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Cursebreakers #1

A Curse So Dark and Lonely

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PRINCE RHEN, the heir to Emberfall, is cursed. Forced to repeat the autumn of his eighteenth year over and over, he can only be freed if a girl truly falls for him, and after so many failures his kingdom and its people are barely holding on.

HARPER's life has never been easy, but she's learned to be tough enough to survive the streets of Washington, D.C. When she is sucked into Rhen's world, nothing is as it seems. Piwerful forces are standing against Emberfall ... and it will take more than a broken curse to save it from utter ruin.

496 pages, ebook

First published January 29, 2019

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About the author

Brigid Kemmerer is the New York Times bestselling author of dark and alluring YA novels like A Curse So Dark and Lonely, Defy the Night, and Letters to the Lost. A full time writer, Brigid lives in the Baltimore area with her family. When she’s not writing or being a mom, you can usually find her with her hands wrapped around a barbell.

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Profile Image for emma.
1,871 reviews54.7k followers
May 20, 2019
Well, this was...something.

Like. This book is a Beauty and the Beast retelling, except take away the dope library and all the nice songs and France (okay yes I know the Disney version isn’t the original but I LIKE huge libraries and nice songs and France!!). Anyway take all that stuff, and replace it with scenes from gritty modern-day D.C. and blood and monsters and blood and oh my god SO MUCH VIOLENCE AND BLOOD.

And also a love triangle.

Following? No, not even slightly? That’s fair, and also me neither.

Basically, our protagonist, Harper, is a girl with a suuuuper tough life living in a high-crime area of current-day, real-life Washington, D.C. Her mom has cancer so she helps her brother make money by playing lookout while he beats the sh*t out of people for a loan shark. Also, Harper has cerebral palsy, and the rep for that (plus the relationship between her brother and his boyfriend, Noah) is far and away the best part of this book.

Unfortunately, we have so much more weird sh*t to wade through in this synopsis explanation alone.

While she’s playing lookout for her brother during one such life-necessitated crime spree, she gets kidnapped by some old-timey dude. This is Grey, the high commander something something of the kingdom Emberfall blah blah. Every year or moon-passage or sun-season or Insert Bullsh*t High Fantasy Term For Passage Of Time Here, Grey travels from the beautiful kingdom of Somewhere Not In Our Realm to our own Washington, D.C. (which is in a different...dimension? universe? world? I read this whole book and I’m not quite sure).

What does Grey do there, you might be asking? Go on a jaunty tour of the sights of America’s capital? Perhaps a stroll about the Smithsonian?

No, my dear boy. He captures an innocent woman. So that Rhen, the king or lord or something, can try to get that lady to fall in love with him, or something, to break a curse by which every season he turns into this giant ever-changing beast who kills everyone and destroys everything, or something. One of them is our protagonist, Harper, who is promptly not like other girls’d for not being...completely delighted with being kidnapped and taking to some drug-trip old-timey castle?

And somehow, it’s all downhill from there. (From what I can remember. I read this book seven months ago and even then I didn’t have the greatest understanding.)

Let’s get into some categories.


You may be tempted to think I am an idiot. (Even more so than usual, I mean.) Yes, I am aware that A Court of Thorns and Roses is also a retelling of Beauty and the Beast, and therefore these two books are going to have some baseline similarities.


Rhen just...is Rhys. Earlier in this review I typed “Rhys” without thinking because they are the same. Grey is Tamlin (complete with traces of love triangle). Lilith, the sorceress who puts the curse on Rhen, is the parallel to the evil under-the-mountain lady from ACOTAR whose name I can’t remember -- down to the sexual assault of Rhen/Rhys as a form of torture and part of the curse. I know that the early versions of fairytales are darker than our current Disney versions and all, but I can say with confidence that that sh*t is not part of the original story.

Obviously it’s the same plotline, in broad strokes, because it’s a retelling of the same story, but the similarities go further. Here are more examples:

- Both Harper and Feyre regularly participate in illegal activities in order to provide for their families (pre-glorified kidnapping), which lands each of them in the situation that gets them taken to the beast figure’s castle.
- Once there, each has to decide whether to return to her family or become queen (ish) and save a kingdom.
- Each of them then discovers the power that lies within them, realizes they could become a ruler, blah blah blah cool cool cool all definitely new stuff.
- Both are supposedly feminist reads that are, in reality, deeply not-like-other-girls-y and only even remotely empowering to the female protagonist.
- And they both even have love triangles that are overwhelmingly similar!! Between Tamlin/Grey, the sort of original kidnapper and bona fide Nice Guy, and the fan favorite bad boy powerful king dude, Rhen/Rhys. And baby, love triangles did Not exist in Disney’s Beauty & the Beast.

But the love triangle isn’t even the worst part of the romance in this book. And like. How is that even possible.


Normally in Beauty & the Beast stories, there’s a degree of an important lil thing called CONSENT. Think back to the Disney cinematic masterpiece: Belle is never kept in the castle against her will. She agrees to stay in exchange for her father’s life. (Still f*cked up and manipulative, for sure, but we’re not here to unpack the ways that Disney messed all of us up.) In fact, in every iteration, the Beauty character agrees to stay with the Beast character.

Not in this one!!!

Harper is legitimately, violently kidnapped and taken to Consentless Storybook Land, where she never stops trying to go home. She tries to escape multiple times. She never agrees to stay. She is kept AGAINST HER WILL in a STRANGE LAND while her MOM is DYING of CANCER and her brother’s LIFE IS AT RISK.

So sorry, I’m not exactly in the mood for the Stockholm syndrome-ass romance being pushed here.

Like, here’s Rhen outlining the swoon-worthy romantic framework we’re dealing with here: “‘Grey has grown skilled at finding girls who have no family, no one to miss them.’ I pause and look at her. ‘Often there is no trickery to it -- they come willingly, with little more than the promise of a safe place to sleep. You, I suspect, would not have been lured so easily.’”

Let’s unpack some of the ways that’s legitimately disgusting:
- taking advantage of women with no shelter or security and taking them to ANOTHER WORLD where they will LIKELY DIE and with near certainty NOT RETURN HOME EVEN IF THEY ASK
- “often” there’s no trickery
- but it does involve LURING WOMEN IN NEED
- Harper COULDN’T BE LURED, so instead they KIDNAPPED HER

And there’s more stuff on the horizon! Because being harder to lure than a rodent unfamiliar with the concept of mousetraps isn’t the only way Harper isn’t like other girls.


Let’s just get into it: I counted 10+ instances of the not like other girls trope. I am now going to share a selection of those instances with you.

1) “Most of the girls Grey drags from her world won’t touch a blade or a bridle, and instead gravitate to the finery found within the lushly outfitted wardrobes inside Ironrose Castle.” Cue a whole passage about how tough and badass and cool she is, compared to every other (freshly kidnapped, but let’s just move right past that) girl in human existence who is a personality-less sack of lovesickness from the get-go.

2) “Usually the girls are charmed, even delighted, but Harper looks like she wants to turn and walk right back out of here.” The language used around the multitudinous kidnappings that are nonstop referenced in this book never stops being weird.

3) “For a different girl, the best part of this bedroom would be the closet.” Women be shopping, am I right? We love to resort to baseline gender stereotypes in order to characterize a protagonist by contrasting her to women at large rather than by use of any legitimate writing tactics!!!

4) “‘She is interesting.’ My eyes flick up. That’s not a word I’ve ever heard Grey use to describe one of the girls.” A lot of the time, I’m kind of immune to the not-like-other-girls bullsh*t, but sometimes one instance of it is so f*cked up that I am suddenly woken from the coma of my existential fatigue. This is one of those moments. No other girl is interesting. If women, across the board, are just not Interesting to you, you’re f*cking sexist and gross! That’s it! Bare minimum, the characters in this book and the situation at the core of it are sexist and gross!

5) “She accepts the lie readily, but I do not like it. Earning this moment feels a thousand times more satisfying than plying women with pretty falsehoods and empty promises.” It must be lovely to be the one woman this f*cker decides he’s okay with treating as a person.

6) “I have had over three hundred women to practice on. I should have known better.” Women are, again -- and I cannot stress this enough -- NOT people, but they are: practice!

7) “Did you get naked with these hundreds of women, too?” Fun stuff.

8) “I forgot that she is not some simple girl who sparks intrigue with every other word from her tongue.” Some. Simple. Girl. Also, that sentence is from a literal paragraph after the one I quoted before it! Nice.

Maybe even more overwhelming than all of these instances is the fact that just about everything Harper does and is and says has to be contrasted with Girls At Large. Her familiarity with horses? Not like other girls. Playing cards with Grey? Not like other girls. Smacking Rhen across his stupid dumb consentless face? LIKE NO OTHER WOMAN IN RECORDED HISTORY.

By changing this story so it isn’t just One Girl (Beauty) who shows up at the Beast’s abode, and rather it’s HUNDREDS OF GIRLS, the author seems to have also thought that we needed reminders at every turn that Harper isn’t like any of them.

It’s f*cking exhausting.


Liberal inclusion of the not like other girls trope is, unfortunately, not the only gross sexist thing found in this book. And I’m not just talking about how consentless the whole thing is!

Because holy gender roles, Batman, is this thing...gender role-y.


“He selected ten guardsmen from those who applied. [...] To my surprise, Zo was one Grey chose -- and the only female.” ONE. OUT. OF. TEN. Finally a feminist read, am I right?

“The ladies of the castle have gone to work to make things more festive.” So glad The Women are finally getting to the important, non-stereotypically feminine work. Oh wait.

This line, also, just doesn’t sit well with me: “The tight fabric veiling the lower halves of their faces turns them all androgynous -- which is somehow intimidating.” Call me crazy, but I kinda fail to see what’s so intimidating about...androgyny. Am not creeped out by genderlessness, personally.

