Read Too Many Curses by A. Lee Martinez Online


From the Alex Award-winning author of Gil’s All Fright DinerMargle the Horrendous takes special pride in never killing his enemies. Instead, the wizard 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.It’s Nessy’s duty to tend this castle. It’s a lot of work, but sFrom the Alex Award-winning author of Gil’s All Fright DinerMargle the Horrendous takes special pride in never killing his enemies. Instead, the wizard 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.It’s Nessy’s duty to tend this castle. It’s a lot of work, but she takes 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. 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....

Title : Too Many Curses
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780765318350
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 316 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Too Many Curses Reviews

  • ᴥ Irena ᴥ
    2019-01-17 07:42

    'The fate of the universe didn't rest in the hands of giants. It could be found in the littlest things.' This book is a true gem. I don't know if you need to be in the right mood for this kind of fantasy or what but I loved every single hilarious and sad moment of it. If you've enjoyed Terry Pratchett's Discworld and the craziness of Ankh-Morpork then you definitely won't be disappointed by Too Many Curses, only on a much smaller scale. It takes place in one castle, after all.Meet Nessy. She is a kobold. She works for a wizard so horrible that his castle is full of the cursed. You don't truly appreciate Margle's evil until you meet various characters he cursed. His castle is full of heroes, villains or just people who annoyed him. Their curses are colourful as they are cruel. Some even have more than one. Thanks to bad luck (or good, depending on whom you ask), Nessy ends up dealing with every single creature and problem the castle has. She is not alone, though. You see, Nessy has friends and she will find out what she is capable of when it comes to defending them and keeping an old, dusty castle in order. Others will find their own strengths and where their loyalty lies. Nessy has to deal with a lot. With the evil wizard gone 'in this mostly evil, slightly good, and extremely annoyed castle, things began to happen.' The worst thing is, The Door At The End Of The Hall starts acting out and that is one door she never wanted to open.I can't even describe how wonderful this story is. There is death and it's full of darkest humour and it will make you happy, weird as that sounds. I mean, just look at some of these conversations:"Aye, it's high time we kill that evil bastard." "And how exactly do we do that?" asked Echo. "All I need is an opening, a moment of weakness. Then I pounce from the shadows and rip out his throat." "You're a fruit bat." "I've still teeth, lass." "Nessy has to peel oranges before she gives them to you." "Ach, have ye ever tried nipping an orange rind?" said Sir Thedeus. "I'm telling ye, it canna be done." An owl who has two curses - one of endless alliteration and the other an owl form. "Fleeing from this fiendish fauna might be fortuitous." "What?" "She's telling you to run," translated Morton. ... "Unquestionably undead," said Olivia. "But a big beast brutalized the bell-ridden being with such salacious savagery that the King's continued corporeality could be called into question." Nessy was in the middle of dissecting Olivia's sentence when Morton sped things along with a translation. "Some giant thing ate him." Then you have talking books.'The book slammed shut, nearly smacking her hand. "Should've warned you," sputtered the Hanged Man. "He doesn't like to be read. And he can be a little verbose." "I am not," shouted the book.' A hilarious take on the Sword in the Stone legend.The sword was plunged and unplunged over and over again. Until, one fateful day, its latest dying hero thrust it once again into the nearest convenient object. "I plunge this blade into this . . . cabbage? Oh damn." I don't want to spoil anything, but the above are just one tiny part of this story. Nothing happens the way you expect. For example, an evil character escapes its prison and instead of going after Nessy, her friends or destroying the castle, it runs into a toad. Oh my God, that is a hilarious encounter.I loved this book so much. I started reading it by accident and it made my day. 'Mercy isn't earned. It's given.'

