“Better to live without fear than follow rules that will bring you down anyway.”
Curio was fantastic! This is one of those books that, upon finishing, left me majorly upset. How could something so fascinating, so unique, so brilliant be over? I found myself immediately looking to finding and buying a sequel, only to be disappointed thoroughly because as of right now there is no sequel. My assumption is that there will be one in the future, though the jury is out on exactly when that will be.
Curio begins in a dystopian-style world in which people known as Chemists control the sickly population simply by having the only treatment for the starvation disease that plagues them. This alone, along with the rules they’ve built for their society–in which women are not permitted to be touched by any man to whom they are not married–makes for a pretty intriguing story right from the start.
Take that and add some rather interesting magic, a cabinet full of porcelain doll-like and mechanical wind up people in which our main character, Grey, finds herself falling into one night and I was quite simply blown away. And that’s without even getting into how mind blowing this story’s major villain was. I cannot believe how much I love to hate him. He somehow manages to personify just the right amounts of cruel and creepy all at once.
Now, I wont say that Curio was perfect. There are a number of flaws in the novel, existing in the vague and at times confusing backstory of the world and characters. There was also a brief insta-love moment that I wasn’t very fond of. Finally, the drastically different paths the story took as a result of the two drastically different worlds was somewhat distracting. In a way, it almost felt like two different novels. I would have liked to see certain pieces of the worlds explored a little more.
And yet I still rated Curio 5 stars, something I would not ordinarily do if I had any complaint whatsoever about the novel.
Despite the moments of confusion and the times I grew frustrated as the POV switched from Grey in the Curio cabinet to Whit in the real world when I simply needed to know what was happening elsewhere, I loved every second of reading this book. In truth, the most egregious thing Denmark included in her novel was the insta-love moment. And it wasn’t enough for me to dock any points.
The world in the Curio cabinet was beautiful, intriguing in ways that I’ve never before experienced. Characters were endearing from the very disturbing darkness of some to the determined fight for equality from others. The world was just so masterfully built that I found myself desperate for anything more that the author could give me. Denmark never disappointed me, really, but rather found a way to leave me more and more fascinated as the story progressed.
I loved it and I’m eager, even desperate, for more.