*spoiler-free* A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer

Rating: 4.5/5

Synopsis

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. 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.

Why I Read It

This was definitely a hype read, BUT it’s also a retelling of my favorite fairytale so I kind of didn’t even have a choice.

My *spoiler-free* Thoughts

Let’s get right to the chase: there’s a reason I’m writing this review during Women’s History Month *and* during my blog’s own personal International Women’s WEEK.

Obviously Brigid Kemmerer is a female author we all need to support, so let’s talk about Harper.

She’s a main character with cerebral palsy. And it isn’t just some character trait that’s forgotten later on. And it isn’t just a plot device. AND IT DOESN’T HOLD HER BACK.

Harper has had to work her whole life to overcome what she was born with. It’s a part of her, and we see her frustrations a lot throughout the book, but she never lets anyone around her see her as vulnerable for it. She does anything and everything anyone else, especially Rhen and Grey, can do.

She is such a powerful main character that she’s all I’ve been thinking about since I read this book a few weeks ago. I LOVE HER. WE ALL LOVE HER. SHE IS EVERYTHING. And, hello, she’s able to fake her way into becoming a (badass) princess. Isn’t that sort of something we all want? (Not in a females-always-want-to-be-princesses-and-do-nothing-substantial way, but in a princesses-are-awesome-and-we-would-make-them-into-badass-characters-with-real-storylines kind of way.)

I know I’ve seen at least someone complain about “stockholm syndrome” in this book, but come on. What else is supposed to happen? And I wouldn’t even call it that, to be honest. She wasn’t manipulated into trusting and caring for her captor. She actually mistrusted him very much the entire time. Her trust was earned, not taken from her.

I love Rhen and I love Grey. Also, if you love interesting plot twists, the end of this book will be wonderful for you. And I stress *interesting* plot twist, not something having to do with the action. And Kemmerer has stated that Rhen and Harper’s story has come to an end, but that she is writing about Grey (at least that’s what I saw, I hope I’m not wrong because that’d be amazing).

The book as a whole felt fast-paced for me. I read it in a few days because I didn’t want to put it down. (It probably would have been fasted if I actually *didn’t* have to put it down.) I love fast-paced books that still manage to pace themselves. The action doesn’t start in the very first chapter and leave you wondering what the hell is going on. I appreciate a moment to take a breath when I begin reading a book, rather than being thrown right in. I mean, I do appreciate action in the beginning, but I’d like it to be pretty mundane or irrelevant action. I don’t want to be thrown in during an important fight scene.

The only thing I have to mention here is I wish the Big Threat to the country and the Big Villain in the story (Lillith) played slightly bigger roles. I’m glad Lillith was more prominent in this retelling than in other versions I’ve seen. But honestly I can’t even remember what happened to her, if anything even did. I usually don’t have an issue recalling important events in books, and I don’t remember her fate, so I’m thinking it just wasn’t memorable enough for me.

All in all, this book is highly recommended. If you’d like to know more, you can check out my spoiler review. But, warning: there WILL be spoilers, and they WILL probably be major ones. I don’t intend to hold back.

xoxo, Hayden

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21-year-old college student, lover of books and proud owner of Dreaming in Paperbacks blog, dreaming.in.paperbacks bookstagram, and DPaperbacks Twitter. Looking for more book, college, and lifestyle blogs to follow!

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