Review: Curse Breaker: Guild Assassin
Curse Breaker: Guild Assassin by Berley Kerr
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Space folding, steampunk and hyper-senses make an interesting world. This is a mix of Dune and X-men world. Lead character Wendy Breca's powers seem to be a mix of the Phoenix Entity with Wolverine. Unfortunately, Wendy's maturity is more a young Rogue rather than Jean Grey, which is understandable due to her age.
Wendy Breca is an orphan committed to an insane asylum with people trying to kill her. She doesn't know why. Fortunately, she's saved by a secret organization, a discreet guild. This is where Wendy learns about her powers as well as why she's in high demand.
Wendy is a kick ass female. But she's not perfect. In fact, Mr. Kerr designs her with some pretty big flaws. Her downfall will be her lack of self-discipline. She is an alcoholic just like her mother and it's ugly. What is really confusing about Wendy for me is her fixation for a man who doesn't return her interest and is obviously another woman's man. This plot device in the story is odd. I can understand the love interest conflict but I don't understand the appeal of the man that three different women all desired. It seems forced to me. It shows me a lack of understanding of women. When three women are friends and bond, fighting over a man to this extreme is not realistic. Other than this discrepancy, Mr. Kerr did an excellent job writing from a female's perspective.
Mr. Kerr is a new to me author who is one to watch. The world he created is fascinating. It is filled with cloak and daggers through MAGE guilds and covens. It's an interesting reinterpretation of historical events. In addition, the perspective Mr. Kerr gives shows insight to how his mind works. I like it. It shows his unique ability to take something mundane and turn it into something profound. His creativity is most notable in two passages. The first one is his use of Shakespeare's work as a tool for explaining assassination techniques. This truly captured my attention and impressed me. The way each Shakespeare play can be broken down into specific methods of killing is something I will remember for a long time.
The second is his explanation of how collateral damage caused by the guilds is hidden in plain sight. It makes a reader wonder if Mr. Kerr plays with conspiracy theories and which ones he believes.
"The most horrible atrocities delivered upon mankind were caused by man himself, and God makes the perfect patsy. God can't be captured, tortured, or brought in for questioning. He doesn't rat you out, He keeps all of your secrets, and no matter how many times He stands accused of doing something He obviously didn't do, He's always right there ready to take the blame again and again. You want to know why Pantheon killed so many innocent people to get to us? Because seven dead bodies looks like a homicide, but a thousand dead bodies looks like an act of God." (p. 224)
The pace of the story and way it's written plays out similar to an action movie. Most notably, it resembles Sucker Punch due in part to the insane asylum. Where Sucker Punch ends at the escape, CURSE BREAKER just starts.
This steampunk story is recommended for readers who enjoy secret societies waging century old wars.