About Curio (from the back cover): Grey Haward has always detested the Chemists, the magicians-come-scientists who rule her small western town. But she has always followed the rules, taking the potion the Chemists ration out that helps the town’s people survive. A potion that Grey suspects she—like her grandfather and father—may not actually need.
By working at her grandfather’s repair shop, sorting the small gears and dusting the curio cabinet inside, Grey has tried to stay unnoticed—or as unnoticed as a tall, strong girl can in a town of diminutive, underdeveloped citizens. Then her best friend, Whit, is caught by the Chemists’ enforcers after trying to protect Grey one night, and after seeing the extent of his punishment, suddenly taking risks seems the only decision she can make.
But with the risk comes the reality that the Chemists know her family’s secret, and the Chemists soon decide to use her for their own purposes. Panicked, Grey retreats to the only safe place she knows—her grandfather’s shop. There, however, a larger secret confronts her when her touch unlocks the old curio cabinet in the corner and reveals a world where porcelain and clockwork people are real. There, she could find the key that may save Whit’s life and also end the Chemists’ dark rule forever.
Plain and simple: Curio surprised me. I expected a fantasy/sci-fic with a decent storyline—sure, but there was so much more. The beginning chapter has an excellent pull, and even though the ins and outs of the laws and worlds were still foreign to me, it didn’t matter. The characters kept me reading. With its alternating character point of views, I became invested in Grey and those around her from the get go.
The beginning chapter has an excellent pull, and even though the ins and outs of the laws and worlds were still foreign to me, it didn’t matter. The characters kept me reading.
When the main heroine goes to Curio City was when things went from good to great for me as a reader. I won’t go as far as to call this part a retelling of Beauty and the Beast, because it’s not. However, it’s got that ring to it. A place of alive porcelain people whose purpose is to be as beautiful as they can and servants whose bodies are made of clock parts made it an interesting adventure.
I won’t go as far as to call this part a retelling of Beauty and the Beast, because it’s not. However, it’s got that ring to it.
Romance, yes, of course there was lots, but it didn’t go in the direction I expected it to, but it worked way better Ms. Denmak’s way. The author does a wonderful job explaining the different worlds and the past events in little snippets here and there so as not to bog down what’s happening now. There remained one or two things I still had questions about at the end, but that in no way ruined the book for me. (There is a prequel to this story, which I did not read, that might help in the parts I failed to fully grasp.) Curio’s end reaches a satisfying conclusion while leaving room for the next book in the series to start off with plenty to work with.
Megan Besing adores stories with happily-ever-afters. Her own YA writings have received many awards, including being a current finalist in ACFW’s 2015 Genesis contest. She lives in the Hoosier state (wishing it were a bit closer to the beach) with her husband, their children, a cat, and some chickens, where she enjoys an unhealthy love of vanilla cokes. Learn more about her at meganbesing.com.