But don’t worry. It’s not only female characters, by means of being flat and uncharacterized beyond feminine roles, who are a nonstop barrel of Terrible. Because our main dude is also that.


Rhen is essentially portrayed as this tortured, tragic figure, forced to do bad deeds for the greater good. Considering the sheer number of terrible things he’s done -- kidnapping women on the reg, having a monster alter ego who is a nonstop Killing The Innocents machine, destroying his kingdom and also not ever doing his job even once even by accident -- we, as readers, have to buy this story. In order to even tolerate this sparkly eyed rogue, we have to believe that he is only bad because he Has To Be.

But uh...that characterization doesn’t add up? Like even a little. Take this gem of a thought, for example: “I once thought the monstrous destruction was the worst part of the curse, but I’ve long since learned that it’s not. It’s this, the repeated humiliation and punishment.”

If Rhen was tortured by what he was doing, maybe it’d be easier to like him. But he feels very little guilt or regret. Instead, he is very much like “IT’S NOT MY FAULT,” all the time forever. And I get that’s what I’m supposed to believe.

But I’m just saying, it doesn’t exactly scream Good Guy to react to your responsibility for the death of your loved ones by pitying yourself.


In addition to the various aforementioned not-my-favorite writing tactics, this book is often...sloppy. And I read an ARC, so maybe some of this changed, but I got taken out a few times by little things that bugged me.

Like the fact that Harper’s family is so poor that loan sharks are showing up at the door and her brother, Jake, didn’t have a dollar to give them...but somewhere in there he bought a new phone. Or that there’s a zero word chapter. Or that one paragraph switches to a POV that is completely different from the entire rest of the book. Or that none of the guard characters ever sleep.

Little things. But again, these may have changed.


On, oh, maybe page fourteen of this book, I realized something. That Something was that the names in this fantasy castle fairytale old times world are a f*cking delight. Everything has the most ridiculous, overdone, perfect name in the history of the universe.

I wrote down every single one. I did not even exclude the ones that seem less funny than the others. Here they are, for your reading pleasure.

All the names of places (which sound like names of fairy villages I would’ve brainstormed at 11 after constructing a stack of pebbles in my backyard for teensy mythical creatures to move into):
Emberfall, Ironrose, Wildthorne Valley, Hutchins Forge, Blackrock Plains, Silvermoon Harbor, Verin, Syhl Shallow, Willminton

All the names of characters (in the fantasy part) (relish all these normal names with one letter changed):
Rhen, Grey, Evalyn, Coale, Bastian, Freya, Lilith, Dahlia, Davin, Marko, Karis, Olivia, Edgar, Dara, Petor, Zo, Mave, Micah, Leylan, Dustan, Landon


We’ve reached the “normal” section of this review, where I stop yelling about specific things or offensive things and instead yell about actual book things. Like the characters, and how I felt nothing for them even once even at all over the whole course of this book. Or the fact that the twist was very predictable.

(I don’t even really remember the twist anymore.)


Still, there were some good things. In fact, there were precisely three of them:

1) This was fun and quick, which is a real shock considering it’s long boi. I read it in like a day or something. (And then proceeded to not review it for seven months.)
2) The cerebral palsy rep in this is by far the best part of the whole thing. It is the single most unique, interesting, and carefully and thoughtfully done aspect. If I read the next book (is there a next book?), it will be because of it.
3) Surprisingly, this gets marginally better as it goes along. I went from laughing regularly, prompting my roommate to ask me “Is that a this-book-is-funny laugh or this-book-sucks laugh?” (it was the latter), to not usually laughing, and instead occasionally scoffing. Progress.

Bottom line: Apparently this book worked for a lot of people. Maybe it will work for you. For me, it was a nonstop rollercoaster ride of Mess.


if you liked A Court of Thorns and Roses, you will really like this book.

I did not like A Court of Thorns and Roses.

review 2 come / 1.5 stars



i don't care if it's 500 pages long and my midterms are fast approaching, i'm reading it RIGHT NOW

thanks to Bloomsbury for the ARC!
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for jessica.
2,555 reviews35.7k followers
January 11, 2020
getting ready for my most anticipated sequel and release of 2020 by doing a reread. and this is just as amazing as it was the first time. 💙


quick! someone call the vatican and let them know a miracle has happened, because this is the first time i am giving a fairytale retelling 5 stars!!

this. book. is. phenomenal. like, honestly guys. you need to stop what you are doing and go get this book. the idea of ‘beauty and the beast’ has been retold multiple times, but this made me feel like i was experiencing the story for the first time, which is such an accomplishment. this is fresh and original and everything about it is just so enchanting. i was so drawn in that 480 pages seemed to go by in the blink of an eye. i just couldnt help but devour every word of this book.

the main character is really relatable. she has a great personality and, not to mention, cerebral palsy (ughh. that representation tho!? so good!). the love interest is an absolute delight and totally swoon-worthy. i really enjoyed how, even though this is a love story, it explores more than just romantic love; like love for self, love for family, love for country. and the writing is wonderful - the banter is honestly top notch!

i already knew brigid kemmerer is a queen of YA contemporary, so her venture into fantasy had me eager to see how she would do, and she did not disappoint! i highly recommend this to basically anyone who knows how to read. its just that good. lol.

5 stars
Profile Image for Hailey (Hailey in Bookland).
614 reviews87.8k followers
April 1, 2019
Video review - https://youtu.be/w9617uq7Kk0?t=1030

Unpopular opinion here, but I was just so bored. I was into it for probably 300 pages because I figured it had to get some dimension to it at some point, but it never did. I loved the rep with the main character having cerebral palsy, she was probably my favourite character out of all of them, but she was still a tough one to pin down because things were presented but never really expounded upon (not even just with her personality, it was an issue I had throughout the book). I could appreciate how the Beauty and the Beast fairy tale was twisted in the storyline, but everything else for me just fell flat.
Profile Image for Warda.
1,210 reviews19.7k followers
April 20, 2019
I'm on the verge of breaking up with YA fantasy. Well, with the new releases anyway and just sticking to authors that have worked for me. And possibly reading YA fantasy that were released in the past, because the constant disappointments and anger I feel towards the new ones are slowly decimating my soul.

This was a flop for me. Here I was expecting to really enjoy this retelling and it just got worse as I read on.
I could not tell you what happened in the last 100 pages or so. I skim-read it and I don't even care that I did. I tolerated it for 400 pages and that's enough to tell you I was patient enough.

The annoying thing for me here is that I adore, absolutely LOVE Letters to the Lost and More Than We Can Tell by Brigid Kemmerer. Those stories were so emotionally hard-hitting for me and well written and the characterisation strong.
But this felt like child's play. I cringed on numerous occasions, because of how flimsy it felt. There was so much lacking when it came to its world-building as well as the character development. The plot was interesting at first and it took me away to Emberfall and then it became a snooze-fest. I wasn't convinced by any of it. There was no substance, strength and no meat to the story. I think because it was quite fast-faced, it missed out on properly developing on those other elements.

Goddamn I'm feeling bitter. I'm feeling too bitter to think and give examples.
I really wanted to like this. And now I want to cry.
I'll review it properly whenever.
Or never.



Book 2 for the #TomeTopple readathon. Buddy-reading with the wonderful Karima! 💚

I adore Brigid Kemmerer's other books. They've been 5-star reads for me. I'm hoping this will be too.
Profile Image for Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin.
3,538 reviews9,967 followers
June 28, 2019
Read again with For Love Of A Book

Fairyloot Book Of The Month! Click on link below the picture to see the GOODIES! =)



Harper comes from modern day DC. She has cerebral palsy and she’s bad ass! Harper gets sucked into another world when she attacks Commander Grey when she sees him carrying a woman away. She thinks he is going to kill the lady. Suddenly Harper gets transported into another world through Grey.

It take Harper some time to trust Grey and Prince Rhen. They have a time with her too.

Harper wants to get back to her mom who is dying of cancer and her brother who is doing unsavory things to keep them afloat. But Rhen won’t let her go - at first. When the trust slowly is accepted, Harper helps try to save the people and Rhen and Grey.

I’m not going to say any more or I will spoil! I just want to leave it with kudos to the author for having a heroine like Harper!!!

That ending though!!!!

Happy Reading!


Profile Image for Cindy.
407 reviews116k followers
August 15, 2019
A solid Beauty and the Beast retelling with well-developed characters and relationships. Harper is a great main character because she has a realistic blend of strength and doubtfulness and a good head on her shoulders that makes her worthy of being a fantasy heroine. Rhen’s inner conflicts make him his own developed character rather than just a love interest. Grey, despite being a supporting character, is also just as likable (arguably more so). I enjoyed reading about the relationships between the trio, and the slow burn of the romance is realistic (including the question of whether it’s actually “love”). I also enjoyed the political tension throughout the book, which helped add meat to the story and ground it in reality with actual stakes.

The reason why I am not rating it 5 stars is because despite the great characters, I found the story to be quite predictable because of how straightforward the retelling was, and there were missed opportunities to make the story more unique and subversive. Because of its predictability, the book meandered too long for my tastes, with the pacing becoming a little sluggish until the last 100 pages. I’d be interested to see how the sequel goes when the structure breaks out of the BATB narrative.
Profile Image for ✨ Helena ✨.
382 reviews1,010 followers
January 25, 2022
‘Twas a buddy read with my bestie, Tabi, even though she completely left me in the dust, haha!

