A Curse So Dark and Lonely (Kemmerer)

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Okayyyyy, folks. I’m sitting here trying to figure out how exactly I should approach this review. On one hand, as you can see, I gave it four stars. Obviously, that means that I really enjoyed this book. I loved the characters, it was SUCH a great new take on a retelling of Beauty and the Beast, and the writing sucked me in from page one. However….the ending?????? I just don’t even know where to begin on that so I’ll try to leave any ranting for the very end AFTER I talk about all of the lovely things in this book!

First of all, this is my very first book by Brigid Kemmerer and I can say with certainty that I will be picking up another one of her books in the near future. I really liked her writing and as I said earlier, it sucked me immediately into the story.

The story: Let’s face it, the story of Beauty and the Best has been redone over and over and over again. In my mind, there are really only so many things you can do to change things up and turn it into a new thing that no one else has ever done before. That being said, I think that this story is a prime example of being that something “new.” Rhen is the prince of Emberfall and is cursed to live the fall season over and over again until he can find a woman to fall in love with him and break the curse. At the end of each season, he turns into a horrible beast but instead of just sitting around, moping in the castle, he completely loses himself and a lot of people (usually his subjects) end up dying. His commander, Grey, is the only person he has left with him and is the one who crosses over into our world to find women for Rhen to basically court and try to woo each season. Our main protagonist, the Harper, was not Grey’s target. No, she had been out on the street, waiting for her brother to return from doing a dangerous job for a loan shark when she sees this random guy seeming to drug and try to kidnap this woman. Naturally, our spunky lead picks up a rusty tire iron and tries to stop that from happening. She is instead taken to Emberfall and the rest of the story ensues.

Characters: Aside from being madly in love with both Rhen and Grey, Harper was my favorite character. She has cerebral palsy which gives her a pretty bad limp but that literally never stops her from doing anything. There were actually a few instances of Rhen or someone else saying something about her “broken body” or how she was “crippled” and she was always the first to remind them that she wasn’t broken, she wasn’t damaged. I don’t personally know anyone with cerebral palsy and I know that there’s a pretty big spectrum of how it can affect your body so it was great getting to read about the main character who has it but didn’t let it slow her down. I hope she was a great representation for those out there that read this that also have the disorder.

Backtracking to the two wonderful men…sigh…they were great. You could tell that Rhen had come a long way from where he started during his first cursed season. He became more selfless, he started to care more about Grey, and obviously about Harper too. Her spitfire attitude also reawakened in him a sense of duty for his kingdom which is great because I felt super bad for everyone outside of the castle who had spent the last five years feeling like their King and ruling family had abandoned them as they starved and were killed off by a rival kingdom and the monster……Anywayssss he was just very kind and sweet and watching him fall for Harper was a treat. Grey reminded me SO MUCH of Chaol (Throne of Glass) which obviously made me love him right away. That’s really all I have to say about that lol.

Lilith…she was the worst and that’s all you need to know.

Ending: Well, here we are at the end. I decided that I can’t actually rant about anything because that would reveal spoilers and I can’t do that. Just know that I was not satisfied with the ending. Like part of me, kind of gets, what Kemmerer was trying to do but then another part of me was just left SUPER confused. Like I just didn’t get why this certain main component of the book was so important if things ended like they did…I DON’T KNOW. It made me confused/ annoyed enough that I had to dock the book a star but that’s just me. That epilogue on the other hand had me very intrigued….haha, yes apparently my thoughts on the end are very jumbled. Overall though, this is a really good book and I need the second book in my life, please and thanks.

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Arielle Hemingway
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