Curse of the Fallen (Fallen Light #1), by H.C. Newell - A review by Craig Bookwyrm

25 Nov 2022

The Book

Curse of the Fallen
Series: Fallen Light
Pages: 396
Age Group: Adult
Published on 26 Apr 2021
Publisher: Self-Published
FantasyDark Fantasy
Available on:


This Child is not the chosen one. She is a demon to be destroyed.

Born of magic, Nerana is labelled a demon and forced into hiding by the Order of Saro. Living with a curse that binds her to their leader, Nerana seeks to free herself from their hold and soon learns that the path to redemption may prove more fatal than the Order itself.

But for Nerana, this is more than a quest for survival... It’s a promise of revenge

My Review

Curse of the Fallen is a fast-paced dark fantasy debut that kept me entertained throughout. 

We are immediately dropped into the action with the main character, Nerana (or Neer to her dearest friend). Nerana is accompanied by Loryk, a witty bard, and Gil, a shapeshifter.  The initial banter between these three companions is a lot of fun, and is a perfect balance to the darker scenes, and quickly sets the tone for the rest of the book.

Nerana’s story is intriguing, and her personal journey is well developed as we progress through the story. Her back story is woven into the story, as we travel with Nerana, on her quest to take on the Blook Trials to lift her curse.

Along the journey, we are introduced to two elves, Klaud and Avelloch. Now, the elves in this book are not your cliché elves of epic fantasy; these elves are complex and have an edge to them that adds to the tension between the characters. There are some superb moments between the humans and the elves, as generations of mistrust and misinformation has skewed their views of each other.

The world-building is excellent. There is a lot to take on board in the early chapters as our characters race through the landscape, coming up against many dark and horrific creatures. The magic of the world is what I would describe as a soft magic system, but it is used to great effect in the story and I think there is a lot more to be learned about it in future books.

The way in which the author builds tension in scenes was very well done. Also, the element of surprise is also done to great effect; the author has a great skill of leading you into a chapter with a false sense of security, then bang! There were at least two occasions where the author caught me off guard with these scenes, which is credited to her writing.

Although I enjoyed the pacy nature of the book, I would have liked more time and detail on Nerana’s oft-mentioned antagonists, the Order of Saro and their high priest. I feel the information provided in the story warranted more from this arc, so I am hopeful we get more from this in future books in the series.

I did feel the ending was ever so slightly abrupt, with one or two more loose ends and unanswered questions than I was expecting.  Having said that, I believe the overall impact of the story, its characters, combined with the ending, left me wanting more.

Overall, I had a great time reading this and will definitely be continuing the series. This book hints at so much more to this imaginative and dark world that needs to be explored and answered. So, if you are looking for a dark fantasy adventure with complex, morally grey characters, that moves at a frenetic pace - with some truly tense and scary moments, interspersed with tender and humorous moments between characters - then this is the perfect read for you.

Thank you for taking the time to read my review.

About the author of this review


Hi, I'm Craig, a husband, dad, book reader, and reviewer from Wales, UK - the land of song, castles, and dragons. My main focus is on self-published and indie SFF books. Self-pub came to my attention in late 2021, and they now fill my TBR.
You can get access to his other socials in his Linktree:

The Author/s

H.C. Newell

H.C. Newell

H.C. Newell is an American best-selling author of epic fantasy. She is best known for the Fallen Light fictional universe, in which her fantasy novel Curse of the Fallen, is set. Newell's works have been compared by readers to authors such as J. R. R. Tolkien, Brandon Sanderson, Andrejz Sapkowski, and Robert Jordan among others. Newell lives in Nashville, TN with her husband.