Right, so...this was an AMAZING La Belle et la Bête retelling!!! And trust me, I’ve read half a dozen of them by now (Beastly, Cruel Beauty, A Court of Thorns and Roses, Uprooted, Hunted). Why no, I don’t have a problem…Why would you even think that?! ;)

I especially enjoyed the fact that, like Meagan Spooner’s Hunted, we were able to see inside the mind of the beast! I think that this book ranks just under Rosamund Hodge’s Cruel Beauty as my favourite retelling of this classic tale. <3 Just like Hodge’s interpretation, Kemmerer’s has one heck of an opening line:

“There is blood under my fingernails. I wonder how many of my people I’ve killed this time.”

Doesn’t that just hook you in?!!! Unlike most faery tale retellings, Kemmerer’s blurs the lines between urban fantasy and high fantasy, which admittedly, is why I was initially hesitant to pick this book up. But you needn’t worry! Less than five of the sixty chapters actually take place in our world. The novel is almost exclusively set in the parallel land of Emberfall.

“‘My father is dead, my lady. My whole family is dead.’ He pulls back, meeting my gaze, but his voice doesn’t change. ‘That monster killed them all.’”

We all know how this tale goes by now…Once upon a time, a handsome prince lived in a beautiful castle. Although he had everything his heart desired, the prince was selfish and arrogant. One night, an unexpected intruder arrived in his chambers, seeking to become the future queen. The prince shared a bed with her and turned the woman away. Scorned, the woman revealed herself as a beautiful enchantress. As punishment, she cursed the castle and all who lived there. After each season, she would transform him into a hideous beast, unless he could learn to love another and earn their love in return. After which, the curse would be broken. Unfortunately for the prince, this is his last season to do so, or he would remain a beast for all time. Filled with despair and empty of hope, he wondered who could ever learn to love a beast?


“I’d forgotten this. How I could never solve anything before. How I was something to be shoved into back rooms or left playing lookout in the alley, because I never had anything to offer.”


Harper was a simply lovely protagonist, who was so brave, kind, and caring. While she may not have been born a princess, she certainly carried herself like one! Captured from the streets of Washington, D.C. at eighteen and suffering from a mild case of cerebral palsy (when one falls on the mild side of the spectrum, one can walk unaided), she has a lot going on at home, as well: Her father left them with a mountain of debt owed to criminals, her brother is expected to find a way to pay back that debt, and her mother is dying from cancer. Needless to say, being abducted to a magical land and given the duty of breaking a curse isn’t something else she wants to add to her to-do list. Either way, she comes to truly care for the people of Emberfall, which makes her rather conflicted internally: Should she stay in Emberfall and help the people who cannot help themselves? Or should she return home to treasure the few, precious moments she has left with her mother and help her brother resolve their debt? Harper is definitely one of my new, favourite protagonists.

“They believe her limp is the result of a war injury, but Harper is quick to correct them. ‘I was born this way,’ she'll snap, ‘and I'm going to die this way, so teach me to work around it.’ They love her for it.”


Rhen was a wonderful prince and I definitely swooned at some points! I really felt for him because, with the exception of Grey, he’s been alone for so long, repeating the curse over and over again, season after season, and in that time, no one has come to love him. He’s lost the family that he loved AND the trust of his people, who thought he had deserted them. He might even lose his country itself to a neighbouring country trying to invade, and if he fails to break the curse this season, he’ll permanently be a beast that could kill his people without hesitation.


"Grey stands in the doorway, one child on his shoulders, half-covered by the cloak. Another is in his arms, sound asleep and drooling against the front of his uniform. Snow dusts all three of them."


BUT, despite how much I loved Rhen, the star of the show for me was Grey, the commander of the royal guard! I love the tall, dark, and handsome / strong, silent, and brooding male trope haha! So sexy! ;) He was so brave, risking his life by facing down the beast each season, and so loyal, continuing to stay by Rhen’s side, after all this time. I have no idea who I prefer Harper to be with romantically, but she has sizzling chemistry with the both of them! <3 The last time I felt so passionately this way was with the Infernal Devices trio – Will, Jem, and Tessa – by Cassandra Clare!


My only complaint is that the enchantress, Lilith, was a pretty one-dimensional villain. We never got to hear her side of the story or even feel some sympathy for her. But all in all, she was a pretty sadistic and cruel antagonist that made this story even more compelling!

And can we talk about that epilogue?! I need A Heart So Fierce and Broken pronto!!! January 2020 cannot come quickly enough! I haven’t read Kemmerer’s more recent ventures into contemporary fiction, but I did read her X-Men-esque Elemental series in the early 2010s. This was such an improvement, from her plots to her characters, and even her writing style! I’m so proud of how far she’s come! This is a must-read, especially if you love faery tale retellings, or even a good love story! :D
Profile Image for Angelica.
814 reviews1,154 followers
May 21, 2020
Let it be stated for the record that I read this book in one sitting. I went to sleep at almost 3am reading this. I had to be at work at exactly 9am. Do I have any sense of 'adult responsibilities' or any real concept of priorities??

Clearly not.

And I regret nothing!

This book was strange for me. I honestly had no idea how I would rate it because while I was completely addicted while reading, I also didn't love it. I wasn't even close to loving it. And I don't know what to make of that.

This book was a good book. A lot of people will love it. In fact, a lot of people already do. I am not of those people. There was a spark that was missing for me and I just couldn't figure it out!

I just couldn't quite relate to the story, or find myself fully invested in what happened in the story.

One of my problems with this book was that it was too long! I was half falling asleep by the end of this (in its defense it was way past my bedtime) and I kinda just wanted it to end. Another thing is that I just couldn't cheer for the romance between Rhen and Harper. These two spend half the book giving each other the side eye and not getting along. And while the relationship takes forever to get anywhere, it still felt rushed. This whole book takes place over one season, which is like 3 months, at most.

Gray and Harper would have been a ship to die for, but we'll leave that there for now.

But, all the hating aside, I speed-read this book for a reason, right?

That reason was probably Gray.

My favorite character is always the stoic, kinda moody, highly dangerous, scary looking guy with a secret heart of gold and that is Gray down to a T.

Seriously, this man just needed to be hugged. He needed to be loved and told to relax every once in a while. He was too good for Rhen and too good for that world. None of them deserved him!

Aside from Gray, I also really liked the writing. I liked the author's style and I really liked the other characters. I didn't love them the way I did Gray, but Harper was a fun heroine, and Rhen, my poor, lonely and depressed baby, was so much more likable than I thought he would be. He too needs a hug. And a good night's sleep.

Overall, I do recommend this one. I think most people will like it. I will also definitely be reading the sequel. Although, if we're honest, this book most definitely did not need a sequel. But, if a book sells why not write it, I guess?

In the end, this was probably a pretty messy review. Did I even say anything of substance? I don't think I did? But I also still don't quite know how I felt about this book so there is that too.

Don't listen to me. This review makes no sense and I have no idea what I'm saying.

It was a good book and I had problems with it. I read it in one sitting and I didn't love it. Make of that what you will.

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Profile Image for destiny ♡ howling libraries.
1,747 reviews5,294 followers
March 1, 2022
#1 A Curse So Dark and Lonely ★★★★★
#2 A Heart So Fierce and Broken DNF

If you've read the book and enjoy listening to great songs that are super emotional and reminiscent of characters, might I encourage you to listen to 'I'll Be Good' by Jaymes Young and cry over Rhen with me?

Harper’s life isn’t easy—her father has left her family with all his debts, her brother is working for the same loan sharks they owe, and her mother is in the final stages of cancer. Meanwhile, in the land of Emberfall, Crown Prince Rhen is facing the final season of his curse: if he doesn’t find love within three months, he’ll be left forever in the form of the bloodthirsty beast that overtakes him with each failed courtship. When the prince’s guard kidnaps Harper for one last shot at breaking the spell, will she choose a dying kingdom, or her family?

I love Beauty and the Beast retellings, but we’ve had so many of them that they need a fresh take to catch my eye nowadays, and A Curse So Dark and Lonely absolutely had that to offer. Between the mixture of urban and high fantasy worlds, and the protagonist’s cerebral palsy representation, I’ve been hyped as heck for this release since the synopsis was first announced. In fact, I think I hyped myself up too much for it, because when my copy arrived,it was hard to pick it up right away just thanks to being nervous over how devastated I knew I’d be if it wasn’t amazing!

→ L I K E S :

“You are responsible. You, Rhen. You alone will destroy them all.”

Thankfully, every last one of my concerns were TOTALLY unnecessary, because I thought this was flawless. I adored the atmospheric setting, the flawed characters, the representation, and how dark the curse was. Brigid Kemmerer took this classic tale of a prince cursed to live life as a beast, and tossed it into such a heavy, violent spin that I was hooked from the first page.

Everything is always the same. Except for the dead. They never come back.

Of course, there are the characters, too, who are so lovable despite being ridiculously flawed (or because of that, maybe, because they all feel so complex and multidimensional!). Harper is a phenomenal heroine and I LOVED her CP rep—there are just so many good conversations taking place in this book regarding how the world treats people with disabilities.

There is blood under my fingernails. I wonder how many of my people I’ve killed this time.

And then, of course, there’s Rhen, who is so angsty and tragic but in the best way, and my favorite, Grey, the guard. Grey was honestly the star of this show for me, between his quick wit, cool demeanor, and neverending loyalty and bravery. Can I please get a book about him, Brigid? Pleeeaaaaase?


Seriously, though, I just don’t have anything negative to say about this gorgeous fantasy novel. Between the writing, characters, story, rep—it’s the whole package, and easily my favorite work that I’ve read from Brigid Kemmerer so far. I love her contemporary writing, too, but this made me genuinely hope she keeps putting out fantasy releases, because she’s a total natural.


I’d recommend this to any fans of fantasy stories, especially if you enjoy retellings and/or high/low fantasy crossovers!

