In book review

REVIEW: A Curse So Dark and Lonely


Title: A Curse So Dark and Lonely
Author: Brigid Kemmerer
Genre(s):  Young Adult, Fantasy, Retellings
Release: March 2018
Rating: ✭✭✭✭/5

“I am always surprised to discover that when the world seems darkest, 
there exists the greatest opportunity for light.” 

Hello lovelies, I'm back! After spending a weekend in London I'm fully recharged and ready to go back to blogging. Up next: my review of A Curse so Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer! I've read this book a while ago, while reading it for a buddy-read with my friend (shame on me for only writing my review now). From a lot of my friends I'd heard that this book left them shook, which resulted in a lot of anticipation on my end!

What is this book about?
A Curse so Dark and Lonely is a Beauty and the Beast retelling and centers around the teenage girl Harper, who has been forced to survive on the streets due to her dying mother and a brother with a knack for trouble. When she attempts to rescue an unconscious woman she encounters on the streets of Washington, she is magically transported to Emberfall, the fantastical kingdom under Prince Rhen. Rhen, however, isn't your typical prince. He is cursed by a witch to continuously repeat his eighteenth year, in which he turns into a horrific beast every single autumn. The curse can only be broken if he manages to make a girl fall in love with him, which should be easy enough, right? But Harper isn't sure what to make of this new situation she finds herself in, and the curse doesn't seem to be the only thing they need to worry about...

"This early in the season, 
the other girls would sit by the hearth and gaze at me over crystal goblets, 
while I’d pour wine and tell stories with just enough devilishness to make them blush.
 If I put a crystal goblet in this one’s hand, she’d likely smash it and use the shards to cut me."

 What did I think of A Curse So Dark and Lonely?
Right off the bat, I thought A Curse so Dark and Lonely had a very pleasant writing style. It's very to-the-point, easy to get into, and picks up quite a bit from the start. Despite the seemingly big size of the book, A Curse so Dark and Lonely reads like a dream. It's fast-paced, introduces the characters as well as the story nicely, and the fairytale-like elements in it had my Disney loving heart soaring! 

I really liked the three main characters, and the very different characterizations of all of them separately. The book is divided into three POV's, and each have a very distinct voice. I particularly liked Rhen's character (my emo boy, I loved him!). Additionally, the main relationship pulled me in and I found myself rooting for them a lot throughout the novel. Also, this book has disability rep in the form of Harper's character, who has celebral palsy. Harper's determination made her such an empowering character that I think a lot of people can relate to!

Plot-wise, I enjoyed the majority of the book A LOT. Kemmerer's take on the traditional Beauty and the Beast story is original. The idea of a whole new kingdom that exists separately from contemporary US life in which Harper is immersed was a nice twist, as well as reading about her process to adjust in this new fantastical universe. The massive plot-twist at the end of the novel, too, made this book such an unexpected love!

The main issue (or the only issue) I had with the book was the love triangle the writing seems to be setting up for in the next book. I'm not sure if I was meant to interpret it this way, but it seems to strongly hint at a plot like this. I'm not typically a huge fan of the love triangle trope and I think that should've been left in 2011. I won't judge too quickly, though, and I'll see how it plays out in any future books in the series.

All in all, this book didn't leave me as "shook" exactly as I'd hoped it would, but it's a solid fantasy nonetheless. A Curse so Dark and Lonely nicely sets up the plot for future books. The plot-twist at the end was interesting, and the writing style was well-paced. This book made my fairytale-loving heart happy, which is why I'm giving it a solid 4 stars. I can't wait to see what the second instalment will bring!


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