Thursday, January 24, 2019

YA Book Review: A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer

A Curse So Dark and Lonely
Author: Brigid Kemmerer
Publication: Bloomsbury YA (January 29, 2019)

Description: In a lush, contemporary fantasy retelling of Beauty and the Beast, Brigid Kemmerer gives readers another compulsively readable romance perfect for fans of Marissa Meyer.

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 his eighteenth 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.

My Thoughts: First, I need to say that BEAUTY AND THE BEAST is my favorite fairy tale. Second, I need to say that this riff on the tale is an amazing story with wonderful characters. It is filled with emotion, well-developed characters, and a complex plot.

Harper lives in DC. Her mother is dying of cancer. Her older brother is working for a loan shark since their father borrowed a bunch of money before disappearing on the family. She has cerebral palsy. One night while keeping watch for her brother as he intimidates someone who owes his boss money, she sees a guy kidnapping a drunk girl. She charges in with a rusty tire iron in hand and finds herself the one kidnapped. She wakes up in a fairy tale world called Emberfall.

Rhen is the prince who is forced to relive the autumn he turned 18 again and again until he manages to find a girl who will fall in love with him. If he fails - and he has failed almost 300 times, he turns into a monster who attacks the people around him. The monster has caused the death of all of his family, all of his guards, and many of his citizens. Now he is alone except for his Royal Guard Grey who has sworn loyalty to him and who refuses to leave him. Rhen has long since given up hope. He's tried to kill himself many times and in many ways but each attempt results in him beginning the autumn again.

Harper isn't going to fall in love with him. Her only wish is to get home to protect her brother and spend time with her dying mother. However, Harper isn't willing to let him wallow in pity. She is brave and determined to help the people in his country. She is smart and kind and manages to get him out of his castle where he sees what is happening in his country.

Besides an invading army from a nearby country, the enchantress who cursed Rhen makes frequent visits to torture Rhen and keep him in a state of hopelessness. She is beautiful and evil. She is also jealous of the relationship that Rhen and Harper are building. She had expected Rhen to fall in love with her and break the curse at the very beginning.

Fans of fantasies based on fairy tales will be adding this one to their keeper shelves. I certainly intend to add it to mine.

Favorite Quote:
When she eventually speaks, it's not a question I'm expecting. "Did you get naked with these hundreds of women, too?"

She's so direct that she'd be intimidating under other circumstances. "Such questions you ask."

She rolls her eyes. "Well, that's sure not a no."

"It is, in fact." I hesitate, wondering how honest to be. "I lured them all into my life. I abhor the idea of luring them into my bed--and I certainly would not force them. In truth, there is not greater crime in Emberfall."


"In murder, the crime ends."
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from the publisher. You can buy your copy here.

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