A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer
Reviewed by Sam!
Fall in love, break the curse.
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.
What I drank prior: It’s book club night!!! Our book was Tigana and we had a great discussion, but it also ended with us killing a case of wine and at least one bottle of blue wine. I… am going to hate myself tomorrow.
Spoiler-free Overview: thi s is literally a Beatuy and the Beast retelling. Leading lady, Harper, gets stolen from her home, DC (hey-yo), as a potential BAE for our leading lady, Rhen. What we sorta know is that instead of always being a beast, he slowly turns into a beast every season; a new attempt with a new BAE, and when she (inevitably) doesn’t fall for him, he turns into a beast and kills all the people. The Evil Witch, Lilith, says it’s his last season, enter Harper. Oh… and Grey is there too. Also also, she has Cerebral Palsy – Sober Sam, check my spelling this one is important. (Editor’s Note: You nailed it. ~Sober Sam)
Spoiler-free Thoughts: I was LOVING this until the literal very end. Such a great modern twist to the story removing a lot of the Stockholm. Not all of it, but enough for me to be comfortable. And then.. THE END. She ruined it.
Characters: Harper is a great character. She’s tryna help her mama and brother out, as much as she can with her chronic illness (which arguably doesn’t inhibit her much as far as I can tell but I also don’t know much about CP), when she gets literally ripped from her home for doing the right thing. Enter Rhen, the broken prince who doesn’t want to BE a monster. Their friendship is actually wonderful. She knows he has ulterior motives and he doesn’t hide it, not all of it anyway. But then there’s Grey. Grey is the best. He’s my YA Hero if you know what I mean. He doesn’t pretend to be anything. He treats Harper like a human being. I want me one of him.
There’s also Lilith, a weird villain, but OF COURSE she’s named Lilith. Seriously, if I see one more story where the bad guy is named after this biblical demon I might scream.
Plot: So, one would think this would be predictable but it wasn’t. Though it was super slow for a WHILE.
Writing Style: decent? Not shit, so I’m happy.
World Building: I liked this world a lot. Made sense to me as a portal fantasy and it was good in that sense. Magic had rules that were followed, mostly.
Ok but look. Why did she have to force a sequel. My entire life loved this as a stand alone. Then she went and forced this sequel on us. Which means next book gets Grey and his Broody I don’t wanna be the king nonsense and a love triangle and UGH. All of my issues with this book surround this. The forced political nonsense, the forced not-love, the forced sibling being in the other world, all of it. It happened WAY too fast and I am not here for it. Anyone else feel like this?! I love Grey but like… if K wanted him to be end-game he shoulda already been end-game.
What to pair it with: Fireball. Tastes great until you get the after effect and you’re stuck tasting cinnamon for the rest of the night.
COMMENT DOWN BELOW: Anyone else feel like the end of this book was rushed?
Until next time, we remain forever drunkenly yours,