One of my greatest pleasures is to read a book by a debut author and love it. Let’s face it. There are a ton of authors and a ton of books out there. Some are good. Some are not. So when a new author comes on the scene and writes a winner, we all win.
Deborah Grace White is the daughter of another author I debuted here, Allan Packer. In fact, she is also his editor, and editor to Melanie Cellier, her sister. I was quite excited when Deborah asked me if I would be interested in reviewing her debut novel.
Let me first tell you about the book, and then I will let Deborah share about how she came to write it. As a bonus, there are a couple of excerpts here for you as well!
Heir of the Curse
Series: Kyona Chronicles #1
Published by Luminant Publications
Publication Date March 31, 2020
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult, Action/Adventure
Main Character Ages: 15-18
Written for: Middle-School, High-School/Young Adult
Kyona’s lost heir is found—but his birthright might be his greatest curse
Calinnae’s world is shattered when a discovery about his best friend Jonan brings the king’s soldiers down on both families. Barely avoiding their pursuers, the two friends escape with nothing but each other, and the stories of the past they grew up with. Stories that might hold answers, if they turn out to be more than just legends.
Still hunted, they set out for Kyona’s infamous mountains, assisted by Elnora, an unlikely rescuer with mysteries of her own. They hope to find answers, perhaps even the dragons of legend, whose magic might be the key to restoring Kyona’s ancient bloodline.
But the mountains hold more than just magic—they hold a secret that none of the friends are prepared for. And Calinnae’s response, as much as Jonan’s, will decide whether the kingdom stands or falls.
If you enjoy adventure, fantasy, mystery, and clean romance, discover the world of the Kyona Chronicles today. Heir of the Curse is the first of four novels in the series.
I would like to thank Deborah Grace White for giving me this copy of this book. This gift did not influence my opinion or review.
Also in this series: Heir of the Curse, Captives of the Curse
Guest Post from Deborah Grace White
I can’t remember a time when I didn’t love reading, and I can’t imagine there ever being a time when I stop loving it! I’m the youngest of four children in my family, and like most babies of the family, as a young child I followed my siblings into whatever phases they went through. Because we’re all avid readers, that meant that from the beginning I was exposed to literature above the usual comprehension level of my age. Before I was even old enough to fully remember it, I had listened to the entirety of the Lord of the Rings trilogy read aloud by my dad, over the course of months’ worth of family bedtime reading sessions. As a young teenager I decided to read War and Peace—it took me two years to wade through it, and I usually read it with a dictionary next to me, but in the end I got there!
But as much as I enjoy classic literature, I’ve never outgrown the love of magic, and I keep coming back to fantasy. And, despite being well and truly an adult now, with almost nine years of marriage and two (soon to be three!) children tagging along, I haven’t outgrown my love of young adult fiction either. I love coming of age stories, and I’m thoroughly dedicated to happy endings. Perhaps it comes from my faith in God, which has shaped my desire to focus on the beauty rather than the darkness in the world.
So when did the love of reading expand into the love of writing? I hardly know—I can remember writing some (truly terrible) stories as a young child. But the idea of actually writing as a career never seemed realistic. It was on a level with my declaration that I wanted to be a ballerina when I grew up. But somewhere in my teenage years, real stories started to grow deep in the corridors of my overcrowded mind.
The idea for my debut novel, Heir of the Curse, was actually born at the end of my first year of high school. I did a one-afternoon elective called ‘dragon art’, in which I learned the basics of how to draw the mighty reptiles of legend. Drawing has never been my forte, and I retain nothing now from that session except the seed of a story that came as I sketched a dragon holding a glass sphere filled with flames. I scribbled here and there, but it wasn’t until after the birth of my second child that I actually sat down and attempted to turn the idea into a full novel. After my first child was born, I had taken a year of leave from my professional job (believe it or not, I’m actually trained as a lawyer). That year had finished just at the beginning of my second pregnancy, and I had decided to resign my job rather than return. So as I settled into the landscape of being more permanently based at home, I began to explore the idea of writing more seriously. My secret weapon has been training my two beautiful children (now 2.5 and 1) to nap at the same time each afternoon! My other secret weapon is my husband, Ray, who works very hard in his job as a primary school teacher, and is unfailingly amazing and supportive of my writing endeavors.