  • Algernon
    2019-02-04 07:26

    A horrible comedy with some serious undertones, of the kind that Terry Pratchett remains the undisputed master of, for me. There is enough room in the genre for other voices that like to play with the tropes of fantasy and turn our expectations upside down. Diana Wynne Jones, Jim C Hines, Tom Holt, Christopher Moore are the names I'm already familiar with. A. Lee Martinez is the newest member of this club for me, withToo Many Cursesbeing my second foray into his works.The setting of this fun romp is the magical castle of Margle the Horrendous, evil wizard extraordinaire, and collector of fearsome monsters, magical artefacts, demons, magic tomes and former enemies. The last category seems to form the greater part of the castle's population, given Margle's predilection for keeping his adversaries alive but cursed to spend the years in altered form as gargoyles, ghosts, bats, toads, animated puppets, headless skeletons, mirror images, talking pots of soup and so on. The author's imagination runs rampant with apparently every magical creature ever encountered in a fantasy novel, in one grotesque form after another.Margle the Horrendous is not the main hero of the story though, given an unfortunate incident with slippery floors in the opening chapter, leaving the main scene open for his faithfull and prozaic housekeeper Nessie, a dog-like kobold with a compulsion for order and cleanliness. What follows is a chaotic ride through a Tunnel of Horrors as Nessie struggles to keep things from breaking apart in the absence of the master. Beyond the comedy and the inventiveness, I enjoyed the more serious tones about responsibility, friendship, courage and determination. Like I said, the story may not reach the emotional intensity and the depth of observation of later Discworld novels, but it was still a damn good journey, and I plan to check out more from the back log of A Lee Martinez.

  • Mauoijenn ~ *Mouthy Jenn* ~
    2019-02-03 06:49

    I really didn't get into this one as much as the rest of Martinez's work. The story line was intriguing but just didn't hold a spark to make me want to rave about it. My opinion, of course.

