(Released: January 2, 2012)
From the Cover:
In a world where marriage is forbidden, sex is only granted to male warriors, and the outer realm is full of murderous creatures, Arianna fights to protect the life of her only living relative, her brother.
Tardon, an elite warrior, is granted anything he desires by the Elders, but finds little joy in the voluptuous women presented to him. Born for the bloodlust found only in battle, complicated emotions emerge when he discovers his equal in the alluring warrior, Arianna.
Charged by the Elders with saving the castle from attack, Tardon and Arianna risk the curse when they traverse the vast outer realm to retrieve serum from the Tree of Life. If successful, the Elders have promised Tardon the right to marry and Arianna the cure for her brother's death fever. Will their love carry them through or will the discovery of a great deception be their ultimate demise?
With the death of her parents, and the loss of her sister to the curse, Arianna becomes the sole provider for her and her brother, Marcus. She is forced by circumstance to become the only thing that will garner her the respect and wealth needed for them to survive, she becomes the first female warrior. But, she has to work harder, train with greater zeal, and be twice as good for the Elders to grant her entrance into the elite warrior status. She'll never be allowed to marry, never to know a man. It is forbidden.
Tardon has been an elite warrior, one of the best, the strongest, the bloodthirstiest for many years. It becomes his responsibility to train Arianna, then to provide the test for the Elders to either pass or fail the first female warrior. But, could his judgement be skewed? Is she really worthy to become an elite warrior? The Elders have little use for the female warrior. But, when the cursed breach the walls of the castle, she is called upon with the others to save their kingdom.
Then, Marcus falls ill, he's been in the lower recesses of the castle, helping the sick and poor. Arianna needs a healer, but healers answer to the Elders. She'll need Tardon's help if she's going to save her brother. But, at what cost? Her love for Tardon grows, but when it's Arianna who is stricken, it's all Tardon can do to keep himself from her. But, there love will only denied for so long. Will their love cost both of them their lives?
The Curse of Gremdon by Ciara Knight is a high fantasy romance, paranormal in that the Elders aren't what they appear to be and neither are the cursed. It's storyline is set in a repressed society, but it's the repression that helps the Elders control those who live within the walls of the realm. At first, it was hard to be sympathetic to the hero's plight and there's the unrequited love for both Tardon and Arianna. Then, as you get to know him, you discover he has more depth and more heart. But, it really comes back to the repression of Arianna, even as the mighty warrior, her life is so limited. To be with a man could bring certain death, though the male warriors are offered women as a means of appeasement, to keep their needs in check, a double standard of the worse kind. It's not until the two escape the confines of the walls that they grow and become the true hero and heroine this story needs.
The Curse of Gremdon is dichotomy. The women are separate and not equal to the men. It's the an almost polar opposite of our society (I say almost, because of the recent rhetoric in politics), but easily understood, and detested. Life within the wall for this fantasy realm would be unbearable, both for the repression and the horrible treatment of the people who live there. It's also an excellent story, a captivating read that demanded my attention. I had to see if our lovers would survive, if the Elders would remain in control or if they would meet their much deserved ends. It's another recommended read for me. Fantasy lovers and paranormal romance lovers would find it most easy to devour. Five out of five fairy kisses for this reader.
I received my ebook as a prize in a contest held by Ms. Knight. All opinions expressed are my own.