An instant New York Times Best Seller! In a lush, contemporary fantasy retelling of Beauty and the Beast, Brigid Kemmerer gives readers another compulsively readable romance perfect for fans of Marissa Meyer.
Fall in love, break the curse.
It once seemed so easy to Prince Rhen, the heir to Emberfall. Cursed by a powerful enchantress to repeat the autumn of his eighteenth year over and over, he knew he could be saved if a girl fell for him. But that was before he learned that at the end of each autumn, he would turn into a vicious beast hell-bent on destruction. That was before he destroyed his castle, his family, and every last shred of hope.
Nothing has ever been easy for Harper 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.
Disclaimer: I was provided with an ARC copy of the book by Bloomsbury India in exchange for an honest review. However, all the thoughts, feelings and opinions expressed in this review are my own.
I started this book in the evening one day, because I just couldn’t resist the pretty cover of the ARC; and before I knew it, I was more than halfway through – which is when, my body’s fail safe mechanism, now that I am over 25 kicked into gear and overcame my zealousness to read this book in one straight sitting aka I fell sleep with the book in my hand *face palm*
The next day, being a work day was the worst – because I couldn’t concentrate on my work and I swear I literally jumped at the book when I finally got a breather to read. THIS BOOK IS THAT BRILLIANT!
A Curse So Dark and Lonely is a Beauty and Beast Retelling (my favourite fairytale, of all times!) and I absolutely LOVED the way the author handled this retelling (which to be very honest, was an interesting challenge considering the abundance of B&B retellings!) – the plot is brilliantly handled; the relationship between the MCs is handled with care; and the secondary characters make for some powerful scenes and I can’t wait to see where the author takes the sequel to!
Rhen is the cursed Crown Prince of Emberfell – and until he makes a girl fall in love with him, he would turn into a monster at the end of a season that would keep on repeating; if he doesn’t break the curse. After suffering through countless of seasons and destroying not only his family, but also almost destroying his kingdom, he and Commander Grey, the head of his Royal Guard, are finally getting tired of living through the curse; for it is Commander Grey, who brings the girls for him, from the other side, over and over again.
Harper, on the other hand, a young woman with cerebral palsy and that is the least of her worries – with a indebted dad absconding, a mother dying of cancer and a brother working as an “enforcer” for bad people; her life sin’t full of sunshine and daisies either. Yet when Harper sees a woman in distress, she can’t help but intervene and is transported to a parallel world, replenished fully with a magical, enchanted castle and a charming, handsome prince with his bodyguard, who she just wants to punch, so that she can go back to her place, and her time. She has her own problems, and the last thing she wants to do is get involved with a frikkin kingdom’s issues.
“A good hand can ultimately lose – just as a poor hand can win – but we must play the cards fate deals.”
I have to say; I was delighted, positively elated with how Rhen and Harper’s “relationship” was handled by the author – it would have been so easy to fall into the typical lovey – cutesy drama of teenagers; but neither Rhen nor Harper did that – they slowly went from being agnostic, to form an uneasy truce to finally forming an alliance, developing trust and a little affection for each other when a betrayal racks them – every aspect of their relationship; their interactions and their decisions were made in the foundation of a kingdom in turmoil and yet there was never any unnecessary drama involved.
Both Rhen and Harper are headstrong characters and though they definitely do not complement each other; they do however match each other in every sense. Despite what most would call a disability, Harper has a backbone of steel and a strategic mindset that ties in with the cold and calculating thinking style of Rhen. Together, they were a force to be held, and I rooted for both of them, once I understood how perfect they were for each other!
“The choices we face may not be the choice we want, but they are choices nevertheless.”
Coming to Grey, the captain of the Royal Guard and Rhen’s only companion throughout the cursed seasons; he is his own character in the plot – he has his own role to play and his own story to tell – I adored how patient he was with Rhen, who at times could be a problem child but I also was enamored with relationship he and Harper shared (and no, there is no love triangle. Trust me. I confirmed it!) – they are bickering like siblings but respect and admire each other like colleagues as well.
The fast paced plot keeps the reader immersed in the book – right from the start till the end – and even though after I was done with the book, I honestly felt lost and untethered from reality – do you have any idea how long it has been since a book did this to me? TOO LONG!
And then, I realized the sequel wont be out till 2020 – A Heart So Fierce and Broken– NEXT FRIKKIN YEAR – how am I supposed to survive without knowing where and what happens next? But I will wait patiently (NOT) and maybe keep checking up on updates from the author (read: stalk her everywhere! EVERYWHERE!).
Oh, before I close this review (did you even understand a word I said in this one? Because I feel I rambled a lot!); know that this book doesn’t really end on a cliffhanger – Ms. Kemmerer has given us a look into the next book; but hasn’t closed the story ARC on Rhen and Harper fully!
⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