  • Seth
    2019-01-21 06:30

    This one is a lot of fun: a quick pace, lots of humor, a clever problem, and a very likeable protagonist. Martinez keeps the navel-gazing under control (but still includes his usual theme of individual identity as distinct from origin) and lets the story take the front seat.It's a puzzle piece. Our heroine is Nessy. She's a magician's housekeeper. She's a recidivist magician's domestic, actually, since Margle the Horrendous is her third employer, which means she's either very good as a housekeeper (which she is) or very good at picking bosses who are going to die before they decide to kill her in a fit of pique (which she may well be). She knows that her career is likely to kill her, but she's good at it and it gives her a sense of fulfillment. Along about the second chapter or so, Margle dies, in a way that was probably an accident but could be construed as murder. Nessy isn't convinced that Margle is gone for good. She wants to carry on for a while. So there's our heroine's entire motivation: keep doing her job: she's good at it, she enjoys it, and no one in the world could do it to passable standards without her help. If Margle comes back, the castle will be in good shape, and if he doesn't then maybe whoever claims it will let her live. It may seem like a small goal for a heroine, but it really works for her.There have to be complications, of course. On the one hand, they are awaiting (and fearing) the indisputable evidence that will convince Nessy that Margle isn't coming back from the dead: other wizards arriving to take his stuff. It always happens. And they won't care what happens to the staff, unless they decide Nessy's part of the "stuff" and take her. So Nessy seals the castle until they can sort things out (not that this would stop a major spellcaster). The bigger complication is the evidence that convinces everyone else that Margle is gone forever: his spells start unraveling.The spells' collapsing is a problem because of Margle's little quirks. He was a collector. He collected... enemies. Instead of killing his enemies he transformed them, cursed them, or otherwise bottled them up in some clever way and kept them in his castle, making a sort of showroom of dangerous, insane, evil, and very, very, very angry warriors, demons, wizards, and poets. (Well, maybe just the one poet.) Some of them have been turned into creatures (a fruitbat is a major character), some wander the halls in various doomed displays, some are figures in paintings, and some are actually part of the castle itself. Over the course of the book various of Margle's enemies and conquests start to return, leaving Nessy with a castle-full of angry enemies trapped in with them. Some of the newly-uncursed refuse to believe Margle is dead, some are trying to destroy other of the formerly-cursed castle residents, and some are just happy to kill someone. Nessy and her friends are in a race but they don't know how long it is: either Margle is coming back from the dead, in which case they have one very angry, hair-trigger wizard to deal with, or he isn't, in which case they have to face whatever nasty traps and retribution he had planned for anyone who killed him.Oh yes... Margle left behind some sort of final punishment for whoever killed him. No one knows what it is, but it's going to be a doozy.So there you have the basic slapstick side. Nessy wants the castle to stay basically the same, she wants it to run on a schedule and to order, and she wants to keep her head down and avoid being important. The situation is inherently chaotic, her few friends (all former enemies bested by Margle) want to make major changes, and she is having to improvise in ways she doesn't think she's very capable.It provides lots of humor, although some is in the "Pink Panther" vein of running as fast as possible just to stay in one place.Martinez wisely lets the slapstick drive the book. Then he spreads two layers on top: a mystery/caper/puzzle and a coming-of-age story. The mystery/caper/puzzle provides the "ticking clock" that pushes the character growth story. A wizard--actually the sorceress Tiama the Scarred-- does show up to look over Margle's possessions; she's also the most dangerous, most terrifying, and most powerful magician Nessy has ever heard of. She takes her time, taunts Nessy in various ways, and makes it clear that she's after something specific and Nessy had better get it for her quickly. The heroes are torn between their hatred of Margle, their fear of the newcomer, their opinions about the castle as a whole, and their complete lack of information about Margle's greater treasures. As the realization dawns on the that the sorceress' goals may involve the "Door That Must Not Be Opened"--one place in the castle Nessy has never been, the one place that scared even Margle--they realize they have to intervene in several directions at once to prevent some sort of catastrophe. The questions push Nessy to rethink a lot of what she knows about magic, Margle, herself, and the world at large. The character story is where Martinez falls back on the theme common across his books: Am I, as an individual, bound by the circumstances of my creation? In The Automatic Detective the protag was created by a mad scientist to destroy the world. In Gil's All Fright Diner the questions revolve around creation as a supernatural being. In In the Company of Ogres the issue is thrown at the reader so often and so forcefully that I don't even want to mention it. The philosophical question is handled very well here. The character growth is believable enough and doesn't interfere with the story. The conclusions that matter are not really stated outright, but the book lingered in my mind because of that, which enriched it.Too Many Curses succeeds as well as it does largely because the character story is broken into at least three parallel parts: 1) Nessy is a housekeeper and happy to be one. To my American reading she appears to fit right in to the Masterpiece Theater/Merchant-Ivory role of being "in service" and she considers that role necessary and sufficient. She turns this into a flaw when she equates this focus on her world and her expertise with being constitutionally unambitious. To manage the ongoing collapse of the castle, Nessy has to step outside her role and see it in the larger contexts of the castle, its inhabitants, and her own life. In some ways this echoes the Thomas Covenant "But I'm a leper" whining, but Nessy doesn't really whine. She will try to save the castle and her friends, but she took the job fully expecting it to destroy her someday.2) Nessy isn't human. She's a kobold (small humanoid with dog-like features and a really fast four-legged run). She's learned her whole life that she's small and insignificant; kobolds make good servants, but they have never amounted to much in history, either individually or as a race. She doesn't need to go on some sort of "kobold pride" bender, but it has been her lifelong faith that she's built for running and hiding rather than making a difference. And she needs to make a difference quickly.3) The problems surrounding her--whether Margle will return, the curses unraveling, the sorceress searching the castle, the great, big, scary something trying to get out of Margle's special room, the demon upstairs trying to make a deal with her--are all magical in nature. Not only is she completely untrained (although she does read odd pages of books as she's re-shelving them), but kobolds are incapable of performing serious magic, which makes understanding it very difficult. She has some friends around to help her (cursed enemies of Margle, like the fruitbat and the jar containing the brain of Margle's brother), but kobolds seem to be genetically limited in their abilities.Obviously, these three challenges intertwine. Nessy can't really deal with one unless she deals with them all. This gives us a nice take on Martinez' favorite character dilemma and lets us switch things around rather than wallowing in one pit of angst. It also helps that Nessy is too practical to stay stuck for very long.Too Many Curses has one other, essential point in its favor. Nessy is a very, very likeable protagonist. I want a sequel just to spend some more time in her company. That could have overcome a weak plot, poorly-handled humor, or clumsy character growth. Fortunately, it didn't have to.The resolution of the various plots won't completely surprise you, but there will probably be one or two interesting bits you didn't expect. All in all, extreme cleverness is displayed by the character (living and dead) and the author. It is certainly satisfying enough for this book and encouraging enough that I'd love a sequel, although I don't think Martinez has ever written two books in the same setting, so I don't expect to be seeing Nessy again.To summarize: Too Many Curses is a fun read with humor, good puzzles/problems to solve, an engaging heroine, and a well-thought-out plot.

