Robert A.G. Erickson’s The Curse of the Boran is an adventurous YA fantasy in which destiny and duty forge friendship, courage, and resiliency.
Set in the Kingdom of Duscany, the novel follows 16-year-old twin sorcerers Prince Leonard (Lenny) and Princess Cassandra (Cassy) as they help friends fulfill their purpose.
When Bella the Dryad casts a spell on Lenny’s former fiancé Zada, the prince and his current fiancé Jenna beg Bella to reverse it. Bella agrees and also sends the trio back in time to a furtive forest to fix a “time paradox.” Additionally, Bella assigns Zada a monumental task.
The trio befriend Effita, a young woman pursuing a temple door that conceals a pathway to another world. Meanwhile, Cassy senses that Lenny is in jeopardy and asks Bella to send her to the forest as well. Breeden, a magicked individual who quests to become human, joins Cassy. They find Lenny and the others, and together, the group battles dangers, including dragons, and monsters, while locating the gateway and deciphering its mysteries and curses.
As the 10th installment in the Tales of the Wizor Fair series, the novel seemingly begins where the previous book ends. Unfortunately, Erickson omits a recap of events, and newcomers may feel discomfited by a well-established storyline. A brief backstory could provide greater appreciation of the book’s characters and fantasy elements — such as how the twins live parallel lives in Seattle and alternate worlds.
The novel’s fundamental drawback is ascertaining what the Boran is. It “isn’t a person or a place.” It “exists to help seekers… open the door,” yet “cannot see the door without a seeker’s help.” It possesses knowledge and magic and appears as a stone by novel’s end. The author never gives a clear description, and this overarching confusion pulls readers out of the story.
However, extensive and jaunty dialogue drives the novel, and the prose is illustrative and swift, offering young readers action-packed skirmishes and visionary world-building.
Also available in hardcover and ebook.