A Curse So Dark & Lonely
This was such an anticipated read for 2019 and I’m so glad as to how fast I could get through it considering how busy my schedule has been the last week or so!
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.
Rating: ★★★★★ (4.5/5)
Characters & Plot
In this retelling of Beauty & the Beast, we meet the recreated Belle called Harper, who is a young girl with cerebral palsy (I know what that is now! Hello amazing representation!) from a family that’s had it quite rough for a while. Her mum is very sick and slowly dying from cancer and her brother is struggling to make ends meet by doing things he doesn’t want to do in order to keep a certain group of men at bay after their runaway father left them in great debt. So, from the get-go I liked Harper. She’s strong and determined, with a whole lot of moxie, and so confident in herself and her body no matter her cerebral palsy which I really love in this book.
Rhen seems to be the perfect way to depict the Beast in this book, in that his character is just like a perfectly roasted marshmallow that’s secretly gooey on the inside even though it’s got such a hard, arrogant, bastard outer. The other interesting main character was Grey, his commander who ends up having such a pivotal role in this book. I personally am very happy that there weren’t too many love triangle feels because I detest those, and Brigid created such wonderful 3D personalities with great character development. The other side characters were also just as rich and really complimented the overall story.
World Building & Writing
I haven’t read an urban fantasy book in a long time and although we don’t really get to the see as much of the modern 21st century world in this book, it’s quite a constant aspect of the world building as the modern world somehow seamlessly goes on at the same time as the world Harper finds herself in with Grey and Rhen. Almost like the modern world is on the other side or on the same side but in another dimension! I thought that was pretty cool. The culture shock is pretty obvious when Harper joins the less advanced and technological medieval times of Rhen’s world, especially when she struggles with the inability to charge her phone and hold onto the only pieces of her previous life she can access.
Another great part of the world building I found with Brigid Kemmerer’s writing was how obvious the change in dialect and speech were once Harper crossed over too. Coming from Washington DC with what I assumed was a typical American accent, Harper’s dialogue was vastly different to Grey’s and Rhen’s which I pictured as having pretty fancy British accents. The way someone speaks in a book is so important and this book can seriously attest to that. Unfortunately, this was also the book’s downfall because it began to annoy me a little. I’m sorry but it just got on my nerves sometimes how different they spoke, also that the book, in general, didn’t have that oompf I always want. Yes I wanted to keep reading but I wasn’t completely on the edge of my bed and craving another chapter (although again, that could just be me).
In general, I found Brigid’s writing amazing. It was so cohesive, easy to read, and also a huge improvement from one of her earlier paranormal novels I’ve read in the last 6 months called Spark. What I loved most about this retelling was that I seriously didn’t know what was going to happen next. Not all retellings end in the same way the original did and I felt like I wasn’t too sure where the plot would take me and that’s so exciting.
Retelling Score: Successful or Not?
Overall, it was such an enjoyable book and makes me feel excitement rather than dread at the thought of ‘another ya fairy tale retelling’ because this was written so well. Highly recommend this novel and I can’t wait to read way more of Brigid’s work in the future. Definitely Succesful!
Until next time,
Huge thanks to Bloomsbury Australia for kindly me sending me this stunning ARC copy (featured above) in exchange for an honest review.