A Curse So Dark And Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer
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 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.
Retelling of Beauty and the Beast? Sign me up (actually, not always, but it does get me interested). Then it is by Brigid, who I find to be a great author and she’s one of the few contemporary ones I actually really really enjoy (I am not the biggest on contemporary).
It’s taken me a while to write this review because I wasn’t sure how to write it. I loved the entire new twist to the Beauty and the Beast story. It is fresh but it is also, at the core, still the same story. However, the characters are in their own way so much better.
The addition of Lilith, that was a part I enjoyed dearly, (not that I like Lilith) because it involves more the curse maker, and why the curse was made. Instead of being vague about why Rhen was cursed, well, you get to find out why, and that she is there being a little “playful” with the world and breaching her own boundaries is very intriguing too.
Harper, is an amazing “Belle”. I loved the strength she has and how cerebral palsy defines her yet it doesn’t. It was also very interesting to see how she somehow breaks her boundaries and barriers because she is in a world that doesn’t know what cerebral palsy is and has no preconceptions about it (except that she is either wounded or lame, but that’s about it).
Rhen is interesting and also, you get to see a little better why he is the way he is. It isn’t exactly an excuse but more of a “what else would you really expect given the circumstances?”. And his character growth is probably the biggest through the whole story.
And then there’s Grey, who at first I wasn’t sure what to think of him. Mostly because he isn’t a usual part fo the Beauty and the Beast story, so he was definitely new to this. And all I can say without gushing like a raving lunatic, or spoiling this book, is that I like it.
Brigid has shown that not only is she a master at contemporary stories, with grief and personal relationships at the center of it, but also very good with fantasy and refreshing a retelling in a new way. Doesn’t stop surprising me, and I genuinely can’t wait for “Call it what you want” coming out also this year! (So spoiled by this! Such a good thing).
I just wish she’d be one fo the YALC authors this year. One can dream, right?
PS. I messaged Brigid on instagram to ask for a bookplate since I couldn’t be on the booktour (an ocean literally is in my way), and she was so generous that she ended up offering bookplates to everyone who emailed her. How cool is that? I asked for two because of new book in summer, so I don’t have to bother her twice.