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Literature / Curdy

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A series of novels by Artur Balder. The series focuses in Idruk Maiflower, a young alchemist apprentice living in a dark 11th century who is called by his master to investigate a crime. The journey will lead him to discover his true name, Curdy, and he will have to face inimaginable evil powers who threat the entire old world.

The series, a trilogy for now, is composed by three books, Curdy and the Chamber of the Lords, Curdy and the Scepter of Carlomagno and Curdy and the Vampire of Gothland, but it's unknown if will be a fourth installment. In any case fans are crying for one, as the series, while pretty entertaining, has Plot Holes you could pilot the Death Star through.


Connected to the series is also an earlier book by Balder, The Monarch's Stone, which serves as background to the trilogy.

This series contains examples of:

  • Action Girl: Ylke is forced to become one.
  • Adults Are Useless: Big time. Adult wizards are pretty much useless or downright nuisances, and the teenage main cast has to solve every problem, including defeating the big bad guys. It gets worse from book to book.
  • Aerith and Bob: The author Shown Their Work with most of the character's names, but some others are a bit strange even to the 11th century.
  • The Alliance: Hexmade and the Council of Magonia eventually turn into this.
  • Alternate History: The story starts within an only slightly altered history, in which the Medieval Inquisition was controlled by some shadowy dark socerers, but later grows into a fully alternate plane when Gothlands is founded.
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  • Anarchy Is Chaos: The Jester clearly thinks it, but given he is batshit insane, it is understandable.
  • And I Must Scream: The Jester's ultimate fate is to be wrapped into a strechter with an eyeless mask. Forever.
  • Anti-Magic: The Spherical Mask is initially identified as an "antimage", but his powers are really just shapeshifting skills. The Jester, on the other hand, is a straight example, as he is completely immune to magic.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: Played straight both with the dark lords and the wizards from Hexmade.
  • Back-to-Back Badasses: Curdy and Asmodeus.
  • Badass Longcoat: This is the attire for Gothland officers, especially Cormac.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: In the second book.
  • Big Bad: Aurnor the Great.
  • Big Good: Luitpirc of Magonia is considered as one by the good side. However, truth is that he remains a pretty inactive character for most of the second book, and when he shows up to fight Aurnor, he gets swiftly one-shot and killed.
  • Expy/Captain Ersatz: Where should we start? We have Cormac Mac Kinley for Cormac McLaggen, Asmodeus for Bartimaeus, The Jester for The Joker, Cormac for Two Face, and all of them are important characters.
    • The rest of characters inspired from Harry Potter are countless. Kroter and Kreichel start as stands for Dobby and Kreacher, Falco Daugner is an expy to Draco Malfoy, Tulk and Gumma to Crabbe and Goyle, Cleod and Leod to Fred and George, Luitpirc to Dumbledore, and even Aurnor could physically pass for Voldemort.
    • The Bartimaeus Trilogy gets some too. Many demons and characters are expies to those from the books: Gurlip to the scythe-wielding Roman afrit from the prologue of The Golem's Eye, the briefly mentioned Aksharkand Demon to the spirit of the Amulet of Samarkand, the Charlemagne corpse-possesing spirit to Honorius, the Aachen wolves to the London police, and many more.
    • Also the monks are straight from Rafael Ábalos's Grimpow: The Invisible Road, more specifically friar Canuto, who is an expy of Kense, and friar Conrad, another to friar Brasgdo.
    • The Spherical Mask looks and acts pretty much like The Alchemist from the French film Vidocq.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Straight and then subverted with the gorgon head in the third book. The Jester is shown getting it and later uses it against Asmodeus, apparently killing it. But thanks to Asmodeus being a spirit and thus immune to that kind of magic, he returns briefly later.
  • Cliffhanger: The first book famously ends with a Mind Screw-filled one.
  • Continuity Drift: All the books, especially the third one, bizarrely forget a chunk about the previous installment and leave questions unanswered only to open more in the next. So, we never actually discover what happened with Grendel, Gotwif and the Higher Powers after the second book, who was under the Spherical Mask, what the heck was actually the Jester, and the ultimate fate of Godfrey of Bouillon.
  • Cool Mask: Lord Malkmus of Mordrecq wears a grinning silver mask which is thought to belong to the late Mordred. Later, the Spherical Mask shows an even cooler mask which grants him shapeshifting powers.