All quotes come from an advance copy and may not match the final release. Thank you so much to Bloomsbury YA for providing me with this ARC in exchange for an honest review!
Profile Image for elena ❀.
304 reviews3,183 followers
April 8, 2021
I am always surprised to discover that when the world seems darkest, there exists the greatest opportunity for light.

In case you didn't know already, one of my book talents are joining in the hype of the books months or years after the hype. A Curse So Dark and Lonely was really one of my most anticipated releases of 2019. I wasn't a fan of Kemmerer's popular Letters To the Lost book, but I still wanted to give this one a shot. I was surprised at the fact that when I started reading this, I didn't want to get back up and stop reading. I wanted to stay seated on my chair and finish the book. Brigid Kemmerer really surprised me with this one.

Following a similar story to Beauty and the Beast, Brigid decided to keep the original story attached but also decided to add in her own darker and more creative ways to make the story even better. In A Curse So Dark and Lonely, we follow two perspectives, shifting in order.

Rhen is the Prince of Emberfall, but he was also cursed by an enchantress. After throwing her away, she cursed him to repeat his 18th year over and over, every season, until a girl falls in love with him to break the curse. At first, it seemed easy for him, but that was before he knew he would shift into a beast every autumn. Following this form are only plans of destroying, as all the beast thinks about is death and violence. The beast controls Rhen and it is the one who destroyed the castle, killed his family, and ripped him from his people. Now, he sees his people starve and live in poverty. As they age, he repeats his year over and over, and until the curse is broken, Rhen has no hope left.

Harper, living in DC, is dealing with her situations. After having to deal with her father leaving them, her mother is dying and is in the last stages of cancer while she and her brother have to do anything in their will to be able to pay the debts their father left. Not only that, but her brother underestimates what Harper can do and can't do due to her cerebral palsy. When Harper sees a young and blonde woman trying to be taken by a strange man, she believes the right thing to do is step in and save her, but she begins to think about her mother, her brother, herself, and how this could lead to more trouble. Still, seeing how the young woman is struggling, she can't keep looking and not do anything. When she tries saving her, she's suddenly no longer in the streets of Washington, DC, but she's in the cursed world of Rhen. Unable to believe that she has to stay in this unsafe, unknown and magical place, Harper begins to strategize and come up with ideas to get back home, but she didn't know that there wasn't any way to go back.

As Harper is stuck with Rhen and in his world, his castle, and with everything else around him, she notices that Rhen isn't just as arrogant as she thought. She notices that Emberfall is more than just magical. She knows she has a family to go back to, but as she starts getting adjusted to the world of Emberfall, she knows there is more at stake. Meanwhile, Rhen also notices that Harper isn't just a girl that he needs to try and have her fall in love with. He notices that she is strong. He notices that he is trying to help him make a change in his world and for his people. He notices that she is bringing him back the hope he thought he would never have again. As the two begin to spend more time together and get to know each other, the two realize there is more than just a curse to be broken.

There is blood under my fingernails. I wonder how many of my people I’ve killed this time.

Brigid Kemmerer is quite underrated. Although her Letters to the Lost duology is quite popular, I wouldn't call it one of the most popular contemporary books out there. I, myself, was not a fan of Letters to the Lost. I had given up on her, but then she announced a sequel that was about Declan, and I was all up for it. The fact that I still have not read it makes me feel like a fake fan, but I believe this can make up for it.

A Curse So Dark and Lonely had me hooked since the start. I can't remember the process of the feeling I got when I started reading this without realizing I kept reading while losing track of time. It's as if this book was made for me to get me out of my two-month reading slump. The fewest things I remember as I was reading was laughing at Grey's sense of humor, crying towards the end, and wishing I could slam this book into my friend's faces because they don't read and I wish they did.

The world in this was so imaginable. I am so glad to say that it does not get to the point where it's over described, overwhelming, boring, and even unimaginable. It felt like I was in Emberfall at times, looking up at the stars and then gazing at the snow. Being able to imagine the world brought so much more interest in the book. The author manages to make it feel like we were going with Harper along with her journey when she first arrived, seeing everything for the first time and becoming adjusted to it. Along with the world-building, the author also never failed to leave me bored. I kept wanting to read to find out more and find out what would happen.

Kemmerer has created unforgettable characters. Harper is one of the best female protagonists I have read about. When she met Rhen, she immediately showed him her identity and who she is. Not only was she caring, but she was strong. She also has cerebral palsy, but she did not let it get in her way. Although it was not mentioned too often, it was not ignored. When asked why she would limp or be slow at times, she would answer directly and honestly, and it was so nice to see the main character not allow herself to be thrown down because of a disorder. Not only that, but she was also so caring. When she noticed how Emberfall was, she wanted to take action and help Rhen, but also help the people living there. It was as if Emberfall was the home she never knew about.

As the story moved on, Harper took the role of a princess. She wasn't born one but it felt as if the whole time she was made to rule Emberfall along with Rhen. She may have not been made to be a princess before, but she knew what being a leader meant. She knew what she was doing, and she knew she was doing it for good purposes. Her warm heart and her care for the people showed that she was willing to do anything she could to help anyone.

We are all dealt a hand at birth. A good hand can ultimately lose—just as a poor hand can win—but we must all play the cards the fate deals. The choices we face may not be the choices we want, but they are choices nonetheless.

Harper did learn from Rhen himself as well. Since he was used to royalty since a young age, Harper had to understand his point of view. Seeing that she was able to understand and sympathize with him warmed my heart. They were enemies and seeing how their relationship progressed into something beautiful as I read on kept warming my heart. Harper learns that there can be good in the hearts of the ones who look like there is no light in them.

Rhen can be considered arrogant and with zero personality at first, but to me, he was not that. Rhen was broken, and he couldn't fix himself. He thought he had it all at first and thought everything was easy, but as time passed, he noticed that none of it was ever easy. He noticed that his people were dying, but he had no motivation and determination to do anything. Rhen looked back at his poor decisions and saw that he needed to do something. His issue was that he felt like he couldn't do anything. He was a broken prince who didn’t know where he belonged at the moment, what his true colors were, and who he really was.

This is an enemy to lovers story, but it's not just about the romance. It's also about trust and deciding on who to rely on, who to let your secrets out to, who to consider a big part of your life. Rhen and Harper found in each other in both of their worst moments, and although there were times when I wanted to yell at Harper because she was being the selfish one at times instead, I could understand her situation. She wanted to go home and see how her mother was doing. She knew she was going to die, and her only hope was to say goodbye during the final stage. She noticed how happy her brother was with his boyfriend, Noah, and noticed that he was also in trouble. I couldn't blame her attitude because of the situation she was going through, but I couldn't accept it every time because I needed her to understand Rhen's situation as well.

I do not understand how she can fill me with such hope and fear simultaneously.

I believe the only complaint of this is not only how the ending is torture and I have to wait until January of next year to find out if my predictions are true or false, but the torture Brigid decided to give Rhen because of Lilith broke my heart. It would make sense as to why she would do it, as I hear Brigid makes torture as part of the plot in her books. There isn't much I can say about her, besides the fact that she showed nothing but darkness to Rhen. We don't get to hear her side of the story, and I hope we do in the next book. With that epilogue, there might be more to her story, or maybe it was the end. Even though I really despised Lilith, her never-mentioned story sounds interesting and being able to know more about who she is, what she really does, why she did what she did, and how she did it would bring more suspense to the book.

To end this, I'd like to finally talk about my actual favorite character of this: Grey.

His sarcastic tones, his sense of humor, his overall dialogue—it was all hilarious. The way he was able to get along with the children, making them laugh at one point and then standing on guard when Rhen caught him was the cutest. Not only that, but the friendship he formed with Harper was something he needed. Because he was also cursed with Rhen, his age would repeat over and over again as well. He was always a guardsman and considering that Rhen used to make him suffer at times, the break he would get when he was with Harper was appreciated by me wholeheartedly. He was making me laugh since he brought Harper to the castle, and being able to see that he was another addition of hope, light, and happiness for Rhen was beautiful. I do hope he remains as Rhen's guardsman, not because of what he would do for him, but because of how long they have known each other for and because of what they know from each other. Grey was brave, loyal, and would never leave the side of Rhen unless asked to. Seeing as how he would lay his life for Rhen brought multiple tears to stream down my cheeks.

“She attacked you?” My eyebrows rise. “Grey. She is half your size.”
“She makes up for it in temperament. She most assuredly was not my first choice.”

A Curse So Dark and Lonely has become a favorite of mine. Seeing as how the ending was, I don't think I'll be needing to re-read this when the sequel comes out, but I might reconsider it when the date becomes closer.
Profile Image for Yun.
521 reviews21.8k followers
December 15, 2021
"We are all dealt a hand at birth. A good hand can ultimately lose—just as a poor hand can win—but we must all play the cards fate deals. The choices we face may not be the choices we want, but they are choices nonetheless."
I love me a good fairytale retelling, so when I heard about A Curse So Dark and Lonely back in 2019, I immediately started salivating. The problem is that I have terrible book memory, so I try not to start a series until all the books are out. Fast-forward two years, the third book is released, and the agony of the long wait is finally over.

I always approach fairytale retellings cautiously. After all, it must be no easy task to take on Beauty and the Beast, arguably one of the most well-known and beloved fairytales out there. So many have tried, with mixed results. But my concerns here were unfounded. Kemmerer knocked it out of the park. She made this a unique story in its own right, while still staying true to the spirit of the original fairytale.

This story swept me away. It grabbed me from the very first moment, and I was instantly smitten. It has so much going for it. The curse is hopelessly cruel and dark. The characters are flawed, but nonetheless strong and courageous. They are deserving of our sympathy, and it was so much fun to cheer them on in their quest. And the world-building feels natural and intuitive, seamlessly fitting into the real world. When our heroine crossed over into Emberfall, I felt like I did too.

