View Full Version : October 2013 - Aoife & Demon: Cursed be the Syhlain

10-04-2013, 07:13 AM
Our book this month will be Aoife & Demon: Cursed be the Syhlain by Humeira Kazmi and Shamila Ghyas.

You can borrow this book from your local library or a friend or you can purchase the book.

Here are some links where the book is available offline.

Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/Aoife-Demon-Cursed-Syhlain-Volume/dp/1480229350) | Kobo (http://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/books/Aoife-Demon-Cursed-be-Syhlain/WGszQgNjOkqGuWUqhmjIYg) | AbeBooks (http://www.abebooks.com/servlet/SearchResults?bi=0&bx=off&ds=30&sortby=2&sts=t&x=79&y=15&cm_ven=PFX&cm_cat=affiliates&cm_pla=links&cm_ite=k117601&afn_sr=gan&isbn=1480229350&pfxid=a_1598785600) | Half.com (http://product.half.ebay.com/Aoife-and-Demon-Cursed-Be-the-Syhlain-by-Humeira-Kazmi-and-Shamila-Ghyas-2012-Paperback/150511171&cpid=5000043289700)

On 10/04/13 Kobo is offering the book for free!

I got it to work on my phone by downloading it via my computer, sending it by e-mail, saving it and importing it to Adiko (free App on Android). It's only $3.99 via Amazon for the Kindle version though if you want to skip those steps!

Luke Green
10-07-2013, 09:05 AM
The premise of the plot is intriguing and the setting is rather interesting. The characters are interesting and I am more than interested enough to see what happens in the next part of the book. However, it is not without difficulties.

First the good parts. The characters are mostly well developed. Aoife is self-centered without being selfish, a result of being both sheltered and spoiled through most of her life. She has more recently been living under the thumb of her step-mother who has pretty much emotionally abused her. Emotionally, Aoife seems frozen in her mid-teens despite being about nineteen. Her maturity is much less than it should be for someone of her age, realistically so given her background. She is rebellious without truly being independent. She is aggressive while being abhorrent of the idea of hurting people. She is both naive and suspicious, moving from one to the other often at the worst times. She is very physically strong, but her immaturity means that most of her problems are self-made. However, she definitely does some growing up over the course of the story.

The other characters, viewed entirely through Aoife's perspective, tend to be less well developed if only because we only see their actions and words as compared to being able to see Aoife's thoughts on the matter. This is part of the nature of first-person perspective, however. Demon is well-rounded, however, the facts about him are released in such an order as to be confusing, as noted later below. Azure is pretty static so far. Aoife shows a lot of dynamic nature, and Demon shows a very little bit of being a dynamic character, but Azure and the other characters seem to be unchanging, static characters for now.

The world detail is very rich, and the Realm is an interesting place, though I do wonder whether these kingdoms are separate planets within the universe of the Realm or else separate kingdoms within one large planet. The history is very engaging and the poetry and songs written for the book are enjoyable. I'm still looking forward to hearing more on the Ducimas amazons to see if there's more sides to them than just the warmongering they've shown off so far.

Once I got into the plot, it held me and I really enjoyed reading it. I was, and am, very interested in seeing what would happen next. It became especially fun to watch as Aoife stumbled from one blunder to another, as the mistakes continued to fit in realistically to her character without making her seem actually incompetent. Her unfamiliarity with her new world is palpable. And by new world, I don't just mean that of the Realm, but also the idea of warfare and intrigue. Compared to being brought to an alternate reality, the necessities of war and the like are far more alien to Aoife and it is her discomfort and denial of the things she needs to accept that most drive the plot in this first book.

However, there are some sort points, along with the usual editing errors that come with independent novels.

The story starts off as a sort of standard supernatural romance plot, with the young girl whisked away to the castle of a lusty demon who immediately sets about seducing her. Of course, this initial situation is interrupted before things move on to a rating increase. However, there is a disconnect between Demon's manner at his introduction and the truth of his character that doesn't get fully explained until further in the book.

This is partially because the book is told from the first person in Aoife's perspective and we thus only have the facts that she has paid much attention to. This initially gave me the false impression that Demon's character was poorly written when we are just not presented with all the facts necessary to explain that first meeting. The fact that it is the first meeting makes it even worse since we have no prior information to base his personality on. It is possible that I may have somehow missed an explanation somewhere, since when got to a point where the circumstances were explained, Aoife showed no surprise about them. However, having a poor handle on how to place Demon's character may have been the root of my other issues with the story.

There are parts of the story where the action seems to move incredibly slow. As I have said, my disconnect between Demon's introduction and his normal sort of behavior might have something to do with this. It is easily possible that I was working harder than I should have to make sense of his character. However, that is simply my guess as to a cause for the feeling.

The novel seemed to end not long after I finally felt myself hooked, and I am waiting for the next part.

So that's my review. It took me a while to really get a good reading pace going, but when the bumps got evened out, the book as a whole proved enjoyable. I'm hoping the second book irons out some of the issues and elevates this series into another star.

10-08-2013, 03:47 AM
I truly enjoyed this book. I like how Aoife doesn't follow in the stereotypical mindset of a teenager girl whisked away into a fantasy land that just accepts their fate and runs with it. Most people from modern day would question and push and be demanding of answers before jumping in feet first. Though it builds the irritation up a bit between Demon and Aoife I wish that more of her questions were answered sooner in the book. This would have helped build up the story, plot, and reasoning, and been less focused on the demon-slayer and Demon just fighting all the time.

The plot kept me pulled into the story, while the character interaction left me confused at times. I would think a clever twist would be to do a re-write but through Demon's perspective instead, to see what he was thinking, and that may help readers understand both sides and get into Demon's well locked secret mind.

I would also love to learn more about Aoife's parents, and the world before the wars in more detail. I am looking forward to reading more into the next book, and like Luke, hope some of those questions get answered.