Title: A Curse so Dark and Lonely
Author: Brigid Kemmerer
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.
I have been waiting for a book like this and now I see what all the fuss was about. A Curse so Dark and Lonely is SO FRIGGIN GOOD!
First off, I want to say that I loved the fact that Kemmerer blended our world with a fantasy world – it’s just genious. I like it when books does that, when they break down that barrier and mix it up a little (another reason why I seriously need to read Spirit of Thieves by Morgan Rhodes). But I also love that she didn’t exactly explain it very much. The sorceress made it possible for Prince Rhen’s personal guard, Grey, to walk between world, but we don’t hear them question it or be blown away by this other world (granted, they may have done so in the beginning, but stopped caring as time went on).
I mean, as fantasy worlds go, they’re pretty calm about smartphones…
Kemmerer let the story unfold naturally without cramming information down our throats. I had so many questions at the start of the book because nothing had been properly explained, but then the answers slowly unfurled alongside the story and I was able to enjoy it that much more.
I didn’t know much about this story other than it was a Beauty and the Beast retelling and it started off good with Rhen in his cursed castle, but then cut to Harper on the streets of D.C. and you had me going… WTF??
But that was all it took for me to be fully invested in this book. I devoured chapter after chapter, falling more and more in love with Harper’s imperfect appearance and become more annoyed at Rhen for seemingly giving up all hope and moping around.
The pacing of the book was good; I didn’t know it was a series until later in the book, so I stopped worrying if it was going to feel rushed in any way, but as the layers of trouble started to pile up, I realized there’s enough for one or two more books here. I have no idea if it’ll be a duology or trilogy or whatnot, but I am here for anything Kemmerer gives us!
On to the characters.
The contrast of the two main characters are just brilliant.
We have Rhen, a fantasy Prince, who has been brought up being chivalrous and charming.
And then we have Harper. The modern young woman who may appear weak, but has an iron-clad determination and won’t rely on any man to fix her problems.
She was dealt a shitty hand from birth, but has made it a part of her instead of succumbing to it.
The two of them, so opposite each other and from completely different worlds, they just worked so well. I like that it wasn’t anywhere close to resembling instalove (heaven’s forbid then this book would have been short and a standalone), but there wasn’t any actual attraction (other than Harper thinking Rhen was handsome…). Harper straight out told Rhen when she learned about the curse that she wasn’t going to fall in love with him, but that she’d help out with other things… Well, we’ll see about that, Princess Harper from Disi.
All in all, I loved this book. Beauty and the Beast is one of my favourite fairytales and A Curse so Dark and Lonely is definitely one of my favourite retellings of it! I cannot wait for the sequel to come out next year and I highly HIGHLY recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a fairytale retelling with a no-shit female protagonist and a handsome prince.