A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer is a YA fairytale retelling of Beauty and The Beast.

For me, fairytale retellings are a hit or miss. I either enjoy them or they’re not my cup of tea. Since the overall idea of the story is already at the forefront of my mind, I find it hard for me to completely lose myself in the story.

The beginning didn’t do it for me. I felt like it was rushed and odd. I think the author might have been trying to just force feed all the general information, in an attempt to quickly get it out of the way, and I didn’t really like that. I almost, almost quit the book then and there because of how unplanned/rushed it felt. Luckily, I found my way a few chapters into the book and before I knew it, I was hooked.

By the twentieth or so chapter I had fallen for the characters. I got some well needed background information on the characters, and then next thing I knew Rhen, Harper and Grey were in my heart. I genuinely felt so much sympathy for them and their situation. 

Not gonna lie, I was worried about the romance. I was worried it was going to be insta-love or they were going to fall for some ridiculous reason but I was shocked. I think this story could fall under the category, enemies to lovers. And I loved it! I can’t believe how much I loved Harper’s anger. For some reason I felt like I was standing next to Harper the whole time saying, “Mhm, you tell him!” Then of course I felt crushed from reading Rhen’s point of view. But in general, I think the romance is tenderly grown. It’s well developed and built on a solid base of trust. I appreciated that component of this book very much.

The plot wasn’t bad. It was actually surprising. But it didn’t give me that gasp moment. I think I was waiting for a moment where everything is flipped over and spun around, a moment where my mind is blown… but I didn’t get that. I already assumed some of the events that took place in the last twenty pages and epilogue.

So in conclusion, this book is well written excluding the intro chapters. The characters are easy to connect to and eventually, easy to cry over. The romance is a beautiful slow burn built on trust, which I enjoyed very much. And finally, the plot didn’t disappoint me, but I wasn’t satisfied either. I may or may not continue with the series. It didn’t leave me feeling eager to read the next book but I was also left on a cliffhanger so… my hands are tied.

Official Synopsis:

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.

Book details:

484 pages

Genres: YA, Fantasy, Romance, Retellings

Main characters: Rhen, Harper, Grey

Setting: Washington, DC (USA), Emberfall (The Other Side)

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