The most important thing this story gets right is that its narrative and its conflicts make sense. This seems like such an obvious thing, but more often than not, a lot of fantasy books fall short for me in that regard. This misstep affects everything, making it hard to understand the characters and their subsequent actions. Here, everything comes together. As a result, all the difficult choices that follow feel genuine and believable.

I also particularly enjoyed the love story in here. A lot of YA rushes through this part, making it feel superficial and instant. But this story really takes its time. The two main characters are both cautious, having been hurt and disappointed many times before. It's satisfying and joyful to see their partnership slowly develop, before it turns into something more.

What I love most about reading is you never know how a book might surprise you. I knew going into this that it would be fun and thrilling, even a little romantic. But it turned out to be so much more. Something in this magical story really spoke to me and brightened my day at exactly the moment when I needed it the most.
Profile Image for Virginia Ronan ♥ Herondale ♥.
548 reviews34.7k followers
February 1, 2021
”My father once said we are all dealt a hand at birth. A good hand can ultimately lose – just as a poor hand can win – but we must all play the cards fate deals. The choices we face may not be the choices we want, but they are choices nonetheless.”

So after reading “A Curse so Dark and Lonely” I was actually kind of surprised to discover that a lot of my favourite bloggers only rated this book 3 or 2 stars. I get that they are tired of “The Beauty and the Beast” retellings but I don’t get the low ratings. O_o In short: Yours truly is confused! *lol* Sure, there are a lot of retellings at the market right now and yes, ACOTAR is among them, but that doesn’t mean that this wasn’t good. Quite the contrary, in its own way it had quite a unique spin. Well, at least in my humble opinion it did. ;-)

For instance Harper, the love interest, has cerebral palsy, the beast is no beast right away but slowly turns into one the more time passes, and even more interesting Rhen actually has a (best) friend. XD (Though I’m pretty sure a lot of people might disagree with me, when it comes to that last part.) Also there’s an evil sorceress that apparently has nothing better to do than to torment our MCs. Who doesn’t love a wicked witch? *lol*

Joking aside this was a lot of fun to read and it definitely kept me reading. Sure, you might argue that the jump from modern DC to Emberfall was quite sudden and jarring and yes, I’m the first one to admit that Grey (the side-character) was my favourite character in this book. Still, I might have not been as attached to Harper and Rhen as I was to Grey, this doesn’t mean that the book or its characters were bad though. Sometimes you just like the side-characters more and this is certainly one of those particular cases. (Come to think of it this seems to be a recurring thing when it comes to “The Beauty and the Beast” retellings. After all I loved Lucien and Rhys way more than Tam too. XD) Anyway, if you’re looking for a fast and entertaining TBATB retelling I’m pretty sure you’ll like this one too. ;-) And now that we got that out of the way, let’s jump right to my characters section!

The characters:

Welcome to Emberfall where we always have autumn and it never gets cold. But that’s not all! We also have a lot of amazing sights like for instance lots of spoilers, a beast, enemy troops and a super evil enchantress. Just like the spoilers you might want to avoid the enchantress though. *lol* This is a fair warning! If they get their hands on you I’m not responsible. ;-P


”She wasn’t conscious. She wasn’t going willingly.” Her words are fierce. “And for the record, I’m not either.”

Ahh that fire! I really liked Harper right from the beginning. This is a girl that thinks on her feet and stands by her opinion! She is certainly no damsel in distress and I was happy to see such an independent character. Harper is ready to fight for her life and for what she thinks is right and she won’t back down just because of an evil enchantress and a curse. I think in some way that made her the perfect match for Rhen because she’s not broken and he actually needed a strong willed person like her. This said, I don’t know a lot about cerebral palsy but for me the rep was done really well. I liked that Harper was honest about it and that she considered herself to be lucky. Just like epilepsy, cerebral palsy seems to come with different characteristics and with a different severity for every person that’s affected by it and I could really relate to that. I’m really curious where Harper’s character will go in the next book and I can’t wait to see more of her relationship with Rhen.

”It affects everyone differently,” she says. “Some people can’t walk, or they can’t speak, or they have to use a wheelchair. I was a lot worse off when I was younger, so I had to have surgery to correct my left leg. I still have trouble with balance, and I walk with a limp, but I’m really lucky.”


”My lady, please – please know I meant you no harm. I meant your family no harm. I have tried everything I can think of to break this curse. I have tried to destroy myself. I would undo it if I could. I promise you.”

Lord Vincent Aldrhen, Prince of Emberfall, son of Broderick, King of the Eastern Lands. Wow! That’s quite a long title, no wonder he goes by Rhen. *lol* Rhen was a very difficult character to gauge. I guess this is mostly due to him having to endure not only the curse but also the company of Lilith. At first I thought he was just reserved and cautious but the more I found out about him, the more I realized that he was thoroughly broken. He didn’t dare to hope that the curse could be broken and after so many years he was demoralized and resigned. Not even desperate, just done with the world and the curse. Well, and then Harper came along and gave him hope. I really liked that he always did what was best for his people and it’s no surprise Grey was so loyal to him. What Karis Luran told him at the end was quite a revelation though and I’m more than just ready to find out if it’s true. XD

”This was my father’s kingdom,” he says. “This is now my kingdom. I may not be able to save myself – but I may be able to save my people.”


Grey sights and gather up the cards. “You asked how I got her to play with me. As if there were some trick to it.” He wraps up the stack. “My lord, I did nothing. I sat down and asked.”

Ahhh my precious Grey! I haven’t been as enamoured by a side-character ever since I read ACOTAR and this says quite something! Lucien was/is so intriguing and Grey is too! XD For me he was legit the best thing about this book and I can’t wait to read “A Heart so Fierce and Broken” because I’ll finally get his POV! I loved that he was such a complex character yet at the same time he was so easy to be around. He took everything in stride and his loyalty to Rhen and Harper was amazing. <3 This said I think that he suffered at least as much from the curse as Rhen did because he is a good person and to stand aside while Rhen was tortured by Lilith must have been pure hell for him. He’s compassionate and kind and he has some special brand of dark humour that was especially endearing. (at least for me it was. *lol*) In short: He’s an angel and an honourable soul and I really hope that he won’t suffer even more in the next book. I hate that Lilith and Karis Luran drove a wedge between him and Rhen and I really hope they’ll be able to talk things out in book two. >_<

”If His Highness allowed it, I would take her provocation by tenfold. I would fight her until I had no breath left to breathe.” His voice turns almost lethal, and in the dim light of the hallway, Grey’s eyes seem to darken. “My duty is to bleed so he does not. And now,” he says, “my duty is to bleed so you do not.”

The relationships & ships:

Harper & Rhen:

She studies me. “I never know when to trust you. Everything always sounds so calculated.”
I jerk back, stung.
“Until you said all that.”

Mhmm... I know they are the two MCs that were supposed to fall in love but I didn’t really feel their relationship. If anything it was more some sort of friendship that formed between them and even though they were attracted to each other I never had the feeling that they were I dunno, head over heels? Truly, madly, deeply? *lol* But then again this was the same problem I had with ACOTAR. Only attraction just isn’t working for me and considering that they apparently fell in love by the end of the book their relationship was actually pretty chaste. I think the most outrageous thing they did was hold hands and brush lips. XD What a scandal! *lol* Sorry, my sarcasm is surfacing. ;-P I think what it comes down to, is that I missed the passion between those two. But maybe I’ll get more of it in the next book? *shrugs* One thing is for certain though, for the main MC couple their love story was pretty lukewarm and probably the only thing I didn’t like about the book. Let’s hope I’ll be persuaded and swept of my feet by them in the next instalment.

”I’m sorry,” Harper whispers. “I’m sorry I didn’t break the curse.”
I lift a hand to brush the tears off her cheeks. Oh, Harper. I wish she had. Not because of the curse, or because of Karis Luran, or because of Emberfall.
Because I have fallen in love with her.”

Harper & Grey:

I look at Grey, remembering how he made faces at the children in the snow. “You’re good with kids,” I say. “That’s like the most ... incongruous thing about you.”
“Is it?” he says, his voice dry. “Truly, my lady?”

Haha! I really liked those two! And yes, in my opinion they had more chemistry than Harper and Rhen. Might have been due to Grey’s intensity though. *lol* Either way I enjoyed their friendship and it was such a natural thing. Like they were just honest with each other and appreciated each other’s company. Nothing about them was complicated and it was the easiness and their companionship that made their scenes together so nice to read. =) Also that scene at the inn! *lol* I loved that Grey just followed Harpers order and how surprised she was at what he did. Haha! One of the best scenes in the entire book. XD I’m not sure I like the insinuation of Grey being romantically interested in Harper though. For me they had nothing but a great friendship and that conversation between Grey and Rhen when they drank together didn’t sit well with me. It came out of nowhere and sure Harper is great but we all know she’s Rhen’s love interest so why insinuate a love triangle that will lead nowhere? Just for the sake of it? Nope. Not buying it. They will be friends and that’s it. ;-P

I hold his gaze and refuse to look away. “Commander Grey. Prove how serious I am.”
Grey’s hand flicks out. The man shouts and drops to the ground. The hilt of a knife protrudes from his knee. Whoa. I have no idea what I expected him to do, but that’s even better.

Harper & Jake:

”You think I’m going to sit upstairs eating cake with Noah while you’re out risking your life?” he snaps. “Quit staring at me. I’m coming with you.”

