ARC REVIEW: A CURSE SO DARK AND LONELY – BRIGID KEMMERER

Author: Brigid Kemmerer
Title: A Curse So Dark and Lonely
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Genre: Fantasy/ Young Adult
Pages: 477
Overall Rating: 5/5

I received a copy of A Curse So Dark and Lonely from Bloomsbury Publishing in exchange for an honest review. I’d like to thank Bloomsbury for this opportunity – this book was everything I expected and more!

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.

ACurseSoDarkandLonely_cover.jpgI hadn’t really watched Beauty and the Beast much when I was younger, but really got into the story following the live action movie in 2017. When I was presented with the opportunity to read and review this I jumped at the chance! I loved the idea of a well-loved fairy-tale retold in a part-modern day setting.

This book did not disappoint, I loved the contrast between Harper’s modern-day DC experience and the fantasy realm of Emberfall. Seeing the protagonist adjust throughout the story and develop as her situation changes makes her all the more realistic. I also particularly liked Harper’s back story; a girl with cerebral palsy but who refuses to let it define her – putting up with so much since her father left but remaining strong for her mother despite it all.

This story also provides an advocate for diversity, in particular LGBTQ+, but I won’t spoil that one any further. So in all if you’re looking for a read which raises awareness for disability, and equality in a positive light, and enjoy a fantasy story based on a popular tale then this is likely a book you’ll read.

This had a perfect balance between description and action; mid-way through the story there is a drop off in terms of action and the book focuses on character and scenery development. It really allowed the author to show off her skill for writing – her language is beautiful, vibrant, and paints an outstanding picture of this fantasy world.

Although I could make a pretty decent guess about the overall outcome of the story – it is a retelling after all, I wasn’t ready for the twists and turns encountered along the way, and I certainly wasn’t ready for the prospect of a book 2 either!

After reading this, I’m dying to find out what happens next, and what else this fantastic author has developed! I’d recommend this to anyone who loves a retelling, and anyone who loves a fantasy world paralleled with the real-world.

I’m awarding this book 5/5 – no hesitation. I loved the language and writing style, the and I really enjoyed the twist on the classic story. It gave it a new life, and injected a tangible element to the tale. I loved the diversity of the characters, and the interactions between them, and how they develop as individuals through the pages.

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