  • Gary
    2019-01-31 23:34

    I really love books that crack me up. Big time.I tried so hard not to burst into laughter while on the bus -- and ended up smiling idiotically to myself instead. I'm officially a fan of this author now. He knows how to make me laugh out loud!The Story:Nessy is a kobold (look up what a kobold is if you're clueless) and is the only servant in dark wizard Margle's castle. But when Margle returned with a Nurgax egg which broke open by accident, he was devoured by the odd creature. Nessy being the second living thing the Nurgax saw, was imprinted and both of them bonded.The death of Margle was both good and bad news. He was hated by all who were cursed by him, stuck within the castle. The bad news was, the castle seemed to be collapsing without him.Weird things started to happen in the castle, and a mysterious yet powerful wizardess has come to visit Margle in the thick of things. Can Nessy, with the help of the cursed souls of the castle, help turn things back to normal once again? And was Margle really dead?What I Liked About the Book:1. It was fresh, unique and pretty interesting. The characters were amazing -- different personalities which I haven't come across before. I mean, the lead character is a kobold! It's nice for a change from the usual human lead. My favourites were Sir Thedeus, a human hero cursed into a fruit bat; Echo, a female ghost with just a voice and nothing else (not even an apparition); Yazpib, Margle's brother who was cursed to a jar of floating facial features, and many more. They were such a delight to read about!2. IT WAS HILARIOUS. I don't know how the author did it, but the way he wrote the funny parts, it was effortless. It wasn't the least bit forced, and the spontaneity was really natural. I had a great time laughing!3. What surprised me most was that there were actually some valuable life lessons I could learn from, mostly through Nessy's words. I thought it was brilliant that the author managed to inject something worthwhile in an otherwise funny and entertaining story. I definitely got some thinking and reflecting done!What I Didn't:1. Some parts were slow, especially the beginning.Verdict:This book was a great read, and I encourage you guys to give it a try. I guarantee that you'll be snorting with laughter soon enough!

  • Athena
    2019-02-02 07:40

    "Not every employer had been maliciously insane, but all had carried unhealthy oddities of personality."An enjoyable enough read from Martinez, not nearly as side-splittingly hilarious as Gil's All Fright Diner but it had its moments. Martinez is very good at creating characters that seem quite real in amongst all the chaos and that holds true in Curses as well, it just didn't quite tickle my funnybone as much as some of his other books. 2 stars: it was ok

  • Kressel Housman
    2019-01-26 07:33

    There's nothing like a comic fantasy, especially when you've recently read a realistic tragedy. The protag of this book is Nessy, a kobold, which is a creature with human intelligence and a dog's body. She works as a housekeeper in the castle of an evil wizard, and she is by no means alone. The castle is full of cursed souls who got on the wrong side of the wizard and who want nothing more than to see him dead so they can go back to their old forms. The most prominent of these is Sir Thaddeus, who used to be a knight, but is now a bat who talks with a Scottish brogue. There's also Echo, a former poet turned into a disembodied voice, which is an aptly funny curse for a poet. There are many other such creatures, but I won't tell you about them because it'll spoil all the jokes.Unfortunately, when the evil wizard dies, the curses don't break. As a matter of fact, once he's gone, the dark creatures of the castle - and there are many of them - really start to go haywire. So it's an all-out battle of good vs. evil with complex twists and turns of magic and plenty of laughs in between. Harry Potter fans will definitely enjoy it; it's similar without being a copycat. Have fun!

  • Cathy
    2019-02-06 23:47

    Very cute. It reminded me a bit of a cuter, funnier Simon R. Green book just because he likes to come up with a ton of crazy ideas in each of his Nightside or Eddie Drood/Secret Histories books too. But Green often doesn't bother working the wild monsters or mysterious people into his stories, he just has the main characters describing them in countless pages or minutes of audio that have nothing to do with the plot, like tour masters of the weird. Martinez does a much better job in this book of working his creative ideas into a story that consistently moves forward. Nessy was a very appealing character, impossible not to like, and the supporting cast of cursed heroes and villains, princes and princesses, demons and monsters, were all a lot of fun. It was a fun story.

  • Jennifer
    2019-02-17 04:38

    It went by quickly. Very imaginative. Aklittle too much on the cute side for me, but I will read his other books.

  • Shan
    2019-01-31 02:52

    Funny and sweet. Nessy the kobold, who enjoys nothing more than Polishing Day, takes on a whole castle full of troubles like a Hell Hound, a Beast That Should Not Be, and an insane wizard (which it turns out is a redundant expression, since all wizards are mad), accompanied by an assortment of cursed heros like Sir Thedeus, a fruit bat, and Echo, a disembodied voice. Not to mention the nurgax, and the Sword in the Cabbage. Nessy is resourceful, pragmatic, and merciful, even to characters like Dan, the beheaded serial killer whose skull lives on the spice rack while his skeleton helps out around the kitchen. I think I'll dust my books and polish my shelves today.

  • Margaret
    2019-02-14 23:44

    What can I say, I'm a sucker for funny fantasy novels. And the way that Nessy is just so relentlessly practical plays brilliantly off of the ridiculous fantastic situations that she finds herself in. She's a great character, especially when contrasted with the absurdity of everyone else in the castle.

