This epic fantasy novel is full of diverse and well-realised characters, intriguing worldbuilding, vivid and descriptive writing, as well as fun-to-read dialogue. It tells the tale of one girl’s self-discovery and ‘awakening’. This is just in time for a looming battle with a wayward demon goddess who tricked a god a while back and is still making trouble. The girl in question is Nurisha. She’s the adopted daughter of a retired military man-turned-smith, and has been trained by her Da in sword-fighting and archery. This kickass female character knows how to handle herself! But she’s also sweet, loyal to her father and to her husband-to-be and trusting of others.
When the birthmark on Nurisha’s wrist starts itching, she heads to the local apothecary to get it checked out. This sparks a turn of events that leads Nurisha to discover that she’s actually something much more than she realised, and that there’s a group, the Keepers of the Nine, who are currently searching for descendants of the ancient Kurintor people. The Kurintors have magic and great powers and are the only ones who can fight against the demon goddess.
But Nurisha is also being hunted down by those who are interested in her for more dubious – and not so honourable – reasons.
There are also plenty of riveting subplots, including Nurisha’s not-so-pleasant admirer who happens to be the town overseer’s son and so hard to shake off without causing trouble. He’s brilliantly described by her Da as a “coxcomb skamelar” who “ain’t worth teats on a bull.”
We also see inside the story of the ‘bad guy’ Alyelu, who has some seriously nasty father issues, as well as another young man called Xavion who is also discovering just who he is, and that he is ‘twinned’ to Nurisha (awkward! Cue lots of jealousy from her betrothed).
I really enjoyed the chapters with Nurisha, especially the moments between her and her Da. The dialogue was fun and believable and really sucked me into the story. There are a lot of unusual names, places and peoples to take in, which I enjoy, but if you’re someone who doesn’t retain more than a couple of character names then there is a handy glossary at the back to remind you who is who and what is where. There were also a few occasions when the word choice was a bit too complex for me and I had to head to Google!
Kurintor Nyusi is an enjoyable, well-paced fantasy for those who love multiple point-of-view narratives and in-depth worldbuilding.
Review by Rosalyn Kelly
MIKE from United States
I’m rapidly becoming a fan of fantasy author Aaron-Michael Hall. I was intrigued by her Rise of Nazil series, which was a complex yet fast-moving “epic fantasy” with great dialog, amazing characters, and lots of twists and turns to the plot. Her latest novel, Kurintor Nyusi, is her best so far. One of the things that I really enjoy about Hall’s stories is the complexity of the characters. The “good guys” are good, but not perfect. They have human failings and sometimes make bad choices. The “bad guys” aren’t good, but the motivations behind their actions are revealed in a way that forces the reader to empathize. The cover art of Kurintor teases, “It wasn’t prophesy, destiny, or birthright. It was choice!” and as Hall tells the story, the choices themselves and the consequences of the choices intertwine for all of the characters, good and bad, mortal and divine. Another enjoyable aspect of Hall’s characters is they are definitely not cookie-cutter or predictable. For instance, the protagonist Nurisha is the daughter of the village smith. Oh, by the way, she’s “bad-to-the-bone” with mad skilz in archery and swordsmanship, but a loyal and obedient daughter and dedicated to her promised husband-to-be. That’s just the surface, as the story unfolds the character’s tapestry is woven into greater detail and rich complexity. And that’s true of all the characters. Aaron-Michael Hall again displays her deft talent for world-building as fantasy enthusiasts expect. In Kurintor, there are multiple kingdoms and priestly castes and original mythologies. The world-building is only there as far as necessary to support the plot. Hall does not get bogged down in unnecessary and distracting detail. A word of warning, if this is your introduction to this author: do not skim. Learn the character and place names and connections as they come up, because Hall does not fill in the gaps all at once. While there is a summary of the names at the end of the book, a patient reader will certainly enjoy the process of making the connections and resolving the mysteries as the plot unfolds. Hall challenges the reader to stay involved, and rewards the reader with a very enjoyable and thought-provoking story
Tom from USA
Kurintor Nyusi is one of the most exciting and refreshing books I've read in a long time. The plot was not the usual fantasy fare, the world not like the usual worlds you find in the genre, and the characters...well, it was the characters that made this tale a pure pleasure to read. The author has created something very unique, and this is sure to be an award-winning story. Through the eyes of these believable and well-portrayed characters, the reader is treated to a wonderfully enthralling experience, seeing the world through their eyes and coming to care for each and every one of them. We feel their emotions, share in their pains and joys. Even the antagonists. Nurisha, Xavion, Qaradan, Zuri, Alyelu and so many more. Yet, while there are plenty of characters, I did not feel overwhelmed at any time while reading this book. This is fantasy as it was meant to be, not focused on creatures and landscapes, or even on the events, but on the people who live them, and we get to experience it all right along with them. I cannot say enough about how well-written this story is. This is an author all fantasy fans should keep their eyes on, and I highly recommend reading Kurintor Nyusi. I am anxiously awaiting the next book, and if this book is any indicator, the next will be magnificent!
8.8/10 from 3 reviews