Curse of the Shadow Beasts Paperback – Feb 25 1999
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
A previous reviewer proclaimed this book as "slash fiction". That couldn't be any farther than the truth! Ms. Morgan has delved into her "role-playing" background, and has produced a story that doesn't just tell a story, it LIVES the story.
Elven magic-user, Arien Miranda, has to stop a malovent curse - cast by the ancestors of an enemy Elven House onto his bloodline - from ruining his chances to love again. To this end, he enlists the aid of an Elfkin theif, Cat Sabledrake (Elfkin - half-elf/half-human offspring of a Human/Elf mating, which Pure Elves will kill, citing such crossbreeds as abominations).
Together, they travel with Alphonse Bugbedead (an Orckin), Sybil Narrin (an acolyte to the sex-goddess Talopea), and a few other friends to the feared tower of Archmage Selbon - a master of alchemy - to find a book that might free Arien from his curse. This serves a double-purpose, since it is rumored that Cat's mother might just be a prisoner in this same tower.
Along the way, Cat and Co. face many adventures and strange people - most noteworthy is the Archmage Solarrin; a deformed, dwarf-sized human who is a skilled necromancer, and his Minotaur sidekick, Bostich. (Note: Ms. Morgan affectionately refers to Solarrin as "The Dungeonmaster's evil twin; in reference to the animated show "Dungeons & Dragons")
Overall, this is a great book, which will give insight to the world of "Role-Playing Adventures" to a lot of us that don't play RP-Games. It's also a fantastic fantasy, filled with action, suspense, danger, romance, and a little twisted comedy that is a trademark of Ms. Morgans work; which comes from a long line of written fan-fiction; a fact which proves her dedication to the writing craft, by honing her skill and talent in what many professionals call "the no-mans land of writing".
Overall, if you are looking for a great addition to your collection of fantasy books, get "Curse of The Shadow Beasts" today. I not only say this as a reader and a writer, but as a long time fan of Ms. Morgan's work. This is a great story!
Putting it shortly: provided the reader has even a grain of imagination he/she will Feel. Feel, as in share the pain, the loss, the laughs and the joys of Arien, Cat or any of the cast.
And while waiting for the sequel, you can ask yourself whether or not also you know an Alphonse, or a Greyquin, or even a Cat. For such is the cast, that should you manage to ignore the matter of species, elven or orc etc. you may find friends of yours riding through the forest, on occasion even family.
Life is simple. Death is simple. Living is the hard part. (I won't get in trouble for quoting, will I?)
Poignant intrigues, attaching characters, and one of the dealiest sneakiest vilain I've ever known. and most of all non-human races that have more than one dimension, far from the stereotypes of the genre.
I tell you guys, this book is a MUST READ! (like 99% of Christine's stories, anyway!)
Elf, human, gnome and dwarf live in the same city, yet it is an abomination for attraction to grow and if a child is ever spawned with impure elven blood, it is drowned at birth.
Arien, an elf mage never questioned the wisdom or necessity of this practice, then, an elfkin saves his life. Now, he must face truths, some from his own past and some from the world at large... thus, he leaves his scolarly life and embarks on a quest .... you won't regret reading this great story.