The Fantasy Review’s Spoiler-Free Review of Curse of the Fallen by H.C. Newell.
If you’re going to write a fantasy novel, this is how you do it! Curse of the Fallen by H.C. Newell brings the best of Tolkien wrapped in a much darker tone, and there isn’t a thing I would change about it.
From the character work to the worldbuilding, Curse of the Fallen checks all the tick-boxes for fantasy fans, headed up with our main protagonist, Neer. We get a few tropes as she’s a gifted (or rather, cursed) individual with abilities outlawed by a religious order. I’ve seen it before, but it’s done very well.
I particularly enjoyed her core motivation: to live a normal life. The obvious obstacle is her power, so we see an inner turmoil that really drives the story forwards at a good pace.
The side-characters are good too, with Newell not shying away from giving them enough time on the page to come alive. They’re complex, interesting, and real.
My quick sell would be that if you want to read a dark fantasy novel with fantastic characters, a cool magic system, interesting world, and exciting plot, all woven together with a fantastic writing style, read Curse of the Fallen!