A Curse so Dark and Lonely
by Brigid Kemmerer
Publication Date: January 29, 2019
My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
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.
I really enjoyed this retelling of Beauty and the Beast. It had action, romance, and it kept me reading to see how it would end.
Rhen is a prince stuck in an endless loop of trying to break the curse put on him. Getting a woman to fall in love with him when he turns into a monster isn’t easy. Harper is living with her dying mother and her brother who is trying to keep their family afloat. These two just didn’t know what was coming when they met. When they meet Rhen finds out that this will be his last loop. The last time that he has to break the curse.
I loved every character here. I won’t go into much detail about ALL of them because we would be here all day. So I’ll just tell about the main three that we read about.
»Rhen: He had so much on his shoulders and I want to say that he was favorite throughout this whole book. The curse where he turns into a monster has really ruined his life. His kingdom. His family. He was losing faith in himself of being able to save everyone including himself. He had a big heart and was always willing to the extra mile to save his people.
»Harper: Is our main character here and she was pretty awesome. She started with a bang and was so brave. She also has cerebral palsy but she didn’t let that hold her back. I’m not really educated on cerebral palsy so I can’t say if the representation here was a good or not, but she was such a fighter.
»Grey: He was the commander in Rhen’s guard. He was loyal and would do anything for Rhen and now Harper. Every time his loyalty was tested, he surprised me.
Basically, I would want this group on my side if I had to face down an army and evil enchantress.
Yes, there was some romance here, but it wasn’t the prime focus. The main focus was how to save the kingdom and break the curse. I can appreciate that, but I was really wanting just a little bit more romance. The bit that we did get was amazing and left me wanting so much more. Seeing Rhen and Harper get to know each other and start to fall in love was warming my heart. Those little moments made the story for me.
“And for a brief moment, I remembered. I remembered what it was like to want to touch a girl, not as part of a carefully planned seduction designed to lure her into breaking this curse.”
Now to some of the things that made this a 4 star read instead of a 5 star read. The pacing was a bit slow. Some moments in the story felt like the story was dragging a little, which is a bit of a given because this almost a 500 page book. It’s bound to happen. Also, the way it ended left it open for another book. I’m not sure if there will be one, but there should be.
(I find this on the Goodreads page. The author confirmed that there will be a sequel, so that’s awesome!)
Overall this retelling was lush and magical. It told the story of sacrifice and learning about yourself. I recommend this one to everyone!
**Quote was taken from an ARC and is subject to change upon publication.