A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer
Publication Date: February 4th 2019
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Series: A Curse So Dark and Lonely #1
Blurb: Fall in love, break the curse.
It once seemed so easy to Prince Rhen, the heir to Emberfall. Cursed by a powerful enchantress to repeat the autumn of his eighteenth year over and over, he knew he could be saved if a girl fell for him. But that was before he learned that at the end of each autumn, he would turn into a vicious beast hell-bent on destruction. That was before he destroyed his castle, his family, and every last shred of hope.
Nothing has ever been easy for Harper Lacy. With her father long gone, her mother dying, and her brother barely holding their family together while constantly underestimating her because of her cerebral palsy, she learned to be tough enough to survive. But when she tries to save someone else on the streets of Washington, DC, she’s instead somehow sucked into Rhen’s cursed world.
Break the curse, save the kingdom.
A prince? A monster? A curse? Harper doesn’t know where she is or what to believe. But as she spends time with Rhen in this enchanted land, she begins to understand what’s at stake. And as Rhen realizes Harper is not just another girl to charm, his hope comes flooding back. But powerful forces are standing against Emberfall . . . and it will take more than a broken curse to save Harper, Rhen, and his people from utter ruin.
Harper is acting as lookout for her brother when she sees an abduction taking place, torn between ensuring her brother is safe and the safety of the girl, she opts to attempt to rescue the girl. Little does she know that her bravery will change everything.
I always wake here, in this room, waiting in the sunlight…
Everything is always the same.
Except for the dead. They never come back.
A Curse So Dark and Lonely is an engrossing Beauty and the Beast retelling. Amid curses and princes we have Harper. Harper’s life has not been an easy one. Her mother is dying, her father left them to deal with his demons and Jake is forced to put himself and Harper into the path of dangerous men in order to help their mum. Harper has Cerebal Palsy. This was great to see, there was no magic cure, it was just a part of her. Fantasy isn’t always the best at rep when it comes to physical disabilities, with characters either getting magical cures or being killed off to teach the MC a lesson but that isn’t the case here. That said it’s not ownvoices rep nor do I have Cerebal Palsy so I can’t speak with any authority.
I loved the mix of our world and fantasy. Books that feature our world and a fantasy-based one often end up as some of my favourite books. I think because it makes it seem so much more possible and connects to the child in me that longed to travel between worlds and be a princess and warrior.
I really like how Kemmerer handles the romance in A Curse So Dark and Lonely. Beauty and the Beast, and retellings of it can get creepy and Stockholm Syndrome-y very quickly depending on how it’s written. Kemmerer sidesteps this, writing a romance that is organic and both Rhen and Harper learn from each other.
Though this book is primarily focused on Rhen and Harper I adored the dynamic between Harper, Rhen and Grey. Our main characters work well together, be it in pairs or all three together. There are tender scenes, funny ones and tense ones. Rhen, Harper and Grey make this book.
Harper’s brother, Jake, is gay and in a relationship with Noah, an African-American doctor. I really loved their dynamic and some of the scenes in the latter half of the book were gold. I’m hoping we get to see a lot more of them in book two and given where A Curse So Dark and Lonely ended I think we’re in luck.
Around the halfway mark I was worried that it was starting to slow in terms of the pacing, however, it very quickly picked up again to end on a solid finish. A Curse So Dark and Lonely wraps up Harper and Rhen’s story, so it is a standalone, with A Heart So Fierce and Broken focusing on someone else.
I highly recommend A Curse So Dark and Lonely, it’s enchanting and pulls you in effortlessly. Kemmerer has breathed new life into Beauty and the Beast, crafting a unique and bewitching tale.
“I am always surprised to discover that when the world seems darkest, there exists the greatest opportunity for light.”
*I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own*