  • Crapsack World: Virtually none of the heroes' attempts to stop the bad guys from ruining the world has effect. By the last book, we have a formerly bright magic world turned into a cynic dump with a wizard society so estranged that we are lucky to not being told very much about it.
  • Cursed with Awesome: Despite it was inoculated into him to turn him into the Cruormante, Curdy's vampire curse acts protecting him from harm and even from Aurnor's influence at the most vital times.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Asmodeus takes it to mad levels. Even Curdy turns slightly snarky to his side.
  • Deus Exit Machina: The band of demons led by Asmodeus fulfills their first mission despite some losses and is portrayed as a very badass team, but they later disappear for no explanation and never return to the story, with the exception of Gurlip, who anyway disappears a book later.
  • Diabolus ex Nihilo: The Jester comes out from nowhere. Even Asmodeus just can theorize that he is a tarot-themed being made of pure chaos or something.
  • Dragon-in-Chief: Even after his first defeat, lord Malkmus serves as the manin antagonist through books one and two.
  • Dramatic Unmask: Curdy unmasks Malkmus to reveal he is Whylom Plumbeus.
  • Downer Ending: At the end of the series, Malkmus, the Spherical Mask and the Jester have been all defeated, but Luitpirc and most of the big good guys are dead, Gothland and the world is devastated and Aurnor stills undefeated, and this would be simply a Sequel Hook had not Balder said that it is an "open ending" which possibly will not be continued.
  • Five-Man Band: Asmodeus's team.
  • Footnote Fever: In the second book.
  • The Ghost: The true Big Bad of the series, Aurnor, never appears before the reader until the end of the second book, and then he disappears again.
  • Horny Devils: The second book introduces Keily, a sexy female spirit in Asmodeus’s squad, and a green fairy named Artemis which is really a succubus.
  • Hypercompetent Sidekick: Asmodeus is sent by the Higher Powers to be a deliberate one to Curdy.
  • Chef of Iron: Teofobus Bombastus.
  • Large Ham: Lord Malkmus, especially after his unmasking.
  • Love Triangle: Between Curdy, Ylke and Cormac.
  • Minor Major Character: Bishop Ranulf of Flambard is presented as the number two behind Malkmus, but he barely appears and never takes part in the book's events.
  • Oh, Crap!: Asmodeus and Gurlip's reaction at seeing the spectre of Brynhildr of Worms.
  • Only Sane Man: Gurlip behaves this way in Asmodeus's squad.
  • Power Tattoo: Adelbrand Wendel has one in his palm.
  • Really 700 Years Old: If Luitpirc the Storyteller is the same Storyteller from The Monarch's Stone as it is implied, then he is really old.
  • Retcon: At the beginning of the first book, Luitpirc tells Curdy about his ancestor, the first Curdy Copperhair, and his adventures with the dwarves around the Monarch's Stone. Those are actually the events related in the homonym book, but they have a strange difference: the character from The Monarch's Stone was not named Curdy, but Bláin Copperhair. Though they are confirmed to be one and the same, this oddity is never explained.
  • Sacrificial Lion: Clodoveus becomes a villanous example when he gets (accidentally) killed by Curdy.
  • Shout-Out: Again, many to Harry Potter. Grendel is said to live in a realm called "pensieve", "Adava Kedav" is a dark magic formule, Hexmade has four element-themed houses, there are Hagrid-esque half-giants, and words like "legeromancy" are used. In general, Curdy could be comfortably set in the Harry Potter universe.
  • Sinister Scythe: Gurlip wields one.
  • The Smurfette Principle: Keily is apprently the only female spirit in Asmodeus's squad.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Angus and Alan Wallace for Cleod and Leod, although later they apear all together.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Hathel, in-universe for no apparent reason, in the second book. He is implied to have being brainwashed by his father.
  • Unknown Character: Ardlúk the Old is lampshaded several times through the first book as a dreadful Orcus on His Throne-type villain, but he actually never appears in the story, and after the first book he is not mentioned anymore. Same with the Prince of Gargamonte from The Monarch's Stone.
  • Wizarding School: The Hexmade university.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Many characters, like lord Leubrandt, Gurlip and the rest of the Asmodeus's servants, simply disappear after their respective books for no explanation. Only occasionally they get mentioned afterwards.
  • Whole Plot Reference: Seriously, reading El Vampiro de Gothland is like reading a fantasy version of The Dark Knight's script, almost scene-by-scene. El Cetro de Carlomagno also echoes The Golem's Eye to a truly ludicrious degree, even having a couple of scenes literally taken from it (including an especially infamous one which references the Holy Roman Empire, which would have made sense in The Golem's Eye but not at all in Curdy).

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