I got an eARC in exchange for an honest review. This doesn’t affect my opinions.
Thanks to Netgalley and Bloomsbury!
Title: A Curse so Dark and Lonely
Author: Brigid Kemmerer
Publication Date: January 29th, 2019
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Rating: 4.25 Stars
This is a Beauty and the Beast Retelling and I was so excited to get my hands on this. Doubly so when I saw it was written by Birgid Kemmerer. I’ve heard so many good things about her other books, especially Letters to the Lost.
Although one can definitely see the inspiration from the original tale, the base work of the story, Kemmerer did put her own spin on things and I quite enjoyed myself reading this. In fact, I read 75% of this book in one go because I just couldn’t put it down. So points for Intrigue!
In this story, Harper is from DC and gets (somewhat) accidentally dragged into another world; Emberfall. She doesn’t go willingly nor quietly. I really enjoyed her reactions to this. Her struggling with helping or staying out of things was really relatable. And poor Grey having to deal with her (a little irony, but also .. really)
Which brings me to my first big surprise: how well the two worlds blended together. Normally I’m very cautious of a book where a character from our modern world gets whisked away into a fairy type country. It poses a lot of problems. How well and fast does the character adapt to being essentially thrown back in time for about 100-200 years? How do the people from said other world react to the characters language, customs, clothes etc?
But I shouldn’t have worried because it was beautifully done. Grey, who is the loyal (and only) guard of Prince Rhen gets the power to travel to our world to … well … kidnap/convince a girl to come with him to Emberfall. He’s done this quite a lot lately (327 times to be exact) so he is fairly used to our world.
Harper, on the other hand, is first caught up in the danger of being dragged away and focuses on escaping and manages to ignore or explain away some stuff at first. And while she is awed by the castle and everything her priority is getting away (sensible girl right there!)
I loved the fact that she could get around reasonably well because she did horse riding back when she was younger as a form of therapy for her cerebral palsy. (Loved this because one, as far as I can tell, her cerebral palsy is written very well and carefully, but it also makes it way more plausible for her to be able to ride (not that that can’t be a hobby just because but it didn’t feel as convenient this way for me)).
And the things I liked most about her? She was fierce, yes, brave and a little bit reckless, but she also listened when people told her something was dangerous (well most of the time). She strived in Emberfall. She strived and really came into herself and seeing what she is capable of doing if people just let her.
Rhen was enjoyable to read about. I’m not head over heels in love with him, but he was a solid character and the more I learnt about him the more I actually liked him. I did pity him in all the scenes with Lillith (I’ll talk about her in a sec) and I quite liked the way he handled those situations.
He was a little bit lost, poor boy. And quite defeated but didn’t wallow in self pity which I really appreciated.
And now Lilith. This is one of my only complaints about this book. She is the villain and she was quite flat tbh. I love me a good complex villain. She was not.
She is wicked, no doubt. and some scenes are great and maybe it is because she isn’t in the book that often, is not really the focus, but I did miss a well written villain a bit.
But my fav has to be Grey. As I said, he is Rhen’s guard and he is loyal. Like extremely loyal! And though he is a bit standoffish he has a secret charming site that we get to see from time to time.
The worldbuilding is on point. It’s not overwhelming but you do really get a sense of what Emberfall looks like and what the people have been through.
The ending was relatively predictable and I did get to a point were I was like … really?? But I did still enjoy it and there were some things I did not necessarily see coming.
What I really appreciated about the ending was how the relationship ended and what was being said. You’ll know what I mean when you’ve read the book.
And the last scene? Although predictable it still did make me excited to read the sequel!
All in all I can really recommend this book if you like retellings. I certainly enjoyed my time reading. I flew through it!
Although I do think this is a very in-the-moment type of book … meaning I enjoyed it immensely while reading, but after finishing it and letting my feelings settle a bit I did notice a few things here and there that weren’t my favourites. (Also, I would’ve liked to know more about Harpers life before Emberfall.)
This is my Review of the Month for the review collection on LovelyAudiobooks.info