Cover Image: The Curator

The Curator

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Member Reviews

Well, that was a long book. Some parts I really liked, other parts I was just confused. The confusion outweighed the enjoyment. And the ending was just bizarre.

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I know that Owen (and Joe) don't like to be compared to their father, but I can't help but reminisce on Stephen King's talent as I read this novel.

This was such a unique and completely weird tale and I enjoyed every moment!

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What a wild and weird romp into the unknown!
I've never read Owen King's work before, and I wonder if I've been missing out! A bizarre look into a parallel world that dissolves into disarray during a political coup - and where unrest and misinformation align, villains come out to play!
When D, a local maid turned rebel member, takes over a museum, she begins the process of cleaning and restoring the exhibits - mostly wax mannequins with tattered clothing and missing eyes. But her interest in the strange, destroyed society next door and the odd man performing his specific skills are going to send her in a spiral of hard questions, terrifying answers, and even stranger associations.
This story is a slow burn story with multiple narrators and and a racing finish! Escape to a scary new existence that you'll be happy to escape after the last chapter!

I just reviewed The Curator by Owen King. #NetGalley

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I had to give up on this story read up to 1091 of 6350 roughly 17% and still had no idea of what I was reading. Dora is supposedly trying to find where her brother went when he passed away. But I lost interest with the British accent and long descriptions. Someone else may love this, but I did not.

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A surprising and fascinating fantasy story. An enchanting fairytale with a historical feel to it. The town nicknamed The Fairest is a place where cats are gods and every that you have known is opposite. An enthralling story, imaginative characters and an alluring plot. A combination of different genres mixed together to make a very entertaining book.
A must read.
Disclaimer: Thank you NetGalley and Scribner for this review copy and I am leaving this review voluntarily.

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Special thanks to Scribner and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for my own opinion.

When I heard someone say in their review that The Curator falls under the same type of book as Piranesi and The Library at Mt Char, 2 books I loved, I had to read it. These books were so unique and I'm always looking for unique and I was not disappointed.

Set in a world where cats were revered and many strange things, the main character is Dora, who is looking for her brother Owen, that died and feels like she can get to where he is by becoming a curator at a strange museum.

Gosh, what to say, I did enjoy it, it had mystery, great world building, and some eery parts to it, would I put it on the level of Piranesi , probably not but its a solid 3.8 rounded up to 4 stars for me. What can I say I like strange books!

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The Curator is a historical fantasy that takes place in an unnamed city known as "the Fairest" (after the river Fair that splits it in half). It is in the midst of a political revolution, a chaotic situation for which the narrative provides clues very gradually. Initially, we are introduced to Dora, a former domestic servant at the university, and her lover Robert Barnes, a lieutenant serving the provisional government. Robert tries to get Dora the position of curator of The Museum of Psykical Research, a place she visited with her late brother (and is convinced will offer answers to where he went after he died). But when they arrive they discover that the museum has burned down, even though all the surrounding buildings are untouched. So Dora becomes the curator of the nearby National Museum of the Worker instead.

There is a sense of strangeness about everything–a kind of magical realism–but in fact everything is far stranger than it first appears. One big clue is the large population of cats in the city. They are given positions of honor, and some citizens actually worship them as supernatural beings. The human cast grows, all of them colorful characters whose lives intersect in often unexpected ways. The story moves quite slowly for the first two-thirds of the novel, so much so that I found myself skimming a bit. But everything comes together dramatically in the final section. Several of the characters meet violent ends, innocent and guilty alike. When the regular army returns to put down the insurrection an evil magical plot is revealed, but more magic springs up in opposition. Just about everything is indeed stranger than it appeared, and even Dora has a dark secret.

Thanks to NetGalley for the reader's proof.

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I wanted to like this book so much more than I did. This is probably one of the best plotted out books I've ever read. King shows that he takes after his dad in that he is just as capable in weaving an intricate web that connects every facet of the book together, no matter how small or insignificant they may seem. I wanted to reread it again almost as soon as I finished it, just to search for the connections I missed the first time around. I absolutely love complex plots like this, and King does an excellent in its execution.

