ARC Book Review: A Curse So Dark And Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer

Book: A Curse So Dark And Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer

Published January 2019 by Bloomsbury YA|489 pages

Where I Got It: I got an e-ARC from netgalley.com in exchange for a fair and honest review

Series: A Curse So Dark And Lonely #1

Genre: YA Fantasy

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.

I was really intrigued by this book when I saw it on Netgalley, and I knew I had to request it.  Unfortunately, it was just okay for me, and I didn’t like it as much as I wanted to.

I had a really hard time getting into it, especially at the beginning.  It was about a quarter of the way in that I started to like the story a little more.  The dual POV didn’t work for me, and it was hard to tell who was narrating because Rhen and Harper’s chapters were really similar, and they sounded pretty much the same to me.  I could only read a few chapters at a time before needing to put it down.  I just really struggled with it.

I think a lot of my struggles with A Curse So Dark And Lonely come from me being bored.  I really liked the idea of a modern day re-telling where Belle ends up in a magical land to break the curse.  It just took a while to get there.  I couldn’t completely root for Rhen and Harper, and I felt like they had no chemistry.  I had a hard time with the fact that they basically abducted girls, hoping they would be the one to break the curse.  And for a while, it seemed like she would end up falling for Grey.  I was surprised it didn’t go that way.

Speaking of Grey, I was surprised by everything that happened with him at the end of the book.  I know there’s a sequel, and while I don’t think I’ll pick it up, I am curious to see where things go for him.  It’s strange, because this book read like a stand-alone, but with how things ended, there is room for more story.

I wish we had more of Harper’s life before Emberfall.  All we really know about her is that her mom’s dying of cancer, her dad’s not in the picture, and her brother has taken up her dad’s work because of the debt he left them in.  I honestly couldn’t tell you anything else about her and her life.  Still, it was interesting to see her get settled into life at Emberfall.

It did get a lot more exciting at the end, and it was nice to actually have some action, as opposed to all of the traveling that happens in the book.  I don’t mind a bit of traveling but I needed something to break it up a little bit.  It was too bad we didn’t get more of it throughout the rest of the book.

2 stars.  I liked Grey, and Harper was a really thoughtful, kind character but I really struggled to get through it.  It’s a cool take on Beauty And The Beast, though.

2 thoughts on “ARC Book Review: A Curse So Dark And Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer

  1. Hello! I’m new here 🙂 I think another thing that might bother me about this books is that the setting sounds ambiguous. Is it set in a “provincial town” like in the Disney version? I saw mention of D.C. And this Ember place? Sounds like fantasy. One that that ruins a book for me fast is a fuzzy setting.

    • It’s mostly in a provincial town like the Disney version, but there are a couple of points in the book where it’s set in D.C. It’s in D.C. at the beginning before Harper ends up in Emberfall. She later goes back to DC for a chapter or two but most of the book is in Emberfall. Emberfall is definitely a fantasy setting, but I think it could have been described a lot better than it was.

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