Title: A Curse So Dark and Lonely
Author: Brigid Kemmerer
Series: Cursebreakers #1
Blurb: 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.
Review: This book got a LOT of hype when it first came out. I remember hearing so much about it, saw so many early reviews brimming with praise, fell in love with the gorgeous cover art – I preordered it on the spot. It sat on my TBR until the Disney Readathon when it was picked for the group read for Team Tangled, which gave me the perfect time to see if this book would live up to all the buzz.
Yes. Yes, it did.
This is a retelling of the Beauty and the Beast story, but with some very significant twists that were really interesting. Our “Beast” is a prince named Rhen who insulted a sorceress and got cursed, but he isn’t a beast all the time. His castle is stuck in a cycle of time that repeats itself and each time it does, at the end of that cycle, he turns into a monster and goes on a killing spree. He has already killed his family and either killed or driven off nearly everyone – all except his faithful captain of the guard, Grey.
The “Beauty” of this story is Harper, a young girl who has cerebral palsy. I was curious about this and did some research. Turns out that Kemmerer had a best friend who had CP. In an interview, Kemmerer said this: “When I was designing Harper’s character, I knew I wanted to look at the idea of curses, and how sometimes what seems like a curse to one person might not be a curse at all to someone else. I hadn’t read a book with a character with CP, and Erin agreed to help me springboard my research, and that was how Harper got her start.” I love everything about this idea! And Harper is an amazing character. Some things are a bit harder for her due to her disability, but she is also incredibly strong, and grows even stronger as the book goes on, winning the hearts of not just Rhen and Grey, but the citizens of Emberfall as well.
Also, check out the rest of that interview with The Childrens’ Book Review. It’s all really good stuff.
This book was great. Lots of twists and turns deviating from the original fairy tale to keep it interesting, together with the ticking clock of Rhen’s next transformation plus an enemy kingdom coming to attack, all lead to an exciting conclusion. Great characters, great plot points and storyline, it’s everything you could want.
GoodReads Rating: 5 stars!
Categories: Books I've Read