  • John Calligan
    2019-01-27 04:46

    I'll admit I almost put the book down because the description of the MC's familiar was too goofy. If it bothers you, I recommend you keep reading anyway. It turned out to be one of my favorite books this year. It's a really light-hearted and touching ensemble story. I loved it.

  • Kaitlyn Ferrier
    2019-02-09 07:40

    This book just leaves a warm, fuzzy feeling despite all the horrendously evil things it mentions. As always, Martinez' books are a delight to read.

  • Benjamin Kahn
    2019-01-30 03:38

    I have nothing negative to say about this book beyond the fact that it read kind of like a young adult book. I've got nothing against YA books, but I've found that I don't enjoy reading them. There just seems to be a simplicity to them that prevents me from really enjoying them. Kind of like bubble gum - it starts off with a great flavour, but then quickly becomes tasteless. Although this book was engaging enough, it just seemed like it got where it was going early and then kept treading over the same ground. Not bad, just not good enough for me to continue. I was over halfway through it when I decided I'd had enough. If you do like YA, I would recommend it, as it was well-written and fun, but I just needed it to go beyond where the author was taking it.

  • Dorothea
    2019-01-30 00:54

    Usually an entire novel's worth of comedy is more than I can stand, but I really, really enjoyed Too Many Curses. I found the humor genuinely pleasing -- it's well-timed, very imaginative, and not at all mean-spirited -- but I think what really drew me in was the fact that this book coincidentally hits a number of my sweet spots:(1) There's a stock fantasy setting, but the protagonist is the kind of being who's normally cannon fodder or otherwise disposable and not individualized in a stock fantasy setting. (Allow me to plug Jim Hines' books about Jig the Goblin here!) In this case the main character, Nessy, is a kobold.(2) Nessy is not royalty, a warrior, a wizard, or anything else from the list of Dungeons and Dragons character classes. There's no revelation at any point that she's the long-lost Wielder of the McGuffin or anything like that. She's the housekeeper for a wicked wizard, and that's it. Her skills are organizing and cleaning and solving problems like "How do I entertain a bored, uninvited guest who has evil magic?" She also does the "Yes, master!" grovelling Igor bit and Martinez manages to make this in-character in a very interesting way.(3) Nessy finds the minutiae of her job very satisfying, and the narrative dwells lovingly on her different tasks. I love to read about that, no matter what the job is.(4) Nessy is competent, responsible, and kind. She likes to assume the best of people, even when they are monsters, and she doesn't make careless mistakes. I think that some readers might be bored by Nessy, but I was completely charmed. I don't like embarrassment humor and often reading about bad situations that could have been avoided makes me uncomfortable. Too Many Curses is a very comfortable read for me, mostly because of Nessy.I can definitely see myself reading this again more than once. I'm curious about Martinez's other books, but I might not enjoy his writing quite as much when it's not about Nessy.Two minor quibbles:- (this is really minor!) I wish there were a different cover. Not so much because I don't like the existing one (I don't, but that doesn't matter much) but because I wish there were a good picture of Nessy on it! I used to think kobolds were little goblin-type creatures. The internet thinks they have something to do with lizards. But Nessy has fangs, claws, big ears, and FUR. She can be bipedal or quadrupedal depending on the situation, and she wears clothes. I imagine her looking like a medium-sized, rather cute dog, but I would have appreciated a picture to clear things up.(Actually, I would appreciate pictures of everything in this book! Every chapter would make for amusing visuals. In fact, maybe there should be an animated miniseries...)- (less minor) If you are bothered, as is very reasonable, with "insanity" played for laughs or dramatic effect, or equated with a tendency to violence, then there are definitely parts of this book that you won't like. The worst to me were the parts about Decapitated Dan, who is a disembodied skull. He actually has an interesting character arc, but it's established that he was "crazy" in life and now in death, and he's a cringeworthy collection of "crazy" stereotypes: he rants, laughs maniacally, howls, craves violence for its own sake, etc. I really didn't like reading about that. I'll skip these parts on future re-reads, but one can't avoid them completely because Decapitated Dan is necessary to the plot.

