Review: A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer

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Blurb:

Fall in love, break the curse.

It once seemed so easy to Prince Rhen, the heir to Emberfall. Cursed by a powerful enchantress to repeat the autumn of hieighteenth year over and over, he knew he could be saved if a girl fell for him. But that was before he learned that at the end of each autumn, he would turn into a vicious beast hell-bent on destruction. That was before he destroyed his castle, his family, and every last shred of hope.

Nothing has ever been easy for Harper. With her father long gone, her mother dying, and her brother barely holding their family together while constantly underestimating her because of her cerebral palsy, she learned to be tough enough to survive. But when she tries to save someone else on the streets of Washington, DC, she’s instead somehow sucked into Rhen’s cursed world.

Break the curse, save the kingdom.

A prince? A monster? A curse? Harper doesn’t know where she is or what to believe. But as she spends time with Rhen in this enchanted land, she begins to understand what’s at stake. And as Rhen realizes Harper is not just another girl to charm, his hope comes flooding back. But powerful forces are standing against Emberfall . . . and it will take more than a broken curse to save Harper, Rhen, and his people from utter ruin.

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My thoughts: 

A Curse So Dark and Lonely is a beautiful written retelling of the much loved fairytale, Beauty and the Beast, with a modern twist.

The book is narrated by the two main characters, Harper and Rhen. Harper is from the present day, Washington DC and Rhen is from the past in a place called Emberfall.

Harper is a feisty and strong protagonist, with a mind of her own. She has had a tough life, with her mother being sick and the difficult task of helping her older brother keep food on the table. The fact she is loyal and family orientated makes her a very likeable character too.

She also has cerebral palsy, which doesn’t hold her back. One of the best things about Kemmerer’s story is the fact that Harper isn’t defined by her disability. Her feisty, feminist, attentive and can-do attitude is really inspiring to read.

Rhen is the prince who has been cursed and is searching for the person who can break it. He’s pretty stand-offish for a lot of the story but as we read more chapters from his perspective it becomes clear that he only has good intentions and cares for those around him deeply.

One of the most interesting relationships was that between Rhen and Grey. At first, Grey appears to simply be Rhen’s guard. He has the task of capturing the women with the hope that they will break the curse. But as the story unfolds, it’s really sweet to see their relationship grow into a friendship.

Fantasy fans will love this book because the world building is fantastic. The places the characters visit in the kingdom sound wonderful. Readers will be able to picture each and every place so clearly and it’s such a magical world to experience.

Compared to the original Disney tale, the story is a lot darker and there is a lot more depth to it too. I really liked the addition of Lilith, the one who created the curse almost 18 years ago. The ending will leave everyone wanting more and was quite a surprise too, deviating from the original story. Luckily book two in the series is already out so there isn’t a big wait to see what happens.

The only slight downside to the book is in the beginning the pace was a bit slow. It did pick up as the plot progressed and it was a really engrossing read overall and quite possibly the best Beauty and the Beast retelling I have read so far.

Even though Kemmerer is a successful young adult novelist, this is the first fantasy novel she has written and hopefully there will be many more to come.

Rating: 4/5

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Have you read this book yet? What did you think of the plot? Let me know by commenting below. I’m also on Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest – @bookwormgirl_24

 

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