★★★★★ Curses of Scale by S.D. Reeves is the fiery, confident coming-of-age story of a girl named Niena and the young man, Calem, she’s destined to marry. Niena lives with her grandfather but dreams of attending bardic college, where she can study music. She runs away in pursuit of that goal, but finds herself snared up in a strange cat-and-mouse game involving a disembodied fairy, who sets Niena loose through time and space and teaches her true magic. Unfortunately, there isn’t just one hunter for Niena to worry about in this game. With her grandfather, her future husband—who has traveled back in time to save her from a terrible fate—and a deadly beast all on her tail, Niena’s world is looking more uncertain than ever.
Reeves does so many things right in this thrilling, surreal love story. His cast of characters is tight and very well written, and some late-in-the-game reveals make for some fun interactions between them. This is a tale that is more concerned with the journey than with the destination, taking its protagonist (and the reader) on a riotous jaunt through mortal minds, fairyland mists, and everything in between. While admittedly confusing at times, Curses of Scale is a Pandora’s box of world-building elements, and Reeves shows great skill at parceling out the pieces of lore and mystery that today’s fantasy readers crave. Readers will be sure to enjoy this crafty, utterly transportive novel.