Retrievers series. The first book, STAYING DEAD, sets up the relationship between Wren and Sergei and introduces the need for their agreement with the Silence. However, CURSE THE DARK can be read as a stand alone as Laura Anne Gilman provides readers with enough of the back history to follow along. In fact, I enjoyed CURSE THE DARK better than the first book as I thought the pace was a bit smoother.

The situation in CURSE THE DARK gets complicated quickly. There is a main plot involving the actual Retrieval but there are numerous undercurrents occurring simultaneously. There is a romance developing between Wren and Sergei and both are trying to adapt to the changes in their relationship. Meanwhile, the conflicts within the magical community are exploding and these tensions are beginning to have a direct impact on Wren. Laura Anne Gilman does an excellent job at maintaining the individual threads. While the plot is complex, it is never confusing.

The character development in CURSE THE DARK is superb and adds more depth to the storyline. Laura Anne Gilman has created such an interesting cast of characters that even the secondary characters are fully developed and interesting. Wren and Sergei are of course the primary characters and their strengths and flaws make them likeable and realistic. The intrigue surrounding Silence Handler, Andre Felhim, adds an atmosphere of secrecy to the already mysterious task of locating the manuscript that makes readers simply disappear. P.B. and Tree-Taller also play pivotal roles in this exciting story and who can't help but love P.B?

CURSE THE DARK is an action packed story that cleverly weaves together numerous plotlines. Laura Anne Gilman has crafted an entertaining world that has only improved with this installment. I rarely re-read books, but CURSE THE DARK was well worth my second reading of the story as I thoroughly enjoyed it and am looking forward to delving into the next two installments in the series.

9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Disappointing after the first one 23 Aug 2005
By Susan Davidson - Published on
Format: Paperback
I really enjoyed "Staying Dead." "Curse the Dark" was much more fractured and confusing. The story isn't nearly as intense, and the actions of the characters didn't make as much sense. It seems as though not much really happened until the end of the story.

"Staying Dead" grabbed me from the first pages. "Curse the Dark" felt like an obligatory read. I had read the first one, therefore, I had to read the second. It wasn't from enjoyment that I finished it. There wasn't any true "whodunit" that had to be solved, and the climax wasn't satisfying to me.

I enjoy Laura Anne Gilman's writing style, and so will look for the third story. I know this author can write a really good story, since she's proven it in the debut novel. I hope she finds that same spark for the third in the series.
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