Harper and Jake gave me all the sibling vibes! <3 I loved their relationship and that they were so close. We might have only gotten them together near the end of the book but the few scenes they had were really wholesome and typical for siblings. The bickering, the conversations, the wish to take care of each other, their protectiveness, it was on point. Also I kind of liked that Jake had a bf and that no one was bothered by this. *lol* In fact Grey’s reaction was hilarious! The healer’s concubine. I’m still not over it. XD I can’t help but wonder what they’ll do now that they are stuck in Emberfall though. Harper was always supposed to end up with Rhen, but her brother and Noah came there by accident and I’m curious if they’ll stay in Emberfall or if Grey will return them to DC one day. Guess I’ll have to find out by continuing with the series. ;-)

Then he smiles, a shadow of the old Jake, before life clobbered us all. “Mom would be really proud of you, Princess Harper.” He kisses me on the forehead, then heads back through the doors into the castle.

Lilith & Rhen:

”I cannot wait to see how your monster manifests this season,” she says. “Perhaps I will keep you on a chain and put you on display for my enemies.”
A sudden chill grips my spine. This is an outcome I have never considered.

I rarely witnessed such an abusive relationship in a book and whilst Harper’s and Rhen’s relationship was super chaste the same couldn’t be said about Lilith and Rhen. That woman tortured him in every way possible, manipulated him, enslaved him, sexually and emotionally abused him, humiliated him and did everything in her power to make him submissive. >_< I felt so sorry for Rhen and it’s no wonder he gave up hope and was broken. Seriously, Lilith’s relationship with Rhen was such a harsh contrast to his relationship with Harper and the differences couldn’t have been even more pronounced. Which was most likely Brigid Kemmerer’s intention. An abusive relationship vs. a wholesome one. Still, I hated Lilith for what she did to Rhen and Grey and I really hope Grey managed to end her. Hopefully she won’t appear in the next book. Good riddance!

”Humiliation burns my eyes, my throat. When she breaks the kiss, relief nearly breaks me. I want to shove her away, but I am pinned to the wall. My breathing is rough and ragged. I cannot look at her. I can barely move. My hands are still in fists, my muscles so tense I am trembling. And hope that bloomed in my chest has now withered and died.”

Rhen & Grey:

”This was never a curse to be broken. This is a death sentence. The true curse has been the thought that we might find escape.”

What they both endured and what they went through together... I think it’s safe to say that they aren’t just friends but actually brothers. (no pun intended, I swear. *lol*) They tried to keep it professional for so long but the longer the season proceeded the more they gave up on their formality. And I think that was good the way it was. After so many seasons it was about time they admitted that they are friends. You can’t survive things like they did without forging a bond and theirs is strong. I’m confident that whatever Karis Luran and Lilith threw their way ... they’ll overcome it in the next book. They have too much history together and I believe in them. Grey might think he won’t be welcome at Emberfall but we all know that Rhen misses him sorely! So there’s that! I really hope they’ll meet in “A Heart so Fierce and Broken” and that they’ll finally be able to have the friendship they were supposed to have all along. =)

I do not understand how he can speak of my failures as if they are victories. “It was all I could do.”
“You asked why I keep my oath. In that moment, I never meant it more.”
“I do not deserve your loyalty, Grey.”
“Deserved or not, you have it.”

”You are incorrigible. I have no idea how I put up with you for so long.”
I raise an eyebrow, more amused than anything else. “Is that the drink talking?”
The shadow of a wicked smile finds his lips. “You told me to speak my mind.”


“A Curse So Dark and Lonely” definitely lived up to its title. Some scenes were truly dark and I felt really sorry for the lonely MCs! XD In this case I’ve to admit that I loved the side-character more than the MCs though. Grey just stole them both the show and I was quite fine with that. ;-P Still, for another TBATB retelling this was as good as they come and I can’t wait to get my hands on the second book. I’ve been told there will be Grey’s POV so I’m already pumped! *lol*
Profile Image for Sofia.
231 reviews6,981 followers
August 1, 2021
Still a better love story than Twilight.
Still a better Beauty and the Beast retelling than ACOTAR.

Harper is just a girl living in DC, taking care of her sick mother and trying to support her family, when a mysterious man, Grey, shows up out of nowhere and tries to abduct a girl. She sees this happening and attacks the man, freeing the girl, and he ends up kidnapping her instead. She wakes up in Emberfall, a bleak fantasy world. The Prince, Rhen, has been cursed by an enchantress named Lilith and must fall in love or else he will turn into a terrifying monster and kill without reason. This has happened multiple times before, and Rhen is losing hope.

The beginning of this book was very bad. I hated all the characters because Grey was boring, Rhen was a cold jerk for no reason, and Harper was not like other girls. When Rhen and Grey talked together about the girls they took before Harper, they really emphasize how DiFfErEnT and SpEsHuL Harper is.

Most of the girls Grey drags from her world won't touch a blade or a bridle, and instead gravitate to the finery found within the lushly outfitted wardrobes inside Ironrose Castle. This early in the season, the other girls would sit by the hearth and gaze at me over crystal goblets.

I don't get it. Rhen took hundreds of girls and not a single one of them was mad that they got kidnapped? Not one before Harper? I would be extremely angry. I would throw the goblet at his face. Does this make me not like other girls? I don't think so.

For a different girl, the best part of this bedroom would be the closet.

Fancy clothes are cool, okay? Who doesn't want to feel like a princess?

aND THEN this happens:

"She is interesting."
My eyes flick up. That's not a word I've ever heard Grey use to describe one of the girls. "Interesting?"

Hundreds of girls and Harper is the only interesting one. Great. Good to know my chances of being interesting are like one in three hundred.

"Did you play cards with the other hundreds of girls?"
That surprises me. "Why not?"
He rubs at his jaw. "That is a complicated question, my lady. Likely for the same reason I never found need to face them with a weapon."


Rhen thinks he's so great because he's not going to force Harper to fall in love with him. But isn't that what he's doing? He literally kidnapped her and told her that she had to fall in love with him to break his curse, and that thousands of lives are at stake. He put that pressure on her. Just look at this conversation between Rhen and Harper.

"I declared that I would no longer risk my own people. By that point I had lost so many. I refused to sacrifice any more."
"Oh, but people from my home were fair game?"

She has a point.

And you expect me to root for this romance? There was a hint of romance already so early on. She wanted to kill him and then she wanted to LeAn iNtO HiS wArMtH.

Harper is the best character in this book. She got so much better the more I got to know her. At the beginning of the book, she suffered from Impulsive Stubborn YA Protagonist Syndrome, but she grew out of it. She has cerebral palsy, but the author did a great job because she didn't make that Harper's defining trait. Harper is strong, selfless without being annoying about it, and has had enough of people being annoying.

I can appreciate that he wants to do it himself, but I'm kind of done with prideful men.

You and me both.

"You don't get something just because you want it. Most people learn that by the time they're six."

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I liked Rhen more towards the end of the book (well, I liked everyone more towards the end of the book), but he's still a boring prince stereotype who mUsT FuLfiLL HiS dUtY tO tHe PeOpLe and who randomly gets cold towards Harper because of his own issues, messing up her life again. Can we just eliminate this trope? I hate it. When they get closer and then one of them suddenly decides to cut the other off entirely. Why does this happen so much? It's stupid.

"I will not force myself on an unwilling girl."

But you will kidnap her and refuse to return her to her dying mother.
And they say chivalry is dead.

Grey is boring. He's a guard. He doesn't talk very much. He's brooding. He's basically Chaol Westfall. Rhen is Dorian Havilliard. Harper is the only character that stands out. Her main problem is that she blushes so much.

But the worst characters by far are the villains. One is obviously Lilith, the enchantress, who cursed Rhen for the stupidest reason of all time. She's not believable as a villain at all. The rules of the curse she created are so arbitrary. Lilith can't interfere with the courting, yet she wants to kill them all. She's the one who made the rules in the first place. Why doesn't she just break them? Why not let herself interfere? She gives Grey the power to travel between worlds, which means that she is also able to travel between worlds, so she's really powerful. I want to get to know her better. Right now she's just a petty, inconsistent jerk, and I don't get it.

The other antagonist is Karis Luran, the leader of a random nation who is mad at Emberfall for some reason and declares war. So there's a war. It's all very disorganized, and there's no worldbuilding at all. There are some cities in Emberfall, but they all blend together. There's not even a map. Where is Karis Luran from? What is her culture like? Why are we supposed to hate her? Why is she relevant?

So why did I rate this 2.5 stars and not 2? Because the ending was sO GOOD. The first 75% of the book was really slow. Nothing happened. But the last 25% was so action-packed and exciting. I started liking the characters more. It was just a really fun time, and I enjoyed it greatly. I guessed both plot twists, but they were set up pretty well, so I'll excuse that.

"I am always surprised to discover that when the world seems darkest, there exists the greatest opportunity for light."

2.5 stars


I started out hating the not like other girls and odd "romantic" moments, but then Harper changed from being speshul to being resilient and amazing and Rhen decided to stop running from himself, and it was awesome.

review to come...
Profile Image for Melanie.
1,176 reviews98.9k followers
December 1, 2018

ARC provided by Bloomsbury in exchange for an honest review.

“I am always surprised to discover that when the world seems darkest, there exists the greatest opportunity for light.”

A Curse So Dark and Lonely is a reimagining of Beauty and the Beast with a much darker theme. In this version, the Prince is forced to repeat the quest to find love over and over each season, while causing more and more bloodshed each time. But after three-hundred seasons, this season will officially be the very last one.

Harper - The Belle. Eighteen-years-old and from DC, before she is captured. But back home, she has a hard home life, living with her mother who has cancer and they can’t afford medical treatment, and a brother who is forced to pick up his father’s mantle to work for crime lords because he left his family in so much debt. Harper also has Cerebral Palsy, which I understand has very many different types on a spectrum, but she is high functioning. (Also, if you are an ownvoices reviewer, I would love to link your review and boost your voice on your feelings about the representation!) And besides Harper’s Cerebral Palsy representation, which is also at the heart of this book, her brother, Jake, is also queer and has the sweetest boyfriend, Noah, who is black.