  • David Caldwell
    2019-02-09 01:42

    Margle is a malevolent mage. He doesn't kill his enemies(or even those he just feels slighted him in some small way) since that would be too quick of a punishment. Instead, he curses them by transforming them into something or making them a wandering spirit. All of these cursed individuals are trapped inside his castle. Nessy is a kobold in his employ. It is her task to keep the castle clean and in running order. Nessy is highly practical and efficient and fully expects to die a violent death at the hands of Margle some day.I really enjoy A. Lee Martinez's stories. They are usually filled with quirky situations and characters with a solid fantasy story foundation. This story has all of that going for it, but it has one small flaw that keeps it from being quite as enjoyable as some of his other works. This book lacks a steady flow of action so it seems to have filler added to it. The reader is reminded over and over how practical , efficient, and steady that Nessy is. Story threads are introduced but not explored very much. The best examples are the Gorgon fog and Nessy learning magic.The strong suit for this book is the many varied characters, both main and minor. They range from a homicidal maniac that is beheaded and is now a crazy skull and a polite skeletal body to a very hungry carpet to an alliterative owl in love with a mouse to a disembodied voice and many others. There is also a very nice overall message to the story.I would rate this story as 3.5 stars.

  • Stephen
    2019-02-17 00:34

    Nessy is the servant of a dark wizard named Nargle, her job is to keep his cursed castle in relative order. Which is kind of difficult considering her master's penchant for cursing his enemies and collecting them in his castle. Nessy has her hands full with haunted staircases, bleeding walls, and gargoyles that won't stop talking when they need to be polished.Nessy is at peace with her place in the world though, and takes pride in her work. That is, until her master gets swallowed by a nargax. Now she is left to tend the castle in his absence, which she is perfectly capable of doing, except the castle seems to have a mind of its own, and things quickly spiral out of her control.I really liked just about everything about Too Many Curses, the characters were great and the humor was spot on for me. I've said numerous times that Martinez doesn't get enough attention for his contribution to the fantasy/humor genre, and this is another prime example of why I feel that way.My only one complaint is that, because there is no firm antagonist throughout most of the book, it feels a little directionless, particularly in the middle of the novel. I didn't mind this at all, because I was still adequately entertained by the antics of the characters, but it's what kept me from giving it a full 5-star rating. It's still a great book though!

  • Nick Mariner
    2019-02-15 07:55

    I read this book in one day. It's a quick read, which makes it an enjoyable beach book if nothing else. I read it in a single day, though, because it was nearly impossible to put down. And when I did put it down, to eat or to bathe or to work, I felt guilty for abandoning Nessy and her squad of accursed rabble in their battle against a sentient, mostly evil but slightly good castle. I have yet to read a book by A Lee Martinez that I don't like, and after reading this one, I realized that what captivates me in his work is the cast of characters he puts together in each story to make the tale so engrossing. I would say that the characters in Too Many Curses are his most endearing, believable and terrifying. It's impossible not to fall in love with Nessy the kobold housekeeper or her band of allies, from a disembodied poet, an irascible, silver-polishing gnome, a monster under the bed who just likes a good bedtime story and a skeleton whose body is nothing but polite and whose head is nothing but awful. I strongly recommend this read to anyone who loves a pleasantly unfolding tale chocked full of laughs, second guesses and mega-happy endings.

  • Dawn
    2019-02-14 06:25

    Nessy is the keeper of a powerful wizard’s castle. She makes sure the floors are swept, the bleeding wall is regularly mopped, and the strange creatures in the dungeons are fed the right foods at appropriate intervals. Once the wizard inadvertently gets himself killed, it’s up to Nessy to keep the castle and its inhabitants from the possibility of even greater harm than the usual mix of magical nonsense running awry.Oddly enough, I’d recommend this book to stay-at-home Moms, and/or people interested in Zen Buddhism. I realize that’s an odd mix, but Nessy is a very zen character. Like Nessy, a stay-at-home Mom's work is simultaneously worthless and of great cosmic significance. By doing all the dull stuff that gets no glory, Nessy becomes the heart of a (very strange) home, and the glue that binds a wild assortment of freaks into a family. In the world of sci-fi/fantasy, there are next to zero characters for a stay-at-home mother to identify with. All the adventures happen to people without children--people who can leave the house. Nessy shows that staying home is its own kind of adventure.

  • Flora Smith
    2019-02-03 07:48

    This was probably one of the most enjoyable, fun reads that I have read in quite some time. Nessy is a kobold (similar to a dog but with human intelligence) who's job is to tend the castle of the evil wizard Margle. Margle's castle is full of beings under strange curses that require full time attention. One day Margle meets an unusual fate and Nessy is left to take charge of things. This was a quick fun read that was full of silliness and humor and characters that touch the heart. Nessy is small but she shows that its not always size that makes the hero and that even the smallest of us can make a difference. I would recommend this to anyone that needs a good laugh, enjoys a fun read, or is generally a kid at heart. Loved it and shall keep this to read again sometime.

