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A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer, inspired by Beauty and the Beast, reminded me how much I love a good fairytale retelling. I couldn’t help falling for the strong and caring main character, and there are many elements to the story that make it stand out from its source material. Those looking for a fast-paced retelling that still feels original will not want to miss this fantasy series.Title: A Curse So Dark and Lonely
Series: Cursebreakers #1
Author: Brigid Kemmerer
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children's
Genres: Fantasy, Retelling, Young Adult Fiction
Publication Date: January 29, 2019
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 Lacy. 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.
In a lush, contemporary fantasy retelling of Beauty and the Beast, Brigid Kemmerer gives readers another compulsively readable romance perfect for fans of Marissa Meyer.
Review: A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer
After trying to save a stranger’s life, Harper finds herself as the one getting captured as she is whisked from the streets of Washington into a strange and magical world. In Emberfall, she meets a prince who has been cursed to repeat the same season over and over again until he finds a girl who will fall in love with him, transforming into a destructive beast that destroys the kingdom with each failed attempt. Tasked with breaking the curse and saving the kingdom, Harper has a lot on her plate, but as she finds herself falling for Rhen for real, she must decide between helping the inhabitants of this new land and finding a way back home to her family.
❀ Strong Main Character
Harper is a strong main character, and I loved her attitude. She has a lot going on in her life at home from her mother’s cancer to the debt her brother has taken on, and she finds herself suddenly forced to adjust to life in an unfamiliar world. Despite all these challenges, Harper is compassionate and determined to help the people around her, and she is committed to finding a way to reconnect with her family who needs her. I also loved the cerebral palsy representation through her character–this is so rare in fantasies, so I was impressed to see these elements given importance in the plot.
❀ Fresh and Surprising
Something I tend to struggle with in retellings, especially common retellings like Beauty and the Beast, is originality. While this one draws on the classic story, it still feels fresh and surprising, and I enjoyed the author’s darker twist on the curse and unique worldbuilding. This retelling feels even more action-packed and gripping than the original, and it truly feels like its own story.
❀ Exciting Twists
A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer is a fairytale retelling with its own exciting twists. I loved getting swept up into the world of Emberfall, and the main character is easy to root for. This is a powerful start to a fantasy trilogy, and I can’t wait to see where the story goes next.