A Curse so Dark and Lonely – Brigid Kemmerer

After finishing the entire Throne of Glass series, this book was exactly what I needed to get out of a reading slump. It was incredibly easy to fall in love with the characters, storyline, and setting, without feeling too overwhelmed. 

Plot

As a beauty and the beast retelling, the story followed that basic structure with a few different twists. Our main character Harper has a family that needs help, but she eventually finds herself in the world of Emberfall in order to break a curse for the Crown Prince. To break the curse, she must fall in love with him. Along the way, Harper realizes that she must save the lands of Emberfall in order to prevent war and bloodshed. 

I actually really liked this whole plotline. It did stick to the original beauty and the beast structure, which was really nice because I felt like it didn’t need a ton of changes to be amazing. Along with that, Brigid Kemmerer did add many exciting twists and surprises such as the fantastic cliff-hanger at the end of the epilogue with Commander Grey. 

I think the only piece of criticism I have for the book is that Harper fell for Prince Rhen way too fast. At first, she seemed like a strong character who would hold her ground against the men who had taken her; however, she changed her mind fast. I have to admit, it does seem easy to fall for a Crown Prince like Rhen, but she had been taken from her family and still felt romantic feelings towards him, only after a couple of weeks. Again, that does follow the beauty and the beast structure, but it seemed that only a couple of chapters convinced Harper that he was worth having feelings over. 

Characters

Harper is our main character and she seems like another strong female lead that I really did come to enjoy reading about. Her love for her family and the fact that she didn’t give away her trust too quickly inspired me and made me love her that much more. In fact, she actually has a syndrome called Cerebral Palsy, which, as she said in the book, affects everyone differently, but affected her through her left leg. I found it really interesting to read about a character who doesn’t let their condition get them down. She had been living with it for her entire life, but she never made it stop her from doing what she needed to. I think that she was the perfect girl to write as beauty. She shows that it wasn’t a weakness, but she can throw knives and learned to wield a bow despite her disadvantages. Also, I think it was the perfect addition to a typical fantasy/romance story. It really added depth to her character and gave her so much more strength. 

Commander Grey was probably my favorite character. He is a side character, but from the beginning, he made me laugh with the way he always seemed so monotone. As Commander of the Royal Guard, he was a strong male who didn’t let anyone or anything hurt his Prince or Harper, which made him a really loyal character. It seems he’s going to have a more significant part in the next book, which I am looking forward to because all of his roles in this one were interesting. 

The Crown Prince of Emberfall, or Rhen, was the beast in this story. At first, I didn’t love his character, he kind of seemed like he had given up on trying to break the curse, however, I did grow to like him as a character. I liked that he never pushed Harper, even though his curse was running out of time, and he actually showed her enough respect to send her home when she needed to go eventually. He did earn my respect and love back from the beginning of the book, and I hope his role stays essential in the next book too. 

“I am always surprised to discover that when the world seems darkest, there exists the greatest opportunity for light.”

Setting

Emberfall honestly sounds like such a beautiful place. At first, it seemed a bit overrun with poverty, which kind of ruined it for me, because I couldn’t get past that, but at the end of the book, the Ironrose Castle changed to Spring and that made me love it even more. 

The main settings in Emberfall were the Ironrose Castle and the Inn. The Ironrose Castle sounded honestly magical. The music playing constantly sounded terrific (although I may be sick of it after a while), and it just seems like a gorgeous place to live.

The Inn was also really lovely. It seemed very homey and reminded me of warm fires and hot chocolate. I think that Emberfall, in general, seems like a magical and beautiful place, despite the poverty and hunger that had cast over the lands throughout most of the book. 

Other than Emberfall, Harper lived in Washington, DC. This is a big city and I liked that the two settings were different. It kind of showed how much she would miss in the beautiful country of Emberfall instead of this massive, loud city. 

Writing

This is the first book I have read by Brigid Kemmerer and I have to say I really enjoyed it. Her writing style is a lot different than what I have been reading recently, and it’s a nice change. At first, I was hesitant through her point of view, but I definitely enjoyed how I could feel the characters with a lot of description. 

In Conclusion… 

I really enjoyed this book. It got me out of a major book slump and I think that it was nice to have such an easy read. I definitely recommend this to any fantasy, romance lovers. The writing was really easy to follow, and it is a familiar story that I loved. I’m definitely going to read the next one and after that crazy cliff-hanger at the end of the book, I’m so excited. 

Rating: 4/5⭐

About the Author

Maya

Maya is an eighteen-year-old psychology student that loves to read a range of genres of books. She also loves to write her own stories and is working on the second draft of her first novel.

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