  • Belinda
    2019-01-29 03:26

    Wow..just wow...(see why I am not a professional book reviewer?? ) I absolutely loved this book--like his other books, this one is a giddy mix of fantasy, horror, comedy, and strangely a morality tale. It centers around a kobold called Nessy who defies you not to love her and her tending to the castle of a wicked sorcerer. The book is funny, suspenseful and charming--the addition of Nessy (most of his lead characters leave a bit to desired in the morality department) is so heartwarming--it sounds odd but that was probably my favorite thing about this book. Nessy's kind, merciful, and damn sensible ways make her the most lovable kobold ever....:) Anyway, this book did nothing to dampen my adoration of this author. I only hope I can get my hands on the rest of his books!

  • Tim Hicks
    2019-02-07 06:39

    While churning out lightweight fantasy, Martinez is doing a nice job of keeping it fresh. His works are easy to read, amusing, and decently thought through from the initial premises. What more can you ask? +1 for Nessy, the unlikeliest of heroines. Some of the other characters might have been better, but that's just my taste. There are some nods to Harry Potter concepts, but of course quite a few of the Potter concepts weren't at all new either. This - or any Martinez - is just the book to read between two heavier works.

  • Ladiibbug
    2019-02-02 03:39

    A light-hearted, funny book about the evil wizard Margle who has imprisoned his enemies in his castle, after turning them into bats, wall-dwellers, gargoyles, and other comical fantasy creatures.When Margle goes missing, the creatures band together, to try to break the evil curse and restore them to their prior forms.

  • Shannon
    2019-01-25 23:54

    Not as good as Divine Misfortune or A Nameless Witch but still has that great humor and instantly likable characters. Nessy is just a great heroine and Decapitated Dan just has an awesome flair. Martinez's humor is very much like Terry Pratchett's. I love the way he makes a character that's supposed to be evil or crazy so natural.

  • James Eckman
    2019-01-27 05:36

    Martinez writes very strange tongue in cheek books, the morale of this one is: don't mess with the help. A fun read once book.

  • Michael
    2019-01-28 00:51

    Not quite the awesome-ness that was Gil's - still a great read. On the top-10 list for best fantasy protagonist ever!

  • Kathy
    2019-02-02 06:51

    This book is hilarious. It's a good thing I read this at home and not on the train or somewhere in public because people would be staring at me for laughing like a hyena. Too Many Curses will cheer you up if you're having a shitty day as well. Nessy is a kobold. If my memory serves me they're like the German version of a brownie and a badger put together. Like their Celtic counterparts, if you mistreat a kobold they will create chaos in your home or spoil the milk or just make you hate your life. But in this story Nessy is the kind one. She looks after her master's castle and all his creations and curses. Nessy's master is an evil, greedy wizard who curses anybody who says the truth about him. Margle beats Nessy and insults her all the time yet she is full of unconditional love. Nessy takes her job as caretaker seriously. Chaos ensues and it is up to Nessy and her friends: a voice without a body, an angry fruit bat, a monster under her bed, and a brain in a jar to save the castle. Other hilarious parts include: Margle turns his own mother into Ivy to represent how much she suffocates him. Beatrice the Banshee only warns people about mundane things and not about impending doom. She's a horrible banshee. Olivia the Owl is pretty rad she's cursed to always speak in alliterations. A mouse who adores Olivia even though she can eat him. A demon transformed into dragonflies. A monster under the bed who likes to be read bed time stories and is very jealous of other monsters. A jingling vampire and many more. Every room in the castle sounds like a generic death metal song title: The Bottomless Pit, The Chamber of Blades, The Insatiate Furnance, The Tapestry of Emptiness, The Hall of of the Blood Fountains, The Dungeon of Dismemberment, and The Den of Blasted Pox. Favourite Quotes: "Oh, damn. Don't forget Nessy. Saaaaaaaltyyyyyyy souuuuuuuuuuuuup!" (40) "Cursed cacophony conspires against the King." (65) 'Too many multitudes of menace move through this manor. Generous jeopardies, hundreds of horrors, crowds of calamities, a deluge of danger." (71) "Strength isn't found in being the strongest of all, but the strongest you can be." (104) "Souls are found things, priceless as any treasure yet sorely neglected." (197) "The fate of the universe didn't rest in the hands of giants. It could be found in the littlest things. Anything done well was an accomplishment, whether it be unwrapping arcane secrets or sweeping the halls, raising kingdoms from the ocean or washing dishes. All tasks, great or small were of equal importance in the end." (202) "And that true love was perhaps expecting too much." (247) "Because I'll take hope over hopelessness any day." (268) "She marveled how someone could know so much and so little at the same time." (290) "But in each, even the most wicked, was a speck of something good." (304) "Let the leaves of your love shelter you from the cold rain of discontent." (310)

