Review: The Curse of Saints by Kate DramisThe Curse of Saints by Kate Dramis
Series: The Curse of Saints #1
Published by Random House on May 11, 2023
Genres: Fantasy Romance
Pages: 496
Format: ARC
Source: Received from publisher



'A sparkling masterpiece of fantasy! The world building was original and expertly done, the enemies to lovers is unmatched' 5***** READER REVIEW

'I was hooked from the very first chapter. Fans of Sarah J Maas and Jennifer L Armentrout are bound to fall in love with this fast-paced romantic fantasy' 5***** READER REVIEW

'This book has everything I adore about this genre - powerful female lead, full of action and adventure, twists and turns . . . Brilliant!' 5***** READER REVIEW

Has she been sent to save the realm or destroy it?

As Spymaster to the Queen, Aya's blood oath ensures she protects those she fights alongside - including Will, the Queen's Enforcer and Aya's bitter rival.

When rumours of dark magic rise in a nearby kingdom, both are sent to investigate.

But when Aya's power acts beyond her gods-given affinity, she risks being turned into a weapon in a war she doesn't know how to win.

And when her relationship with Will unexpectedly shifts, neither knows the danger that will follow . . .


'I wish I could read it again for the first time. You will fall in love with not only the characters but the story itself, absolutely breathtaking' 5***** READER REVIEW

'Every interaction between Aya and Will made me squeal and I am obsessed with them' 5***** READER REVIEW

'The first paragraph of chapter one grabbed me and I was immediately hooked' 5***** READER REVIEW

Kate Drami’s debut novel The Curse of Saints makes use of many well-loved tropes, but it’s missing that special something that distinguishes it from its comparators.

As Spymaster to the Queen, Aya is one of the most respected – and feared – people in her kingdom. Part of the Queen’s guard and her Third-in-Command, few citizens of her realm are more powerful. But unbeknownst to all, even her beloved Queen,, Aya’s tenuous grip on her staggering powerful magic is weakening. If she doesn’t learn to control her emotions, disaster will inevitably follow. If only Aya didn’t have to work so closely with Will, her bitter rival since childhood and a major pain in her ass. As the Queen’s Enforcer, the pair must work together to capture spies, foil plots, and generally uphold the interests of their realm.

When rumors of a dark magic in a nearby kingdom begin to spread, Will and Aya are sent to investigate. Could this power be the prophesied darkness that will break the veil between humans and the gods, calling forth the end of times? While investigating (spying) abroad, Aya’s emotional state becomes even more tumultuous  as she begins to suspect that Will himself might be connected to this darkness – and even a plot to unseat the Queen.  

Bit by bit, Dramis reveals the reason behind their discord – and it’s a good one. It may be a trope as old as time, but I love a good enemies-to-lovers romance arc. What can I say? Sue me. The seething tension between Aya and Will is delightful (Will’s “romantic” lines, less so). Unfortunately, I thought Aya and Will were much more compelling when they hated each other’s guts compared to their dynamic as a couple. It felt a little flat, which is a major disappointment in a fantasy romance novel.

These people are spymasters, generals, and diplomats, but half the time they’re running around acting like teenagers.

As with so many fantasy novels I’ve read lately, my main issue here was with the characters. I can forgive fantasy romance a lot of sins, but I can’t forgive sloppy character work. These people are spymasters, generals, and enforcers, but half the time they’re running around acting like teenagers. Maybe fantasy writers should give it a rest with all these twenty year-old government officials.  I don’t know how safe I’d feel if I knew that the people running my kingdom, supposedly cunning and dangerous people, were falling for juvenile schemes. Blowing off a mission to get drunk in a medieval style dive bar after a fight with your prospective girlfriend is incredibly embarrassing behaviour. 

I also wish I could speak more to the world building, but it was weirdly convoluted. Aya, Will, and the other members of the Queen’s elite forces all have magical abilities given to them by the gods, but the reason why the gods bestowed these gifts was never explained. Their magics are meant to stop the coming of an apocalypse, but the apocalypse might actually be the gods returning to the realm? I swear I was reading carefully, but I didn’t grasp it. Maybe that confusion is intentional, since Aya doesn’t understand the scope of her powers or her role in the coming battle, but instead of being intrigued by the mystery I just felt frustrated.

The Curse of Saints has significant crossover appeal for YA readers, but that isn’t me. I wanted to read an adult fantasy romance, not an average YA fantasy with a bland and familiar setting and characters. I won’t be continuing the series.