TITLE: A Curse So Dark and Lonely
AUTHOR: Brigid Kemmer
SERIES: A Curse So Dark and Lonely, #1
RELEASED: January 29th, 2019; Bloomsbury YA
AGE RANGE: YA
Harper’s life isn’t easy—her father has left her family with all his debts, her brother is working for the same loan sharks they owe, and her mother is in the final stages of cancer. Meanwhile, in the land of Emberfall, Crown Prince Rhen is facing the final season of his curse: if he doesn’t find love within three months, he’ll be left forever in the form of the bloodthirsty beast that overtakes him with each failed courtship. When the prince’s guard kidnaps Harper for one last shot at breaking the spell, will she choose a dying kingdom, or her family?
I love Beauty and the Beast retellings, but we’ve had so many of them that they need a fresh take to catch my eye nowadays, and A Curse So Dark and Lonely absolutely had that to offer. Between the mixture of urban and high fantasy worlds, and the protagonist’s cerebral palsy representation, I’ve been hyped as heck for this release since the synopsis was first announced. In fact, I think I hyped myself up too much for it, because when my copy arrived,it was hard to pick it up right away just thanks to being nervous over how devastated I knew I’d be if it wasn’t amazing!
“You are responsible. You, Rhen. You alone will destroy them all.”
Thankfully, every last one of my concerns were TOTALLY unnecessary, because I thought this was flawless. I adored the atmospheric setting, the flawed characters, the representation, and how dark the curse was. Brigid Kemmerer took this classic tale of a prince cursed to live life as a beast, and tossed it into such a heavy, violent spin that I was hooked from the first page.
Everything is always the same. Except for the dead. They never come back.
Of course, there are the characters, too, who are so lovable despite being ridiculously flawed (or because of that, maybe, because they all feel so complex and multidimensional!). Harper is a phenomenal heroine and I LOVED her CP rep—there are just so many good conversations taking place in this book regarding how the world treats people with disabilities.
There is blood under my fingernails. I wonder how many of my people I’ve killed this time.
And then, of course, there’s Rhen, who is so angsty and tragic but in the best way, and my favorite, Grey, the guard. Grey was honestly the star of this show for me, between his quick wit, cool demeanor, and neverending loyalty and bravery. Can I please get a book about him, Brigid? Pleeeaaaaase?
Seriously, though, I just don’t have anything negative to say about this gorgeous fantasy novel. Between the writing, characters, story, rep—it’s the whole package, and easily my favorite work that I’ve read from Brigid Kemmerer so far. I love her contemporary writing, too, but this made me genuinely hope she keeps putting out fantasy releases, because she’s a total natural.
I’d recommend this to any fans of fantasy stories, especially if you enjoy retellings and/or high/low fantasy crossovers!
All quotes come from an advance copy and may not match the final release. Thank you so much to Bloomsbury YA for providing me with this ARC in exchange for an honest review!
twitter | bookstagram | facebook | goodreads