Book Review: "A Curse So Dark And Lonely" by Brigid Kemmerer

One of my 2019 bookish resolutions is to read more new releases. I love fantasy and retellings, so it`s no surprise that "A curse so dark and lonely" quickly made my list. And let me tell you, that`s how you write a retelling. You bring your own spin on a well-known tale, you add loveable characters, and you stay away from tropes like "insta-love" or "she`s not like the other girls".

The story starts in DC, where our "Beauty" lives. Harper has had a hard life: her dad borrowed money from the mobsters, her brother has to work with them to pay the debt, and her mother is dying of cancer. On top of everything, she has cerebral palsy. Just when you think that this girl endured enough, she`s swept to the magical kingdom of Emberfall. Now meet the "Beast", Rhen. He`s been cursed to repeat the autumn of his eighteenth birthday until a girl falls in love with him. In his absence, his kingdom had fallen prey to invaders. Oh, there also that minor detail where every season he becomes a beast and murders everyone in his path.

The chapters alternate between Harper and Rhen, which gives us the opportunity to get to know both of them. Whilst, in the beginning, Rhen looks like an entitled prince, he`s a troubled soul, and he would do anything to save his people. He`s a born leader and is always one step ahead of everyone else. Harper, on the other hand, is a compassionate soul, and would rather suffer than stand by and do nothing. Despite her CP, she does not let illness define her. She`s constantly pushing her limits, and she hates being a damsel in distress.

For me, however, the real star of the book was Grey, Rhen`s personal guard. He`s such a complex character, I was fascinated by him from page one. On one hand, you have Grey the soldier, who will obey every order and fight until the end. Then you have a gentler Grey, who`s good with children and tries to help others. And honestly, Harper should have ended up with Grey. Rhen was OK, but her interactions with Grey felt more real. He`s the first person that Harper trusts in Emberfall, and they just seem like a better fit. I feel like Rhen is your first high-school crush: he`s hot and you have fun pushing each other limits. But Grey is the protective and caring guy you end up when you want something real. Was I the only one feeling this OTP?

Overall, this was a great book, from the dark atmosphere to the intriguing characters. Although I did not feel the romance, I appreciate the fact that it did not take focus from the plot. The book ended on such a cliffhanger, I can`t wait to see the next instalment. Also, hopefully, my ship will sail in the next book. Yeah, I - the anti-romance advocate, is petitioning for two people to get together.

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