Unfortunately, in many ways, King's intricate plot was also his downfall. There was so much time spent on brief mentions and vignettes and mini plotlines that the pacing and deeper character development suffered for it. Some characters didn't seem as fleshed out as they should've been, and while the book didn't drag exactly, it also felt like nothing had progressed despite the amount of time spent reading.

As I mentioned above, I wanted to reread this book as soon as I finished it, and maybe it's like leftovers- they improve as time goes on.

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DNF at 18%

I’m not entirely sure what went wrong here.

"The Curator" is a book I should’ve loved. I mean, a fantastical tale about conjurors, thieves, and scholars, set in a city nicknamed The Fairest, where cats are religious figures?!?! Written by none other than Owen King, the son of my Uncle Stevie?!?! Sign me up.

But I can’t go on. Eighty-six pages is enough.

Why, you ask?

I’m unable to find my footing in King’s world – there are too many societies, museums, and governmental and military-like entities without any explanation of the history of the city and its recent revolution. His writing borders on the pretentious and lacks charm and whimsy. And in my head, I’m hearing warning bells of female sexual objectification.

I’ve read a few reviews where it’s stated that one has to merely stick with the book, that the story will turn around. But – with apologies to the publisher – I don’t even care to try.

My sincerest appreciation to Owen King, Scribner, and NetGalley for the Advance Review Copy. All opinions included herein are my own.

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I pushed and pushed but I had to give this up at 26%. Thank you to the publisher and NG for offering me a chance to review this book but sadly it was not for me. For due diligence and to help others better decide if this title is up their alley or not, my main issues with The Curator are as follows:
-bland, one dimensional characters
-way too much unnecessary information
-lack of action (this doesn't necessarily mean running and gunning, but anything that excites in general)
-flat dialogue
-unclear plot and storyline
I simply did not like anything about this and could not force myself forward any further. After feeling disjointed by Sleeping Beauties and now this, I think it's safe to say I should just avoid Owen King moving forward.

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The name king puts so much pressure on someone. I was excited for this one but it felt overdone. Length wasn’t naturally there. The female characterization was rough, left a bad taste in my mouth.

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Thank you to NetGalley and Scribner in addition to the author for this ARC in exchange for my unbiased review. It was my pleasure.
#NetGalley #Scribner #OwenKing #TheCurator

This book is a mixture of fantasy and horror and was an expansion on a short story by the same author. Dora is obsessed with finding out where the soul of her brother went after he passed away. The answer must be at the place of his former employment as well as the current place of her boyfriend’s employment, The Museum of Psychical Research. She finds more than she wanted to.
King is a talented writer. There’s no debating that fact, as far as I’m concerned. Having said that, I had trouble getting through this one. I loved the cats for sure. I found the story interesting. I found it pleasantly whimsical. It shows off the amazing imagination of the author.
However, while I haven’t read the short story that this is based on, I feel like it would have worked better as one. I felt that it was too long and there were portions that were plain boring. I’m also more of a horror fan than a fantasy fan. I had a lot of trouble connecting with or caring about the characters. Unfortunately, this is vital for me to really enjoy a story.
The cat portion of the story was the best part. I’m a huge cat lover and this was the thing that kept me reading the most.
All in all, I will continue to read Owen King’s book but this one wasn’t my favorite.

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The Curator by Owen King is an interesting read. It takes a little bit for the story to start coming together and make sense. The story is more fantasy than horror. It's a complex story with interesting characters. In the end, everything comes to together and the story makes sense. It's a little different than most horror stories, but overall I enjoyed it.

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I loved the premise of this. I don't think there's necessarily anything wrong with it, but I never clicked in with the style (completely personal!) and I found so many of the points and political tensions either obvious or not as nuanced as I wished, even with the satirical edge. I've been wary recently with fantasy that is marketed as Dickensian or even just diving into another story in a clearly English setting. They often feel like things I've read before. It's a high bar for a book to clear for me. This one didn't. but if that's something you like in and of itself, this will definitely hit the spot!

