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.
Synopsis from Goodreads
I have seen A Curse So Dark and Lonely all over Instragram and it seemed like people were really loving it. That usually makes me nervous about a book, but because this is a rendition of Beauty and the Beast, I couldn't stop myself from getting a copy. I was really happy that I didn't let the hype stop me because I found this to be a great story based on a class fairytale!
Harper is Such a Strong Protagonist
I need to start this by stating just how much I adored Harper. She is such a strong character throughout the story, both physically and emotionally. She doesn't simply get swayed by Rhen because he is a prince and forces him to actually engage with her as a human, not just go through the motions as he has with every other girl. Harper also doesn't allow CP to define her. One of the best moments is when she says "I was born this way...and I'm going to die this way, so teach me to work around it". I also think it was really well done that Harper doesn't simply fall in love with Rhen; she wants trust and respect before she can even think about love, and it leads to a stronger bond between them.
Beauty and the Beast has always been one of my favourite fairytales because I've always seen Belle as one of the strongest female protagonists. In A Curse So Dark and Lonely, this remains true, but Kemmerer takes it a step further and develops all of her characters to create a strong story. The additions of Lillith as an active antagonist in the story instead of simply placing the curse and leaving, and of Grey as a guard/friend to both Rhen and Harper are important ones because it gives us deeper insight into both major characters. I love how Kimmer stays true to the original fairytale (the magic castle, the heroine leaving to find her sick parent, the fight between good and evil) while also adjusting or changing elements of it to enhance the story.
Excited for the Sequel
The book does not end with everything wrapped up neatly and I think that's a great thing. It gives us so many possibilities about what is going to happen in the sequel, including how Rhen and Harper's relationship will grow. My only concern is that a love triangle will occur and I'm really hoping that won't happen -- I hate them and I think it would ruin the series for me. Instead, I'm interested to see how the Harper/Grey and Rhen/Grey relationships develop independently and am hoping that we get a Grey POV this time. He's such an interesting character and the end of A Curse definitely leaves his story wide open!
I really enjoyed this book and think that people who like retellings of classic stories will have a fun time reading this story. The characters are well developed and Kemmerer does a great job enhancing a very popular fairytale. While there were some elements I didn't love (the hint of a love triangle really turned me off), I'm really excited to find out what happens in the next book and how this story will ultimately end!
FINAL RATING: 4/5
Hi, I'm Alexandra! I love reading (largely YA fiction, but sometimes I'll read "adult" books), playing board games, Nutella, and binge-watching TV shows on Netflix with my husband.
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