Rhen - The Beast. But the dark themes I brought up above is that each season when a girl doesn’t fall in love with him, he turns into a different beast and kills whatever is in his way. And then a new season begins, and the curse starts all over again.

Grey - Rhen’s guard commander, and the only living person left at the castle with him. Not only is he a loyal friend to him, but he captures the girls and brings them back for him.

Lilith - The enchantress who has cast this spell on Rhen and his kingdom. I’ll be honest, this character very much reminded me of Ianthe from A Court of Thorns and Roses.

Freya - The shining star of the book, if I’m being honest. She has a child of her own but is also taking care of three of her sister’s children. I don’t know why I loved her so much, but she really was my favorite in the entire story. Give her a spin-off, please.

And these characters come together to set the stage and remake the story of Beauty and the Beast unlike any other. We get to see Harper decide if she wants to save a kingdom or her family and we get to see Rhen decide if he is worth saving. And even if this book was a little hard for me to get into at the start, I ended up really getting interested by the end.

There is a good discussion in this book about feeling responsible for things that you have no control over. Whether that be mistakes that your loved ones are making, deteriorating health of loved ones, or even just people doing bad things to you and the people you care about. Some things are really out of our control, and I liked the dissection of this in this book, because I think it is easy to feel responsible for things that sometimes really aren’t our faults.

“We are not always presented with the choices we want, but choices exist nonetheless.”

Overall, I didn’t love this or even enjoy it as much as I thought I would, but it did have a lot of things that I adore. Harper and Rhen do travel around his kingdom a lot, and I love me a good traveling story. Also, they frequent inns and taverns a lot, which is another thing that is so very much in my reading wheelhouse. But even though I completely understand that this is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast, I just couldn’t get over the abduction plotline and even begin to really root for the romance in this book. I will say though that I was really surprised this wasn’t a standalone, even though it totally can be read that way, but maybe I will love the next installment more!

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The quotes above were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.

Content and trigger warnings for abduction, captivity, talk of cancer, loss of a loved one, murder, death, torture, abuse, a pedophile comment, attempted sexual assault, sexual assault (by Lilith), thoughts of suicide, and a lot of ableist speech (always in a negative light from the villain).

Buddy read with Julie, Amy, Chelsea, Jules, Jen, & Chelsea! ❤
Profile Image for Cardan Greenbriar.
90 reviews942 followers
March 26, 2020
This review
is an unpopular praise of a teen girl
who has watched Beauty and The Beast (1991) exactly 113 times,
listened to its ending song over 400 times,
spent a fortune on everything Belle,
and then finally read her first complete retelling of a fairy-tale.


I don't even remember how I ended up reading this (probably because of the beautiful cover) but anyways I did and I am so proud of my naive decision.

This book got a lot of mixed reviews some said it was bad, some boring, others said good to amazing. So I had mixed emotions when I began.

The Story
Harper (the heroine) is an 18 year old girl living in Washington D.C with her Mother and Brother-Jake. Harper spots Grey (the hero's Commander In Guard) drugging a young girl, Harper gets furious and starts to fight Grey with a metal bar. Grey grabs Harper and they both magically appear in the Palace where our hero Prince Rhen lives. Don't even dare asking me the next, never in a million years am i going to spoil the rest of the goodness in this review

The Characters
Harper: Brigid wrote my dream heroine: fierce, daring, caring, smart, HAVING A SELF WORTH, and an incredibly strong woman. She fights where she has to, and shows so much kindness towards the unfortunate.

Rhen: Rhen is a cursed Prince of Emberfall living in his palace Ironrose. Rhen is depressed and acts a bit sulky in half of this book but Harper's energetic character makes them an admired couple (by me). At first I started to complain 'bout Rhen's hopelessness and depression but then I stopped when I understood the the reason why. Rhen is favorable, brave and has a kind heart but the fucking curse (ARGH)!

Grey: The Commander in Guard of the Royal 'army' is quiet, loyal, intelligent and brave (did I mention everyone in this book is brave). I really really appreciated Grey's Character, he's the one who keeps Rhen stable and gives him hope all the time during the curse.

Lilith: The enchantress. She is a complete psycho, sadistic, mean, evil, loathsome, death worthy bitch (no less but damnly more)

I actually thought that I was gonna give this 3 stars [before reading] but here's the thing: I hate it when authors stuff in unnecessary scenes and events just to increase page count which have almost no role in the future, they just annoy me so much. Like in a lot of books I've read every single part but in this book each character and scene means something special and important.

I was grinning like an idiot during the whole book. This was my first read of a Fairy-Tale retell, for some people it may be boring-to-good if you've read a lot of retells unlike me, so to clear this weird argument in my head I'm gonna go and read morrree like this (no i'll never get tired).

now please excuse me

because I'm having an extreme fanchilding moment
but you can find me on top of Big Ben singing SCREAMING in a high pitched voice
(srsly people imagine me doing this)




don't you dare judge my singing
Profile Image for Chelsea Humphrey.
1,484 reviews79.1k followers
December 1, 2018
I've been struggling to find the words to describe my feelings toward this book. Though I didn't feel blown away or well connected to any of the characters, it was a breezy read and I never found myself not wanting to pick it up. Many early readers have compared this to the ACOTAR series, but I feel as if they are two completely different beasts. This book is definitely catered toward a younger audience and contains a much tighter grip on its sexual content. In fact, up until the final quarter of the book there's practically no romance at all, and even then only the mildest sensual content is injected.

There isn't much time spent detailing Harper's background, family life, or her world in Washington D.C., which may be what started her and I off on the wrong foot. Don't get me wrong, she ended up being a character I adored and could root for, and the rep for cerebral palsy is a respectful addition, but we never get much of a sense of who she was BEFORE heading to Emberfall. Once the focus moves back to Emberfall and stays that way for a good chunk of the book, I settled nicely into the atmosphere as the world building was stronger here. The writing involving the setting is lush, descriptive, and almost tangible. This was mostly my favorite part of the book.

I didn't feel super attached to any of the characters here, aside from Grey (Commander of the Royal Guard NO SURPRISE THERE I KNOW) and Noah (Harper's brother Jake's boyfriend). I found grey to be infinitely more interesting, sexy, and intelligent than Rhen/the prince was (OOPS) and found myself rooting more for him to be happy than anyone else. We don't get a lot of Noah in this book, but he's a precious peach and just made me feel really warm and fuzzy inside. Lilith, the "villain" of this book felt so cheesy guys. She was one dimensional, petty, and laughable, which is really what caused this to be a 3 star review instead of 4. I can't say more about her at the moment here, but once you've read the book I would be thrilled to discuss and see if others felt the same.

The story really picked up for me in the final 150 pages, and while I can't say much without spoiling things, it definitely had much more action and plot progression than the rest combined. There was a plot twist in the epilogue that is alluded to earlier, and unfortunately everyone in our read along group felt it was quite obvious what would happen at the earlier mention. While it's a nice twist, I think it would have been more effective to just have it revealed at the end with no clues given.

Overall, a solid first installment in a new series, and the way book 1 ended really did have me excited for the next one, so I think this was an overall positive first stop for me into the land of Brigid Kemmerer. The cover is gorgeous, and I think it will be a fun, meaningful story to a good number of readers.


*Many thanks to Bloomsbury for providing my review copy.
Profile Image for Nilufer Ozmekik.
2,314 reviews44.1k followers
August 18, 2021
Three I don’t love it, I don’t hate it too, I think my dreamy YA fantasy/ romance book lost in the dark tunnel and cannot be reached at this moment, so let’s leave our three stars, no tips and get out of here!

I love Brigid Kemmerer! She is one of the talented writers who pour her genuine emotions directly coming her heart to her writings. She can create both amazing adult and YA adult romances, dramas, traumatic dysfunctional family stories, the suffering people who carry heaven burden of their past. So when I see the blurb and this STUNNING COVER and deliciously exciting idea of RETELLING BEAUTY AND BEAST made me dance at the last cafe I’ve been thrown out for making inappropriate moves in front of families. (Oh come on! That was not twerk! I got crumps in my legs and I kneeled down and shook them a little! At least the cafe owners could offer me banana or coconut juice for my cramps. Or their selected wine list for the sake our last three weeks I spent there and used free wi-fi!)
So yes! I was so glad and I couldn’t stand still to start this book. I stood up on the dinner table (don’t worry, there was no food! I never cook!) and flipped the pages as fast as I could.

Well, if you ask me, what didn’t work with me, I would say I couldn’t empathize with the hero and both fantasy parts and love story failed me. I didn’t get the excitement of the action scenes or I couldn’t feel for the cursed relationship of Harper and Rhen. I tried but call me heartless bitch, I haven’t found any emotional connection with them.

If we take a closer look to our characters, interestingly Freya is so far my favorite one. She takes care of not only her child but she also protects and raises her sister’s children. She’s honest, brave, caring, trustworthy, genuine character that you want to be on your side forever!

