Skip to main content

The Curator


The Curator

Owen King wrote the terrific SLEEPING BEAUTIES with his father, Stephen King, in 2017. Now he is back with his long-awaited solo effort, THE CURATOR, following 2013’s DOUBLE FEATURE.

This time, King has left the world of the supernatural behind and leapt freely with both feet into the deep end of the fantasy pool. THE CURATOR is set in an unnamed city nicknamed “the Fairest.” There are many similarities to the world we inhabit, primarily in the areas of warfare and politics. Both were responsible for the revolution that has left the city all but unrecognizable.

"Although fantasy fills these pages, there is so much more going on here. It is easy for readers to get lost in the novel...and let the narrative take you away."

As the citizens of this city without an identity struggle to get through each passing day, we are left with a place that is a mishmash of both eccentric characters and bizarre locales that at times defy imagination. Our protagonist is Dora, who is the curator of the forgotten and neglected Museum of Psykical Research. She took this job not because of her burning desire to turn the place around but to investigate the death of her brother, who had worked there many years earlier. She always felt that the museum played some role in his passing.

Reinforcing Dora’s claims and fears about the museum is that it was all but burned to the ground while the surrounding buildings remained untouched. What could her brother have uncovered that would lead someone not only to permanently silence him but to seek to erase all possible evidence of his findings?

What keeps this weighty book flowing are the additional storylines and crazy characters sprinkled throughout. One of the eeriest elements is the Morgue Ship, a ship of dead bodies that was moored to the dock of the city and has since become unhinged and drifted out to sea. Several tales focus on the many departed denizens of this ship and the circumstances that landed them there. We even get to enjoy some peeks into the afterlife and accounts of their ordeal on board.

Perhaps the oddest and most unique thing about the city is their devotion to cats. The feline species are not only cherished but seen as spiritual creatures to be worshipped in much the same manner as the ancient Egyptians once did. All Dora knows is that she must find out what her brother was unable to tell her about what went on behind the curtain at the far end of the Grand Hall, which may hold the answers to everything she seeks.

THE CURATOR is sometimes hard to nail down when it comes to genre. Although fantasy fills these pages, there is so much more going on here. It is easy for readers to get lost in the novel, even the passages that seem disjointed or unrelated, and let the narrative take you away.

Reviewed by Ray Palen on March 10, 2023

The Curator
by Owen King