  • Phil Hore
    2019-02-15 06:29

    wowrarely have I ever enjoyed an audiobook as much as this one.Now the story itself is great, full of clever little twists and nods of the head to other authors and tales, and it mostly certainly sits in the fantasy category. Martinez is a clever writer, finding unusual paths through an entertaining story. I am yet to read a bad....or perhaps I should say....boring book for the author. All have been immensely entertaining, and I have to say there was a little sorrow finishing this one and realising I was leaving the castle. I would like to stay, or perhaps visit again at some later date (hint a sequel).The story is a simple one- a (not so much an) apprentice (as a slave) works hard to keep her wizard employer (master) happy. The castle is full of creatures - monsters, spirits and the like- most of them vanquished foes of the master and cursed to live as paintings, bats, cats, mice, gargoyles etc....and then the Master is gone and a new and far more powerful force is looking to take over the castle and destroy the world and it is up to Nessie (an unusual heroine as she is a kobold) and the motley crew of cursed beings to help save the world.NOW- that said, I did not read this, I listened to the audiobook version, narrated by Suzanne Toren- who does an amazing job (stands up and applauds). Seriously talented, Toren does all the voices, and each is skillfully created and recognisable. My favourite is the Scottish brouged former Knight (and now a fruit bat) Sir Thedeus, and Echo - a ghostly spirit who pops in and out of the story at will.If you are looking for something light, fun, clever and simply well crafted, grab the audiobook version. You won't be disappointed. I give 5 stars, not just for the story, but for the talent of Toren.

  • Alison
    2019-01-26 23:53

    This story was absolutely adorable. It’s about what it’s like to live in a fantasy world when you’re not the main character. The name of the book comes from the various cursed enemies the wizard has trapped in his house, who Nessy is responsible for feeding and tending. Like Nessy, they’ve all adjusted to the domestic routine after whatever dramatic thing the master of the castle has done to them. All the wondrous magical hoopla is every day life for them, and it’s very sweetly humorous. Nessy is one of the best heroes I’ve ever read. After her master dies her little self-contained world becomes dangerous as things start to deteriorate. She doesn’t have any magic or fighting skills but she does the best with what she has - her implacable, steady nature and her duty to the remaining inhabitants. She saves them because she must, and she never lets anyone convince her that she can’t or shouldn’t do it in her own way. Even when she doesn’t expect to succeed, she quietly does her best. She’s a pretty great role model if you ask me. The problems and mysteries that befall the heroine are all interesting and well laid out. There wasn’t much boredom or guessing what would happen before it happened. I genuinely enjoyed every moment of watching this story unfold in its own time. It wouldn’t be rushed, but it didn’t waste time either. Again, much like Nessy. Lovely book. Read it.

  • Doug Lewars
    2019-02-15 06:26

    *** Possible Spoilers ***If you like frivolous fantasy along such lines as The Discworld Series by Terry Pratchett, then you'll love this. When an evil sorcerer - a top ranked evil sorcerer no less - has an accident and perishes, then his magic starts to come unraveled. But this was a sorcerer who was, perhaps, a bit too clever for himself. He arranged matters for himself so that he couldn't die - yet his body was certainly gone - and as a result he finds himself locked in a state of limbo. As a result, his magic doesn't quite dissipate. It merely gets a little strange. His servant - cook, cleaning lady, castle administrator - finds herself in charge of running the castle. Her chief objective is, and always was, to be competent, diligent, industrious and organized. Suddenly unusual things start happening and this is not to her liking. Too Many Curses is a romp through a menagerie of dark magic, an evil villainous, a demon turned loose, a hell-hound and lots of other weirdness. Our heroine is aided in her struggles by a bat - who was once a great hero, an echo - who was once a poet, and her monster-who-lives-under-her-bed. I recommend this unconditionally to lovers of fantasy and lovers of humor.