Monday, March 14, 2016

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday: THE MORRIGAN'S CURSE BY Dianne K. Salerni

THE MORRIGAN'S CURSE by Dianne K. Salerni (HarperCollins, 2016)

Preamble: I'm writing this on Sunday afternoon, befuddled by Daylight Saving's time and peeved by the fact that my laptop's hard drive died this morning. I wish the Don could just take over the world, and decree an end of DST as well as mechanical malfunctions. I was on the verge of going off to sulk when I realized the old and barely used computer downstairs was still chugging along--and I had received some wonderful answers this week to my questions from Dianne Salerni. This immediately put me in a better mood, and hence you have an MMGM from me today. Huzzah!

What It's About (from Goodreads):
The battle between Kin and Transitioners that's been brewing for centuries has finally come to a head. The sinister Kin have captured Evangeline's younger sister, Addie, a descendant of Merlin whose presence will allow them to reverse the Eighth Day Spell and free themselves. Addie doesn't realize the full consequences of her cooperation. She's been helping the Kin because they value the strength of her magic—something Evangeline never did. The feeling of power coursing through her veins is impossible to resist.

Meanwhile, Riley, Evangeline, and Jax craft a plan to rescue Addie from her captors. But the Kin's unstoppable magic, and a rebellious Addie, force Riley to reconsider whether saving Addie is worth sacrificing everyone who lives in the seven-day week. Jax won't let Evangeline's sister be used as a pawn, so he risks it all in a secret mission of his own. With the Morrigan pushing both sides of the war toward annihilation, Addie must decide where her loyalties lie, while Jax, Riley, and Evangeline confront the possibility of losing Addie to save the world.

Opening Lines:
"Normally, Addie Emrys didn't like heights, but in this case, the view was worth it. Leaning on the wooden railing of a second-floor balcony, she watched waves crash against rocks on the shore below, blasting themselves into wild sprays of foam."

The Love List:

  1. The Cover, right? I love all the covers of this trilogy, by artist Mike Heath. They are eye-catching and arresting.
  2. If you want to see how to deftly introduce a new book in a series, study Dianne Salerni. There's no massive info dumping. Instead, the story starts off at speed, with occasional reminders of what has gone before. Brilliant!
  3. The world Dianne Salerni has created. I loved the settings, the wild weather, all of the Eighth Day magic. (And boy, what I sometimes wouldn't give to have an Eighth Day of my own! Except I'd probably spend it taking a nap instead of fighting for survival.)
  4. All of the old characters, as well as some new ones. Dianne Salerni is great at creating villains, too--which leads me to...
  5. In every book of this trilogy, Dianne has had some breathtaking, climactic fight scene. The Morrigan's Curse is no exception. This time, it's Addie, with her fear of heights, having to do battle on top of a water tank. It gives me goose bumps just thinking of it. Dianne Salerni is a master.
I was lucky enough to have Dianne answer some of my most probing questions:

1) What's the hardest thing about writing a series?

The hardest thing for me was the build-up of characters over the course of the books. I had a lot of characters in Book 1. Most of them appeared in Book 2, along with a new cast of villains and potential allies. By the time I got to Book 3 and needed to introduce another new set of characters for the conflict, I felt as if I had a cast of thousands! I started wishing I'd killed off more characters in the first two books, lol. (Mafioso's note: Well, you handled them all deftly!)

2) Is the Morrigan a real legend, or did she spring from your imagination fully formed?

The Morrigan is a real mythological character -- or as real as any mythological character can be! She is known as a 3-in-one deity linked to fate, war, and destruction. For my book, I took the barebones of her legend and refined them to serve my story, giving unique names to each of her incarnations: the Girl of Crows, the Washer Woman, and the Old Crone.

3) Will there be a book 4?

I hope there will be a Book 4 and a Book 5, but that's up to the publisher. They told me they would make a decision later this year, so keep your fingers crossed for me! (MG Mafioso: I certainly will!)

Bonus Question: What's your favorite thing about book signings?

My favorite thing about book signings is when a young reader comes having already read one or more of my books and has a long list of questions to ask me about the plot. Sometimes I have to think on my feet when they start digging deep into the story! 

Thanks for featuring me at Middle Grade Mafioso!

Thanks for creating such a great story-world, Dianne. I hope we all get to read more about Jax, Riley, Evangeline, and the rest of the cast soon!

You can read my Middle Grade Mafioso reviews of The Eighth Day and The Inquisitor's Mark, as well as visit Dianne at her web page and follow her on Twitter. Ciao!


  1. It sounds really fantastic! The cover looks amazing. Thanks for the review!
    - Vi

  2. Fingers crossed on books 4 and 5. I can't imagine writing such a long series. I can't wait to read this. I loved the first two books in the series. Dianne has done an amazing job in writing a page turning series.

  3. I want to thank Michael and the Don for featuring the Morrigan's Curse here today -- especially when they had to resurrect an old computer to do so. (And I am cheering that you connected Addie's fear of heights in the very first line to her climactic battle on the water tower!)

  4. I'm this close to finishing this book! And yes, exciting doesn't begin to cover it. In fact, what am I doing reading blogs, when I should be finishing Dianne's book instead.

  5. I need to read this series! It sounds great. Interesting and thought provoking interview, too. Thanks for the heads-up on this one. (As a side I can't agree with you more on this time switch business. Make it end!)

  6. I love this cover too! I haven't read this series but have heard great things about it. I'm totally intrigued by what you say about the fight scenes. Those are difficult to write--and on a water tank!

  7. Sorry to hear about your laptop! Hope you didn't lose anything important.

    What an amazing cover! It really caught my attention. I love the sound of no info dumping and a great fight scene. Will be looking for it!

    Thanks for the interview - I always love to read about how books evolve. Dianne, wish you luck for getting contracts for more books in the series!

    1. Thanks, Andrea! There are some cool things I have planned that I would be seriously sad never to write. (If that makes sense.)

  8. Glad that you had a good back-up for your laptop. Thanks for the review and interview. Very interesting.


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