Tuesday 22 January 2019

Book Review: A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer (YA/Fantasy)

Title: A Curse So Dark and Lonely
Author: Brigid Kemmerer
Bloomsbury YA

Publication Date: 29 Jan 2019
eBook - PDF
ARC via NetGalley


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

Fall in love, break the curse.

It once seemed so easy to Prince Rhen, the heir to Emberfall. Cursed by a powerful enchantress to repeat the autumn of his eighteenth year over and over, he knew he could be saved if a girl fell for him. But that was before he learned that at the end of each autumn, he would turn into a vicious beast hell-bent on destruction. That was before he destroyed his castle, his family, and every last shred of hope.

Nothing has ever been easy for Harper. With her father long gone, her mother dying, and her brother barely holding their family together while constantly underestimating her because of her cerebral palsy, she learned to be tough enough to survive. But when she tries to save someone else on the streets of Washington, DC, she's instead somehow sucked into Rhen's cursed world.

Break the curse, save the kingdom.

A prince? A monster? A curse? Harper doesn't know where she is or what to believe. But as she spends time with Rhen in this enchanted land, she begins to understand what's at stake. And as Rhen realizes Harper is not just another girl to charm, his hope comes flooding back. But powerful forces are standing against Emberfall . . . and it will take more than a broken curse to save Harper, Rhen, and his people from utter ruin.

Wow! A Curse So Dark and Lonely captured me right from the get-go. Something about the formatting of the ARC I received kept crashing my e-reader, so I had to read this on my PC. Normally I hate that, as I spend enough time staring at the screen each day as it is; however, I loved this story so much, I didn't mind and did hour-long sessions at a time, unable to stop turning the page. This is a deft retelling of the beloved Beauty and the Beast tale. The world building was excellent, and the shift between our world and the fantasy realm in which Rhen dwells worked seamlessly. I wasn't sure about Rhen as a character at first, but he grew on me as the story progressed and we got to know him better. Harper comes across well, and I liked the way her cerebral palsy was introduced and dealt with during the tale. The idea that she was the only one different out of hundreds of girls stretched believability a little at the start, but that soon disappeared as the story took off, and I enjoyed the slow-burn progress of their relationship. The ending took me by surprise. There were a few things unresolved, which suggests a possible continuation in a second book later. We'll have to wait and see. I would certainly be happy to read more set in this world and with these characters.

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