Book Review: “A Curse So Dark And Lonely”

“A Curse So Dark And Lonely” by Brigid Kemmerer

Source: ARC in enchange for an honest review

Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Fantasy

Summary: 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.


I’m just going to go ahead and warn you this review will be full of fangirling and spoilers.

A Curse So Dark And Lonely contains everything I love in my YA fantasy books: secret identities, surly guardsman, fairy tale elements, romantic tension, and sass. Everything was done to perfection. If I didn’t know any better, I would have said that Brigid wrote this book just for me.

Let’s star with the basics: the beauty and the beast elements. Rhen is our beast. He’s been cursed to evolve into a beast every season. If he can’t get a girl to fall in love with him over the course of a season, the season resets. Things reset?! Sweet, that doesn’t sound terrible. WRONG. Rhen resets back into a human. Anyone and anything that was destroyed over the course of the season stays destroyed…and dead.

Harper is our beauty and she’s not a typical beauty. I’m particularly fond of the fact that she ‘shouldn’t’ have been in this story or drug into this world. She was minding her own business and saw a man messing with a woman she thinks is drunk or drugged. Instead of turning a blind eye, she attacks the man and gets transported to our fantasy world. This sets the tone for the type of woman that Harper is. She’s the type of heroine that is aware that other people are involved in the “story”. She doesn’t focus on what’s happening to her. She wants to make sure everyone is taken care of. It’s a rare find in the YA books I’ve read. Harper also has Cerebral Palsy but it wasn’t the main focus of the story. She doesn’t let it hold her back and fully intends to do what she wants.

Once we get past the trust issues between Harper and Rhen, I love how they work together to attempt to save the kingdom. I’m always a big fan of court politics so it was fun to see how a city girl and a born prince could use their skills to outsmart neighboring kingdoms and gain the trust of the people.

Kemmerer’s writing is addicting. The book is a rather large fantasy doorstop which can be intimidating.  It’s like popcorn where you just keep working at it and can’t stop. I breezed through the story with no trouble.

All in all, A Curse So Dark And Lonely was a great read. I can’t wait for everyone to read it. I can see it being the big book of 2019

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