Title: A Curse So Dark and Lonely
Author: Brigid Kemmerer
Fall in love, break the curse.
Cursed by a powerful enchantress to repeat the autumn of his eighteenth year, Prince Rhen, the heir of Emberfall, thought he could be saved easily if a girl fell for him. But that was before he turned into a vicious beast hell-bent on destruction. 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 constantly underestimating her because of her cerebral palsy, Harper learned to be tough enough to survive. When she tries to save a stranger on the streets of Washington, DC, she’s pulled into a magical world.
Break the curse, save the kingdom.
Harper doesn’t know where she is or what to believe. A prince? A curse? A monster? 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.
if you haven’t read this book yet, please be aware that this review MAY contain minor spoilers. Proceed at your own risk!
Like a lot of books, A Curse So Dark and Lonely is a super hyped book that I was a little unsure of. However, a lot of my friends have read this book and enjoyed it so I thought I probably would too. I definitely was not wrong!
A Curse So Dark and Lonely is a Beauty and the Beast retelling and follows Harper after she is taken from the real world to the land of Emberfall. In Emberfall, she must become the curse breaker, a role she doesn’t know about yet.
I decided to pick this book up as I traded with someone for an ARC of A Heart So Fierce and Broken which is the second book in this series, coming out in January, so I decided it was about time that I read the first book. I really enjoyed this book but I think my main criticism of it is that it did feel a little bit slow at times. I know that books can’t constantly have action all the time, but I felt that the pace of this did slow down a lot between those kinds of scenes.
I quite liked the writing of this book, although as mentioned, I did find the pacing quite slow at times. I do think the writing suited this book and I found myself wanting to keep reading it when I couldn’t. I actually went into work quite tired a few days as I stayed up to finish this book. I’d describe the writing in this book as addictive. It was easy to read and understand which made it for a rather fast read overall. It was also perfectly descriptive – not too little but also not too much.
I thought the plot of this book was quite good. I went into it vaguely knowing what the storyline was going to be like seeing as it’s based on the story of Beauty and the Beast. Of course, it follows a girl being taken in by a Beast and this girl must break the curse. In this book, the Beast is a prince that relives the same season over and over again. It at the end of each season, he turns into a horrifying monster. Harper is the last girl that Rhen must try to capture the heart of before he becomes a monster enslaved to the one who cursed him forever.
Harper is a fierce character that I quite liked following throughout this book. She is an independent and feisty character. Plus, she lives with cystic fibrosis which does not hinder her or her character in any way. I thought it was really positive to see a character living with a disability that didn’t define her. This was really great to see in a fantasy book and I think it’s just even better to see disability representation in YA books so that more people can actually relate and see themselves in books. Harper is a compassionate character who really focuses on helping those less fortunate than her, despite everything going on in her life. From her mothers illness, to her and her brother just trying to keep going, she tries to help those that are in need.
The other characters in this book are Prince Rhen and Grey. I thought that Prince Rhen was a good character and similar to Harper in some ways but I also felt that he was a little selfish at times, not being able to see past what he wanted due to being blinded by the curse that binds him. Despite this, he did genuinely try to do what he thought was right and tried to protect his people from the Beast inside. Grey’s character was a tricky one. Throughout this book, he remains fairly neutral but a loyal friend to Rhen. However, in some scenes throughout this book, you could see his softer side peeping out.
In regards to the world building of this book, I thought that the land of Emberfall was described really well which definitely aided the story as I was able to easily imagine the different settings. The majority of this book did take place in a castle though which was a fairly easy setting to imagine. I think the setting up the world in this book was fairly important as it’s a fantasy So based entirely on the authors imagination, but I definitely think she was able to get her vision across in this book really well.
I’m glad that I picked this book up and that it pretty much lived up to the hype. It wasn’t a love love love book for me, but I did really enjoy it and as mentioned earlier, it did have me staying up past my bed time to read more of it and that’s something I haven’t done in a long, long while. I would recommend this if you’re looking for a retelling or a fantasy book, especially for the Autumn/Winter weather coming up. You’ll want to get cosy with this one!