by A. Lee Martinez
Martinez wrote another book I enjoyed quite a bit, Gil’s All Fright Diner, which also focuses on a place that’s menaced by the occult. Too Many Curses follows the adventures of Nelly, a Kobold servant of an evil wizard. When the wizard dies, Nelly has to figure out to do with the malevolent castle she’s left caring for.
Martinez weaves an enjoyable story with likable characters and lots of little amusing tidbits. He takes jabs at the stereotypes of the sword-and-sorcery genre, with monsters like “The Monster That Should Not Be” and “The Door At The End of The Hall.” But the book develops a more complex and amusing plotline than these jokes would imply. We can’t help but like Nelly as she bustles about the castle minding the monsters and cursed souls. Martinez also weaves in a few narrative threads that serve nicely to move the plot forward.
Too Many Curses reads quickly and without much weight, but this isn’t a bad thing. Its value comes in the surprisingly touching story that hides between the goofy jokes and silly characters. I’m looking forward to reading Martinez’s other work.