To say that I’ve been dying until this book was released would be a bit of understatement. I was able to snag a sampler at BookCon last year and was immediately hooked. And I am happy to say that A Curse So Dark and Lonely (A Curse So Dark and Lonely, #1) by Brigid Kemmerer, lived up to the hype!
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.
Let’s be totally real here, I am a SUCKER for a fantasy retelling. I don’t care what fairytale is being redone, I’m probably gonna pick it up at some point. (Though now that I think about it, I haven’t read any Little Mermaid retellings.. Interesting.) And I will totally admit that Beauty and the Beast is my number one favorite story for retellings. I will fall for the broody and kind of jerk guy in need of some character development, every single time. Luckily, Kemmerer took this retelling and truly made it her own. Plot-wise, I really loved the mix of contemporary and fantasy. I also enjoyed how she twisted the story around to where it wasn’t a complete rehash of the original story, but instead gave us more background and expanded upon the fantasy world. There was war, some run ins with loan sharks, and an enchantress who actually has a presence throughout the story. Yeah, quite a bit different from the original story… THANK GOODNESS!
Oh my, is Harper the heroine that we’ve been needing. She is fierce, loyal, and so damn independent. I loved how she was willing to do whatever it takes to help someone or do the right thing. Harper is definitely no pushover and I freaking loved her for it. I also really appreciated that Kemmerer wrote her with cerebral palsy. You don’t get many physically disabled main characters and this one was so well done. Her disability never kept her from doing what needed to be done. It was just a part of who she was. Then there’s Rhen, whom I really liked his character. He was kind of an asshole but in an unassuming way. It was just the way he was and it took him a while to notice how he was treating others. I appreciated how willing he was to save his kingdom as well. Also, his and Harper’s interactions were so entertaining. I loved the banter between these two. Finally, we have Grey. My sweet sweet Grey.. He was so loyal to Rhen and eventually Harper. His relationship with Harper was probably my favorite in the book. They played off of each other really well, both being stubborn and immediately recognizing the strength in the other. I want him to get a happily ever after so badly!
I really only had a minor issue with the story overall. The pacing was never steady, but instead was up and down throughout the book. It started off really strong and then dipped a bit in the middle of the book before ramping back up at the end. I was still invested in the story the entire time but I do feel that the editors could have cut about 50 pages from the story to help ease some of those pacing issues.
If you enjoy fairytale retellings, then I definitely recommend this book. It was a unique twist on the original story filled with a diverse cast of characters. I think that readers will really appreciate how strong of a female main character Harper is, which is a nice break from the usual sappy romantic type that you typically find in fairytales. Just be aware that this story does end on a bit of a cliffhanger, and I cannot wait to see what Kemmerer has in store for us in the next book!
Final Verdict: 5/5 Stars
Have you read A Curse So Dark and Lonely? What did you think of Harper? Do you enjoy fairytale retellings?