#SPFBO 8 Finalist Friday: Review for Tethered Spirits, Curse of Shavhalla #1 by T A Hernandez


What is SPFBO 8 Check out Mark Lawrence’s post here to look at this year’s entrants, judges and allocations list.

This year I am teaming up again with the ladies from The Critiquing Chemist.  We recently announced our finalist. To check out all the Finalists simply follow this link.

Our finalist this year was Miss Percy’s Pocket Guide to the Care and Feeding of British Dragons by Quenby Olson – if you haven’t read it – I highly recommend it – seriously, grab yourself a copy and tuck in. It’s positively delightful.

Today is my third finalist review for #SPFBO 8.  My review for Scales and Sensibility and The Thirteenth Hour can be found here and here. Myself and the Critiquing Chemist will be posting a finalist review every Friday for the remainder of the competition.

So, to my third review, this week for an author that I’ve read and enjoyed in the past. Tethered Spirits, Curse of Shavhalla #1 by T A Hernandez.


I enjoyed Tethered Spirits.  The writing is easy to get along with the world building includes various elements that are woven into the story predominantly through the characters own individual backgrounds which helps to give it a rich feel and in a way it has an almost old school feel in that we follow a bunch of characters (three primary narrators and a few side characters) as they journey far and wide in search of answers.

I will say that the story kind of throws you straight into the middle of the action really.  No build up or hand holding here.  I don’t mind that in a way although at this point, without the benefit of time to latch onto any favourite characters as such, it reduces any tension that you might feel.  That being said, things fairly swiftly develop and it’s easy to get caught up in the plot as the individual chapters flit between the three POVs.

Amar is the focal point for the story and all of the characters in point of fact.  Fairly swiftly we discover that Amar is cursed.  Some may not think of his condition as a curse as basically he is immortal, however, if Amar dies all his memories are obliterated.  It’s something of a double whammy because he either watches those he loves grow old and die, or he dies and forgets about them anyway.  Amar’s quest is to trace back through his history and discover the source of the curse and if possible, the way to break it.

Kesari is a young woman who feels like she’s cursed (although she isn’t, not in the way Amar is).  Kes is haunted by a mistake from her past.  She is a magic wielder, known as a Tarja and she is bonded with a spirit which is where her magic comes from.  Bonding with this spirit (Lucien) feels, to Kesari, like the root of her troubles and she’s keen to break the tie, which is why she follows Amar and his companions on their search for knowledge hoping that someone will be able to help her too.

Aleida is a woman who has gone off track a little.  Also a Tarja with a bonded spirit creature, she seeks a cure for her sick brother and it seems that a cursed immortal might be the place to look.

Off all our characters and side kicks go, almost down the yellow brick road, in search of wisdom and cures with shenanigans along the way.

Hernandez does a good job of making the story flow easy with relatively short punchy chapters. I enjoyed the magic system and the fact that nothing comes without a price and I think this is an author who is growing in confidence.  This is a character rich story with different motivations and fears feeding heavily into the story.  We journey on the high seas, encounter pirates and go in search of an ancient, long lost city.

Now, I did have a few reservations that kept me holding back in some respects.  I struggled to find a favourite character really, to have that feeling where you’re really on board with someone.  The characters did grow on me and I was interested in the curse and other aspects, the story was told well, but, I definitely had issues that held me back.  I’m going to say that the characters have tunnel vision to an extent that you find yourself stopped in your tracks.  They almost come across as naive, in their decisions and scope of their quest.  There is also a little bit of repetition, which is in fairness par for the course for this type of story where the characters travel from place to place seeking answers, whilst being pursued and getting into scrapes along the way.  It is a winning format but I didn’t quite feel the tension or anxiety.

Anyway, slight issues aside, I did enjoy Tethered Spirits and it’s absolutely a series that I’m keen to continue with, I’d like to see how they develop and what their next journey takes them on.

My rating 7 out of 10

Don’t forget to check out the Critiquing Chemist’s review which can be found here.


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