The Curator

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Pub Date 07 Mar 2023 | Archive Date 07 Mar 2023

Description

From New York Times bestselling author Owen King comes a Dickensian fantasy of illusion and charm where cats are revered as religious figures, thieves are noble, scholars are revolutionaries, and conjurers are the most wonderful criminals you can imagine.

It begins in an unnamed city nicknamed “the Fairest”, it is distinguished by many things from the river fair to the mountains that split the municipality in half; its theaters and many museums; the Morgue Ship; and, like all cities, but maybe especially so, by its essential unmappability.

Dora, a former domestic servant at the university has a secret desire—to find where her brother went after he died, believing that the answer lies within The Museum of Psykical Research, where he worked when Dora was a child. With the city amidst a revolutionary upheaval, where citizens like Robert Barnes, her lover and a student radical, are now in positions of authority, Dora contrives to gain the curatorship of the half-forgotten museum only to find it all but burnt to the ground, with the neighboring museums oddly untouched. Robert offers her one of these, The National Museum of the Worker. However, neither this museum, nor the street it is hidden away on, nor Dora herself, are what they at first appear to be. Set against the backdrop of a nation on the verge of collapse, Dora’s search for the truth behind the mystery she’s long concealed will unravel a monstrous conspiracy and bring her to the edge of worlds.

Praise for Owen King:

“King writes with witty verve.” —Entertainment Weekly

“[Owen King] has a captivating energy, a precision and a fondness for people that are rare…King loves people as well as words.” —The New York Times
From New York Times bestselling author Owen King comes a Dickensian fantasy of illusion and charm where cats are revered as religious figures, thieves are noble, scholars are revolutionaries, and...

Available Editions

EDITION Other Format
ISBN 9781982196806
PRICE $28.99 (USD)
PAGES 480

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Average rating from 48 members


Featured Reviews

I really enjoyed Owen King's short story "The Curator" so I was thrilled to see it more fully fleshed out in this offering.

A great mystery story and cats worshipped as gods (as it should be if they could tell you I'm sure), I feel like this book will only get better with rereads, well done Owen King!

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This is a long form expansion of the short story "The Curator" by Owen King. A fantastical story of illusion featuring cats worshipped and revered! Set in an unnamed city, we meet Dora, a retired domestic servant who is searching for sign of her brother following his death. She is quick witted and attempts to take over curating a museum where he once worked. Thwarted, she continues to pull at clues, slowly unraveling a conspiracy as well as the end of the world.

If you are a fantasy fan or a cat fan, or both. If you are an Owen King fan, or fan of the Kings plural, if you are looking for your next great trip into an amazing and creative imagination, The Curator is for you!

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Excellent world-building and a great storyline. I look forward to more books from this author. It's difficult not to draw comparisons between the author and his father, but hey, greatness is greatness.

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The Curator is a creative longer version of Owen King's short story of the same name. The world-building is phenomenal. The premise is clever. You'll never look at your cat the same. Highly recommended!

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owen king writing a fantastical horror novel about cats, religion, thieves, and and revolutions was absolutely not on my bingo board. but my god was this fantastic! king perfectly blends a fanatical conspiracy with eerie worldbuilding and it’s so compelling. dora is such an awesome main character and i didn’t feel bored once within the 450+ pages. anyone that was a fan of sleeping beauties and double feature is sure to like this one!

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What a vivid, magical, lovely and FANTASTICAL book. Superb, sublime, and really really pretty! Loved this.

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For fans of V.E. Schwab and Alexis Schaitkin, The Curator is terrifyingly delicious. Venture into a world full of magic, museums, and godlike kittens -- it will keep you entranced to the very last page.

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Owen King's The Curator

I give it 4 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️s

Was given a eARC from NetGalley for an honest review!

What do you get when you mix history and fantasy and uprising of never never existed.

Owen King's The Curator is full of the weird and the unexplained.
A slight of hand, an upside down cake of feline prowess 🙀
A Bizarro world indeed!!

A woman searches for the Truth and is fearless!
Mystery & Curiosity
Conspiracy and

The Magic unleashes in Kings wonderful prose!

Very different yet ,very nineteenth century appeal and memorable!

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Unsettling, but I found it difficult to find a spot to stop for the evening and try to get some sleep.
In ‘The Curator’, the novel’s city was, of course, fictional yet I seemed to take away some of its grime on my hands, odors settling into my clothing. The characters were wretched yet bold, brave but broken, and they often drew my fondness only for their actions to be sometimes questionable.
To summarize the story - power struggles, magic, politics, doomed relationships, a ghost ship, cats, cholera - would seem impossible to this reviewer. I’ve tried to convey an emotionally wrenching dream in which the description of the images and feelings laid out for others seemed silly with the handful of words that I used. To attempt to do so for ‘The Curator’ would fall flat and not do it the service it deserves.
Inventive and imaginative, I would recommend ‘The Curator’ to those who aren’t frightened off by an author who makes ballsy choices.

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If you’re looking for a story about a fantastical city, cats doubling as religious figures, and characters leaping off the page and into your reality, refusing to remain merely two-dimensional, this book and all the charm that it entails is for you.