Somewhere along the way, the seed grew not only into a novel, but into a whole series. The Kyona Chronicles is, of course, a young adult fantasy series. It’s set in a world where magic is as forgotten as the long-lost royal bloodline that once brought prosperity to the kingdom. But when the true heir is found, friends Calinnae and Jonan are catapulted into danger and adventure beyond anything they’ve imagined. Their present task is impossible, and their future is uncertain. But their greatest weapon may be found in a past that most consider as mythical as the dragons of legend.
So after a year of writing and preparing, I’m very excited to be launching my debut novel—Heir of the Curse—on 31 March 2020! It’s the first in a series of four novels and two novellas, all of which are scheduled for release in the next six months. The series will carry the reader beyond borders and across generations, as characters both past and present explore the kingdoms surrounding Kyona and discover just how deeply the magic of legend shapes everything they know. I would love you to join me in this world, where you’ll find adventure, fantasy, mystery, and clean romance!
Excerpts from Heir of the Curse:
Discovery (from Chapter Two)
For an endless moment, Calinnae’s mind was blank, unable to make sense of the words.
The True Bloodline.
That’s what she had said. Jonan’s father was the heir of the true line of kings?
The ground seemed to be tilting under him, but he didn’t tell himself it was impossible. He felt it to be true, as if he’d always known it. He had a fleeting image of Jonan’s father, sitting in his old chair as Calinnae and Jonan sat on a rug by the fire as boys. Telling them the legends, the “bedtime stories”. He had always taken on some extra quality when he spoke. Elam the Storyteller, like Jonathon the Storyteller. The stories had seemed true from his lips, like they were woven into who he was. Because they were. They were his own history, his own birthright.
And now Jonan’s. Calinnae’s eyes flicked to his friend. He could make no sense of Jonan’s expression as he heard exactly what Calinnae had predicted—something they didn’t want to know.
Rebellion (from Chapter Eighteen)
[Cal] joined the group running for the exit. He still held Elnora’s hand, but he had lost Jonan in the melee, and that realization sent a shot of fear through him. The escapees shouted as they ran, a wild and dangerous sound. They raced for the stairs, the startled exclamations of the few deckhands still below being swallowed up as the stampede overwhelmed them. There was a brief bottleneck at the stairs, then Cal and Elnora burst out on the deck above.
The scene was one of utter chaos as sixty youth, many bearing unlocked shackles as weapons, clashed with the sailors. Some broke free and ran immediately for the gangplank, taking off into the night, but many seemed ready to stay and do battle with their would-be captors. Cal searched the crowd frantically for Jonan. He knew Jo wouldn’t have taken off down the gangplank without them. Sure enough, he soon spotted his friend banging furiously on a door set below the upper deck. Cal’s heart plummeted as he realized what Jonan was doing.
Stifling an oath, he did the only thing he could, and rushed to his friend’s aid.
“Come out, you coward!”
A momentary lull fell over the scene as the captain appeared in the doorway of his cabin. The man was tall and commanding, and Cal saw the dangerous gleam in his eyes as they took in the action on the deck, then came to rest on Jonan.
“What is this mutiny?” he demanded, his clear voice somehow carrying across the uproar.
“No mutiny,” spat Jonan, balling his fists. “We are no crew of yours. Just justice. Time for you to answer for your crimes.”
The man looked amused as he glanced down into Jonan’s furious face, his eyes gliding over the youth’s lean frame.
“And who are you to pass judgment on me and my crimes?”
For an infinitesimal moment, time seemed to pause as Cal watched the scene before him. Jo stood bravely before this cold-blooded monster, a light glowing in his eyes. In a flash Cal saw past all Jo’s boyish impetuosity and restlessness, and glimpsed the king he could be.
But he also saw the danger Jo was in. They were all in danger. With the appearance of the captain more of the freed captives had fled, and he couldn’t be sure that the traders wouldn’t be able to subdue and recapture those that remained. And that wasn’t even counting the danger Jo posed to himself.
Cal stepped forward, intervening before Jo’s hot head could betray him into another unwise declaration.
“We’re Kyonans, that’s who we are,” he growled at the captain. “And we’re not going to stand by while you enslave our countrymen.”