Harper (I love this name so from the beginning I thought I would easily resonate with this tough, a little stubborn but a quiet warrior and survivor kind of character. She’s suffering from Cerebral Palsy because of an unexpected situation she’d endured during her birth. She has Big C patient mom and a queer brother (she accidentally finds out from the phone messages) who is forced to work with underground drug lords. Now she’s kidnapped from her universe and finds herself at Emberfall, a cursed kingdom hides its own dangerous monster threatens its own folks’ well beings. She needs to find her way home because she is worried that her family is in danger and she cannot do anything to help them.
Rhen is the kingdom’s cursed beast. For seasons he tries too hard to make a girl fall in love with him to break his curse but now this is his last chance and with the stubbornness and determination of Harper, he already losses his chances to charm her.
Grey is the guard commander and his confidante, last warrior standing at the palace. He reluctantly kidnaps all those girls to help Rhen break the curse but so far they got nothing.
Lilith, a quiet classic villanelle used her spell to dominate Rhen and entire kingdom with her controlling power. A young version of Angelina Jolie appeared on my mind when I was reading her parts and I hated her more. (I hate Jolie and Aniston equally but never say no to charm of Pitt!)
The pacing is good, not too slow to force me quick naps or too fast to leave an impression about what’s going on. Characters are partly entertaining but I think the story wasn’t intriguing enough to grow on me. It was just okay and I was expecting more from this kind of talented writer!

As a summary, the ending was good, cliffhanger was perfectly developed but I still have second thoughts to read the second book ( I already lost my faith to get arc copy because my poor, dusty request already started to cover in spiderwebs, waiting for long months at the pending purgatory and no one knows what happens to it till it is buried at the archive cemetery!) Maybe I should read some reviews after the release because sometimes second ones could be better than the first one. And when it comes to one of my favorite talented writers, I am always open to give more chances to the sequels.

So another not so good but okay reading finishes and let’s grab the other one from my Mount Everest tbr list.
Profile Image for April (Aprilius Maximus).
1,110 reviews6,575 followers
January 4, 2020
1.) A Curse So Dark and Lonely ★★★★.5
2.) A Heart So Fierce and Broken ★★★★.5


Profile Image for NickReads.
461 reviews1,194 followers
December 12, 2021
It goes to a limit of becoming a total joke, but it doesn't cross it. Can't remember the last time I had this much fun. I don't even want to read the sequels, I am fine with this ending.
Profile Image for Zainab.
384 reviews531 followers
October 5, 2019
I've been reading this book all day and I mean all.friking.day. My eyes are burning and so very tired but it was worth it. So worth it!
For those who don't know, this book is a Beauty and the Beast retelling but it is actually so much better than the original. Don't get me wrong I like the original one but the whole talking teacups and dancing candles is kind of off-putting. In this one the prince has only one (very loyal) commander. So that was cool.
And the ending! Oh my God the ending! Can't wait for the next book.
Such a fantastic read. Just as amazing as the title and the cover.
Profile Image for Korrina  (OwlCrate).
193 reviews4,560 followers
June 13, 2018
Really unique take on the Beauty and the Beast tale. And I absolutely loved the main character, Harper. Despite this being a really long book, I read it quite quickly because it was engaging and addictive.
Profile Image for Mary Books and Cookies.
568 reviews407 followers
January 9, 2019

* OH MY GOD I AM DEAD, this is coming to you from the beyond, where my soul was expelled after reading this book
* in case you didn’t know, this is a Beauty and the Beast retelling and it is GLORIOUS
* the main character has cerebral palsy, and she’s a goddamn badass, I would let her walk all over me and say thank you
* the writing is beautiful and mesmerising and this book had almost 500 pages but I absolutely FLEW through it because this is what good literature does to me
* there’s such a fun, refreshing twist on the original fairy tale and there’s such a fantastic cast of characters, I LOVE EVERY ONE OF MY CHILDREN
* there’s political intrigue and there’s a mix of modern and medieval and guys, I can honestly rave about this book all day and not get tired because I LOVED IT
* my feelings got eviscerated and I just felt so much for all the characters - the longing, the desperation, the struggle between doing what is right and doing what is needed - just... ugh
* seriously, pick this up and pick it up NOW (or well, as soon as it hits shelves on January 29th)



YAY or NAY: just... go, buy this and then come rave to me about it

Favourite quote:

This was never a curse to be broken. This is a death sentence. The true curse has been the thought that we might find escape.


To everyone who got this far, thank you for reading and have a wonderful day! Also, feel free to share your thoughts, comment or tell me anything :)
Profile Image for Brigid.
Author 26 books15.2k followers
May 15, 2019
Reader friends, this is currently $1.99 on Amazon Kindle and B&N Nook. If you’ve been waiting for it to go on sale, this might be your chance.
Profile Image for Whitney Atkinson.
943 reviews14k followers
July 21, 2019
I don't care what y'all say, you can pull Beauty & the Beast retellings out of my cold, dead hands.

This book was as enchanting and angsty as I was hoping it would be. I read well over 200 pages of it in one sitting the night I picked it up, which at my current mental state should be considered an Olympic feat. I was glued onto the story from the main character's strong will to the love interest's angst-ridden curse. The writing, though not entirely glowing, did sweep me away. The first issue I had with the book is the parallel universes between our real world and their fantasy world. It was entirely personal preference, but I found that bringing elements of our modern world into a fantasy world made the story cheesy and almost took away from the magic of it. Moments that aimed to be funny just ended up falling flat for me because in my head, the two worlds are quite non-transferable and I guess the author didn't blend them seamlessly enough for my taste.

Next, although I love the idea of this enemies to lovers story where it's driven by a curse, I think the slight romance that did develop felt somewhat forced in the sense that I didn't really feel any chemistry between these two characters. They were great partners in war and there was certainly tension between them, but they were never thrust into any circumstances that tested their romantic compatibility; it was all war-driven. The romantic scenes in this book were brief and chaste, and I felt it was missing just a bit of development and emotion.

I had more minor problems with this like the storyline being slightly tinged with unrealistic plot points and the characters' emotional reactions to major events feeling stunted, but overall, I really enjoyed my time reading this. I think it was a refreshing take on Beauty & the Beast, even if a bit heteronormative. I loved the side characters and this was such a fast read, not to mention the main character has cerebral palsy and it was integrated as a character trait rather than a plot point. I'm not fiending to pick up the sequel, but I definitely will give it a go when it comes out because I'm definitely interested in seeing where the characters' journeys, physically and emotionally, go from here.
Profile Image for megs_bookrack.
1,604 reviews10.7k followers
September 25, 2023
A Curse So Dark and Lonely was such a fun read. I was drawn into this drama so deep, it felt like I was a part of it.

I had my popcorn, I had my sword, I had my opinions on the relationships; it was quite the experience.

I'm super excited to see where it goes from here and will definitely be continuing on with the series. I have some theories, I have some suspicions, I can't wait to see the conclusion.

I actually read this as Book #15 for my TBR-Haul Project. It feels so good to finally check it off the list!

I originally hauled this book in January 2019. In fact, I was so stoked about its release, having loved previous works from Kemmerer, that I actually preordered it.

Yeah, that's right. I preordered it, paid full price and then let her sit on my shelves for 4-years, UNREAD. Even I am disappointed with myself.

Nevertheless, she persisted. It is now read and I had such a fun time with it. I loved the whole idea of the portal from the modern world transporting Harper into the magical world inhabited by Ren and Grey.

Additionally, I felt like the influence of Beauty and the Beast was just enough to keep it satisfying, without being stereotypical, or toeing into copycat lane. I may have some further thoughts on this at some point, but for now, this is sufficient.

Onward we go!!!

October 26, 2021
A complete original. So awesome!

There are so many “retellings” of the beauty and the beast story out there and I know the original is a classic but frankly the romantic beauty and the beast story is a bit boring to me. This story was so much more exciting and adventurous.

I liked the fact that Rhen, the Prince with the curse is from the fairytale like kingdom of Emberfall, while Harper is a real girl with cerebral palsy from Washington DC, who mistakenly gets kidnapped to try to break the curse. The book focuses on the curse and the enchantress who put the curse on the prince as well as her reasons so much more than in most retellings I have seen before.

The relationship between Rhen and Harper is important, but not as important as his kingdom and his people which he has tried to protect throughout the time he has been cursed, but he finds out that he really hasn’t been doing it at all.

Profile Image for Mira☁️.
50 reviews175 followers
April 7, 2021
My blog
“Words spoken in the dark in the middle of the night always feel so much heavier than they would at any other time.”

I absolutely loved this book from start to finish and I am so in love with all three of these characters ,because all three of these characters are going through alot, these characters have so many difficult choices they have to face and I really felt Rhen’s pain and regret and how he really wants to save his people. Overall I loved this book way more than I expected to and I’m so excited to read A Heart So Fierce And Broken♥️
Profile Image for ELLIAS (elliasreads).
489 reviews39k followers
February 25, 2019
They believe her limp is the result of a war injury, but Harper is quick to correct them. "I was born this way," she'll snap, "and I'm going to die this way, so teach me to work around it."

Not bad. Not bad at all.

Honestly, I'm a sucker for Beauty and the Beast retellings and this one was exceptionally good. I loved loved loved, Harper— a strong witted girl with cerebral palsy, who accidentally gets transported from modern D.C. to an unknown fantasy magic land (honestly everyone's biggest wish am i rite?)

The story itself was super strong in the beginning for me but slowly veered off into something weird and sluggish towards the end. The middle was like a floating space and sometimes, that isn't a good thing but there were enough good parts to keep it standing. I did not like Jake. Something about hot headed characters annoy the ever living fuck out of me and I COULD NOT STAND IT. So fucking annoying. Reading about hot headed characters itself is just......a chore tbh.

The ending was the strangest part of the book. I originally heard that this book was supposed to be a standalone and I cannot for the life of me understand how it could be, especially the way it ended????!!! Like.......a bitch would riot and just die from confusion and dissatisfaction and incomplete-NESS because WHAT??

However, book two has been announced (thank god), so hopefully it'll be just as good and solid as book one and answer all of our fucking questions :)

And the main antagonist?
think snow white. but evil. and boring.


Giving it a half rating but GOODREADS WHERE ARE MY HALF RATING STARS???
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