"A Curse so Dark and Lonely" by Brigid Kemmerer
For me, A Curse so Dark and Lonely fits perfectly into the "bookstagram made me buy it" category. I admit that I knew nothing about this book before I bought it. I didn't even know that it was a Beauty and the Beast retelling until I got a couple of chapters into it. This was a good thing and a bad thing.
A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas is one of my favorite series of all time. It is a New Adult Beauty and the Beast retelling with all the action and steamy scenes a 22-year-old girl could want. Unfortunately, that means I was constantly going to compare it to ACOTAR subconsciously. Fortunately, this only happened during the romance part of the book.
From the beginning, I noted that ACSDAL is a dual perspective book. This made the story go by extremely fast, especially toward the end. But, I couldn't shake that it was a duel perspective in the first person. Usually, first-person books don't bother me, but for some reason, this got under my skin. There was no technical issue with this style, but it just wasn't for me.
As I ignored the dual perspective, Harper and I were quickly swept into the kingdom of Emberfall. I found myself immersed in the world of the enchantress, the beast, and the swordsman. The story held true to its roots with the cursed prince, wicked enchantress, and loyal friend. I don't know what it is, but I have always loved that storyline. Kemmerer does a great job at sticking to the core elements of the tale, but putter her own spin on it.
It truly felt like a fairytale. I could vividly picture the massive castle, the stables, and the grounds. One of my favorite parts was the visits to the towns. I wish I got to spend more time learning about them and the characters that live there.
Speaking of characters, I thought it was fantastic to see a representation of cerebral palsy. I can't remember the last fantasy book I read with a character that faces a mobility issue like that. It was fantastic to read, despite facing physical challenges, Harper didn't even bat an eye. She is strong, fierce, and everything I needed right now during the quarantine. I also absolutely loved Grey's character. I have a new bookish crush!
But, now, let's get to Rhen. I don't think I've ever gone from loving a character to hating them so quickly. Without spoilers, he would say and do stuff that would have me shaking my head, but then he would do something to redeem himself.
My favorite part was Harper and Grey. I don't ship them, at least, not yet, but I thought their friendship was light and fun, and I'm so happy that there wasn't anything more than that.
Overall, I FLEW through this book, and I eagerly await until I can go back to work and pick up the second book. Now, I totally understand the hype and see why people love it. I highly recommend this if you didn't like ACOTAR or if you are looking for a Beauty and the Beast retelling.
4 out of 5 stars
Published by Bloomsbury YA on January 29th, 2019
Genre: YA fantasy
Read in 3 sittings
Read in 1 week
Sat on TBR for 4 months
About the Book:
"Cursed by a powerful enchantress to repeat the autumn of his eighteenth year, Prince Rhen, the heir of Emberfall, thought he could be saved easily if a girl fell for him. But that was before he turned into a vicious beast hell-bent on destruction. 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 constantly underestimating her because of her cerebral palsy, Harper learned to be tough enough to survive. When she tries to save a stranger on the streets of Washington, DC, she's pulled into a magical world.
Break the curse, save the kingdom.
Harper doesn't know where she is or what to believe. A prince? A curse? A monster? 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." (Goodreads)