It’s going to take you a minute to get acclimated to the world, to its environment. Don’t get frustrated, and don’t give up. This is a book that’s not about the destination; it’s about the journey. Navigate it slowly; take in the scenery; enjoy the company. Reading this one is a rewarding endeavor. It’s magically delicious, and its literary devices will delight your senses, if you let them.

I absolutely adored every page, every inch of it, and I’m beyond thrilled to share it with everyone. This isn’t simply a book for you to read, it’s a gift to unwrap carefully and treasure always. Books like this one don’t come around every day. Seize this day, and seize the opportunity to place it lovingly upon your shelves. Just the memory of it will bring you joy for years to come.

Enjoy!

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Owen King crafts quite the universe. This was a pleasure to enjoy as King gives back story and social elements to this world — and it’s one I would gladly revisit.

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"From New York Times bestselling author Owen King comes a Dickensian fantasy of illusion and charm where cats are revered as religious figures, thieves are noble, scholars are revolutionaries, and conjurers are the most wonderful criminals you can imagine.

It begins in an unnamed city nicknamed "the Fairest", it is distinguished by many things from the river fair to the mountains that split the municipality in half; its theaters and many museums; the Morgue Ship; and, like all cities, but maybe especially so, by its essential unmappability.

Dora, a former domestic servant at the university has a secret desire - to find where her brother went after he died, believing that the answer lies within The Museum of Psykical Research, where he worked when Dora was a child. With the city amidst a revolutionary upheaval, where citizens like Robert Barnes, her lover and a student radical, are now in positions of authority, Dora contrives to gain the curatorship of the half-forgotten museum only to find it all but burnt to the ground, with the neighboring museums oddly untouched. Robert offers her one of these, The National Museum of the Worker. However, neither this museum, nor the street it is hidden away on, nor Dora herself, are what they at first appear to be. Set against the backdrop of a nation on the verge of collapse, Dora's search for the truth behind the mystery she's long concealed will unravel a monstrous conspiracy and bring her to the edge of worlds."

Eastern European in scope and mythmaking.

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My thanks to both NetGallley and the publisher Scribner for an advanced copy of this fantasy novel about missing relatives, cats, and looking for answers in a city loaded with questions.

Fantasy books don't always need dragons, swords or halflings to work. Some of the best fantasy tales are those that take the familiar and make them slightly different. A little more gaslight, a little more polite in society settings, a different mode of dress, even the importance of cats. Add in unsettling feelings, political disorder, an a mystery of life beyond death, and again cats, one has a very good setting for a fantasy book. Owen King in The Curator has all this and more and has created a city, a time and people trying desperately to get answers for questions that make others uncomfortable, and over them all are the cats.

The tale takes place in a city with out a name, but called "the Fairest" by those who inhabit the city's environs. The city has its charms, beautiful rivers, and ports, morgue ships and many, many museums, some well known, others forgotten on side streets for reasons. The city has also recently been wracked by revolution, and suddenly those who fought so long against those in power, suddenly have the power, which is causing quite a bit of upset and dissent. Into this comes Dora, a retired domestic from the university who is looking for what happened to her brother after his death. Dora starts looking of answers at the Museum of Psykical Research, but finds that has been the one museum that has been burned to the ground, during the change of government. Soon the more that Dora digs the more people around her try to get in her way or stop her from looking for answers for questions that should just stay dead.

The Curator started as a short story and has been expanded on and added to, making the novel almost 600 pages. I have not read the short story, so I am not sure where the changes come in, but enjoyed the book quite a bit. As in a lot of books this length, some cutting could have been done, some of the side quests were a little long, and some dialogue was a little, rough I guess. However the story, the setting and most of the characters, in fact a few of the characters really stand out and I would like to see more about them, are quite interesting. The world is almost like a Dickens story, with the political influence of Kafka tossed in, especially in the revolutionaries. The museum ideas were quite good, and much can be done with that idea, which I am not sure if that was what King was planning, but one can hope. The cats will please a lot of people, and is something that is pretty pivotal to the plot. Getting into the story does take a bit, but once the writing style and the descriptions that King is giving, plus how certain characters interact with each other, readers get more of a sense of what is going on, and will want to know more. Patience is helpful, and worth the journey.

Recommended for fans of fantasy novels that aren't sword but a little bit of sorcery. Readers of V.E. Schwab works or Adrian Tchaikovsky's City of Lost Chances novel, which has a similar vibe and setting. Also readers of Charles Palliser as both books have that city as the star of the book kind of feel.

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For now my thoughts are on Goodreads, but when the release date approaches I will post on social media and on Amazon.

Owen King has created such an interesting and fun and scary world in The Curator. Cats, wax figures, interesting characters and a mystery. What more could you ask for?

Dora is searching for where her brother went after his death and along the way meets strange and funny people AND the end of the world.

I really enjoyed learning more about this other world and the mystery of what happened to Ambrose. The world in this story was often times scary and yet I still kind of wanted to be there to see it for myself. Owen did a wonderful job of describing the scenes and the surroundings. You could almost see and smell them for yourself!

I found out this is based on a short story that he’s also written and now I want to go read that as well.

Put this one in a frame to admire! Come visit the other worlds. You won’t be sorry.

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