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The Crowfield Curse

The Crowfield Curse is a middlegrade/YA fantasy novel by Pat Walsh.

After losing his entire family to a fire that he inexplicably survived, Will has become a servant at Crowfield Abbey – where he receives food and board for his assisting the monks.

On an ordinary day of gathering firewood in the forest of the medieval village, he hears a cry for help – a cry of pain. But what he finds is a creature no larger than a cat – it’s a hobgoblin. He’s wounded, caught in a trap. Despite being alarmed at the fact that he’s never seen a being like it, and by the fact that it talks, Will helps the creature and takes it to Brother Snail – one of the only monks Will feels truly comfortable with.

It’s not long before Will realizes that the quiet life at the Abbey is surrounded by magic – and curses. The hob confesses knowledge of something buried deep in the snow, beyond the graveyard – something that had wings and shone with beauty. Something that has cursed the land.

Will finds himself thrust into the mystery as two shadowy guests arrive at the Abbey and the monks own cryptic behavior raise suspicion. Will is drawn into the dangerous pull of finding answers…

The Crowfield Curse is full of haunted woods, small talking creatures, spooky specters, cagey boarders, Old Magic, perilous curses, and a dead presence in the forest that sparks a firestorm of questions – exciting!

It wasn’t hard to be sucked in to this story. First off, I really liked Will. He’s sympathetic without being self-pitying. He’s nice, caring, and easy to root for. Also, the 14th century Abbey life is made to feel real – an unusual setting for what becomes a broad, intricate, thrilling fantasy novel full of fay.

I loved how, as I read The Crowfield Curse, I sensed the wintry cold atmosphere and felt like I was in the forest with Will and the hob as they searched for answers while feeling like they were being watched. There are some truly chilling moments! Not to mention, distressing moments, with animals, that reek of evil – all the better to enlighten the good – which are thankfully lessoned a little by Will’s loving attitude.

We have a great, final standoff involving multiple parties from human, to fay, to other beings with an excellent setup for a sequel – which there is, called The Crowfield Demon. I’ll be reviewing that one on Wednesday.

The Crowfield Curse was really gratifying. Terrific fantasy mixed with medieval time period detail. I recommend it!

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