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This novel brought to mind Slade House by David Mitchell in more ways than one. The Curator is labyrinthine and the prose is much more florid than expected. After loving Sleeping Beauties by Owen King and Stephen King, I was a bit disappointed by the extreme departure from that book. It was an entertaining enough novel that you sometimes have to muddle through.

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I could see this on the small screen on netflix. Very different fantasy than I normally read. I enjoyed it even though the prose was a little long for me. I really liked Dora and wanted her to have a happy ever after.

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DNF @ 13%. I was really excited to get into this, but the writing style simply didn’t catch my attention at all. I feel like I don’t even know what’s going on and at this point I don’t care. Disappointing, because I liked Sleeping Beauties (despite the ending) - maybe it was more Stephen King’s influence there.

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I am so grateful to Scribner and NetGalley for this chance to read and review Owen King's 'The Curator.'

Having only previously read his 'Sleeping Beauties' - written with his father, Stephen King, where you don't really know whose bit is which - I didn't really know what to expect from Owen on a solo basis.

My reaction is that it's one of the most creative and imaginative books I've ever read. I'd only relatively recently finished Stephen King's 'Fairy Tale' and 'The Curator' felt a bit like a companion piece to that both in terms of the setting and in the power of the imagination and creativity behind them.

'The Curator' is set in a weird steampunk-like, Dickensian setting that could be a slightly off-kilter version of 19th century Europe but could be a completely alien place. Different timelines bleed into it in a hands-on way which further confuse the reader (in a good way) as to where or when this is all happening. As well as the 'real-world' settings, the supernatural exists and interacts with the 'real world' and there are plainly alternative dimensions at play. I've seen the words 'world-building' used to describe what's going on here and I'd totally agree with that description. He creates a whole world in toto and we get glimpses into several others - one of which could be 'our' world.

It's a steampunk fantasy, I guess, but it deals with inequality, corruption, idealism, war, social issues, insanity, and more.

There are a handful of key characters with whom we connect and they're all well-fleshed out throughout the novel - both heroes and villains - and they're not spared the realities of those conditions listed above.

Did I mention the cats? There are cats and in acting the way cats act you begin to ask questions about your own cat's activities!

This really was a revelation - bravo, Owen King.

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I received an ARC in exchange for my honest opinion. Thanks go to NetGalley and Scribner. THE CURATOR is an expansion of the original short story.

Raise your hand if you enjoy "weird fiction"...

Then you're in the right place. The author, Owen King, has created something new that I've never quite seen before. I expect this is one I will read again. This is a little bit fantasy, some horror, thriller, and don't forget the cats. And some history.

This book took a minute for me to get into because I wasn't expecting as much politicking. But "Fairest" is such a strange place—somewhere where anything seems possible. Even cat worship (and if you have a cat, you certainly understand the look of condescension). Certainly it contains conspiracies. Secrets. Murder. But does it hold the answers that Dora seeks about her brother?

The crux of the book for me is the search for truth.
It would be interesting to see what the take-away is the next time I read it.

Part of the delight in this story is in the unexpected.
Is Dora what I expected—not really. Can I tell you why? Absolutely, not.

I recommend going into this book with eyes open to the wonder (and grime) of a new land—to experience it for yourself.

May a cat smile on you.

Happy Reading!

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Oh, how the premise of The Curator spoke to me. The reality, however, was a bit of a letdown. I found most of what I read to be disjointed and confusing, and wasn't drawn to the world building enough to persevere. I ended up DNF'ING the book at 14%, without having understood much about what I'd consumed. I really liked Sleeping Beauties, so I was excited to give this a try, but it just didn't work for me. Thank you to Scriber and Netgalley for the chance to review this advance copy. The Curator is available for purchase everywhere you buy books now.

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