Overall Rating: 5 Stars
Title: A Curse So Dark and Lonely
Author: Brigid Kemmerer
Series: Cursebreakers #1
Format: Hard copy purchased from Books a Million
Fall in love, break the curse.
Cursed by a powerful enchantress to repeat the autumn of his eighteenth year, Prince Rhen, the heir of Emberfall, thought he could be saved easily if a girl fell for him. But that was before he turned into a vicious beast hell-bent on destruction. 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 constantly underestimating her because of her cerebral palsy, Harper learned to be tough enough to survive. When she tries to save a stranger on the streets of Washington, DC, she’s pulled into a magical world.
Break the curse, save the kingdom.
Harper doesn’t know where she is or what to believe. A prince? A curse? A monster? 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.
Where do I even begin with my love for this book?
I’m a whore for Beauty and the Beast retellings, but up until I read this book, I always felt as though all of them were missing something.
I’ve always wanted to get inside the Beast’s head a little more. I wanted to see how the curse affected him mentally in the long-term. I also wanted to see the development of his relationship with Belle within the parameters of that.
Basically, I wanted a bit of torture and some epic hate-to-love.
And I got it with A Curse So Dark and Lonely.
I have to start by talking about Rhen. First of all? That freaking name. I love all the names in this book, especially his.
Rhen is our Beast in this reimagining. He’s smart and calculating with a charming self-deprecating sense of humor that made me immediately fall in love with him.
But behind his seemingly light-hearted personality is a deep and very dark tortured soul. His pain, though, is buried so deep and has been festering for so long that it has manifested into resignation. He’s pretty much lost all hope that the curse will be broken after so many years of failure and loss.
I appreciate how Rhen is not perfect, but he’s learned from his (big) mistakes. He’s paid for those mistakes, though he may never feel it was enough.
Oh, Harper. I freaking love this version of Belle so much.
She’s a force to be reckoned with hidden in the body of someone who is constantly underestimated. Her disability doesn’t define her, even though many outside influences believe that it does.
I adored her low-key sense of humor. Her sarcasm and her witty, under-the-breath, pay-attention-or-you’ll-miss-it personality.
Watching her find herself and her strength when she’s thrown into this whirlwind situation was one of the most satisfying reading experiences I’ve ever had.
I mean, Gray is the ideal formula for a character I love:
Fiercely Loyal + Just a bit Grumpy + Quiet + Watchful = ♥ ♥
I think it’s Gray’s loyalty, against all odds, that makes me love him the most. Of course there is subtle humor there as well, which made me love him even more.
As far as the romance, like everything in this story, it was gradual and slow. I can see why some people felt that this book was slow or even boring, but it’s certainly a character-driven novel. It’s subtle and not action-packed, yet it had me on the edge of my seat the entire time.