Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

The Zero Curse — Chris Nuttall’s Excellent Middle-Grade Sequel

with 4 comments

Folks, yesterday I talked about two books that I felt had beaten sequel-itis — that is, the fate of books that don’t live up to its potential after a great first book. And after I talked about Jason Cordova’s DEVASTATOR and Kayelle Allen’s BRINGER OF CHAOS: FORGED IN FIRE, one of my other good friends pointed out yet another book that beats sequel-itis, hands-down.

That book is Chris Nuttall’s THE ZERO CURSE. It takes the wonderful character of Caitlyn Aguirre (also known as Cat) from THE ZERO BLESSING and gives her new challenges, while upping the previous stakes in the process. And the fact that Cat is just twelve years old, and isn’t an idiot savant, isn’t even necessarily a genius — just a reasonably normal smart kid with an unusual ability for her world, that of having no magic at all — makes things all the more poignant.

Chris’s work just keeps getting better and better. And these particular stories are close to my heart for many reasons, most particularly because I got to see them early (as I am one of Chris’s editors), and enjoyed seeing them come to fruition.

Why? Well, I flat-out love Cat. She’s a self-sufficient girl to root for, being without magic in a magical world. And first, she has to figure out how to make her way without having any magic, while finding a way to make her lack a blessing, in THE ZERO BLESSING…before Chris ups the game entirely in THE ZERO CURSE, where Cat starts to realize that the other side of a blessing is a curse, so must start to figure out how to minimize the ways her unusual status as a “Zero” (that is, without magic) can be exploited by evildoers.

Zero Cursed Cover FOR WEB

Once you read about Cat, along with her odious sister Alana and her slightly nicer sister Bella, you’ll never forget her, her world, the school she goes to (Jude’s), her friend and fellow forger (kind of like a magical blacksmith) Akin Ruben, and her best friend, Rose, you’ll never forget it. (Cat’s great-aunt Stregharia in particular is a major piece of work, and you’ll enjoy booing and hissing whenever she shows up, guaranteed.)

So Chris’s book also beats sequel-itis, and is a great book to read on a cold day. (Or any day!) And I, for one, can’t wait until I read the third book in the Zero series, which even I haven’t seen yet. (But I will. Even if I have to find a way to tickle Chris until he says “uncle” to do it.)

Tell me about more books that beat sequel-itis in the comments! (I love hearing from y’all.)

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Written by Barb Caffrey

January 6, 2018 at 12:05 pm

4 Responses

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  1. Barb, maybe it would be better to offer to baby-sit Eric and/or Little John than to tickle Chris. 😉

    Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

    January 6, 2018 at 12:13 pm

    • Oh, you’re correct, it’s a good series. 😀

      Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

      January 6, 2018 at 12:14 pm

      • Yes, it is. I enjoyed working on it immensely and am glad to let people know more about it.

        Barb Caffrey

        January 6, 2018 at 5:00 pm

    • I gladly would, but the commute to where they’re at is out of my price range. 😀

      Barb Caffrey

      January 6, 2018 at 4:59 pm


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