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Too Many Curses by A. Lee Martinez
Review by Paul Haggerty
Tor Books Paperback  ISBN/ITEM#: 9780765318350
Date: 02 September 2008 List Price $14.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Article /

Nessy is the caretaker for the castle of Margle the Horrendous, a truly mad and evil wizard. It's a job that Nessy takes very seriously. Sure, she's well aware that Margle is going to kill her someday. It's inevitable when you work for a great wizard. But in the mean time, it's a good job; it keeps food in her belly and a roof over her head. And she has plenty of people to talk to … far too many in fact. Margle is so absolutely full of himself that he never bothers to kill his enemies. Instead he curses them and brings them to live in the castle. Here there are mice, birds, statues, fogs, disembodied voices, and hundreds of other victims, all doomed to live, transformed, where Margle can gloat over them. Until, that is, the day when Margle makes the one miscalculation that everyone is the castle has been waiting for and is eaten by a nurgax. While everyone agrees that this should break the curses, nothing changes. And so it's now up to Nessy to learn magic, break curses, tame demons, and protect the castle from invading wizards. And she still has to find the time to dust the furniture and wash the floors.

From official release/information:

Product Description: The wizard Margle the Horrendous takes special pride in never killing his enemies. Instead, he transforms them into various accursed forms and locks them away in his castle. His halls are filled with his collection of fallen heroes and defeated villains, along with a few ordinary folk who were just unfortunate enough to draw Margle's attention.

It's Nessy's duty to tend this castle. It's a lot of work, but she manages, taking pride in housekeeping talents that keep the castle from collapsing into chaos. But when Margle suddenly dies, everything begins to unravel. Nessy finds herself surrounded by monsters, curses, a door that should never be opened, and one very deadly dark wizardess.

Nessy doesn't have might or magic on her side; she's just a kobold: short, furry, and sensible. Her allies aren't much better: a voice without a body, an angry fruit bat, a monster under her bed, a wizard in a jar (or some of him, anyway), and a one-eyed, one-horned, flying, purple, people eater. It would be smarter to walk away, but taking care of the castle is Nessy's job, and that's just what she intends to do.

If only she could find time to polish the silver while beating back the forces of darkness.

(Source: Tor Books)

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