Saturday, March 16, 2019

A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer ~ Review

A Curse So Dark and Lonely (A Curse So Dark and Lonely #1)
Source: Purchased.

A Curse So Dark and Lonely (A Curse So Dark and Lonely #1) by Brigid Kemmerer

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.

So I've been excited about A Curse So Dark and Lonely for a while now. Partly because I'm always down for a b&tb retelling, but also because fantasy and Brigid and also ahaha that synopsis omg. But when this beautiful book finally made its way into my hands, it took me a little while to pick it up. Because man, I was intimidated. I've had multiple friends sing this one praises. And while that's a vote of confidence, that is also PRESSURE. I do not do well reading under pressure. But I finally got up the nerve to read this book and my friends--I am ready to join the club in singing A Curse So Dark and Lonely praises because it deserves ALL OF THEM.

There are so many things that were done well in this novel, I'm sure I'm going to forget something but I'll walk you through the highlights:

- The Characters. Each and every one. They were fleshed out so skillfully. Rhen--both his past, arrogant self and his current, remorseful one. The contradiction between the two. His growth in that time, and then throughout the course of this book itself. Harper--her strength that she always and but only came to realize and harness when put in an out-of-this-world situation. Her cleverness. Her kindness. Her general badassery. And Grey--loyal to no end. Kind. Fierce, but soft when needed. When it matters. Oh, and the most lethal guy in the room. 

- The Friendships. Okay this was probably what had me most head over heels for this book. Harper and Grey and their beautiful friendship is kind of what I live for now? Their playing cards and him teaching her to throw knives and her trying to stab him and him being like "hey maybe hold it this way for better defense." I'm trash for this. Then there is Grey and Rhen which has layers. They have their past and they have their present and they're connected and close and I am a huge 100% fan. 

- The Slow Burn. I spend my life searching for well done slow burn romances and ring-a-ding-ding here is one right here thanks to Brigid Kemmerer. Rhen and Harper have so much going on. Honestly, it SHOULD take them time to figure out their feelings for each other, the way things are so intertwined with the state of the kingdom. But when they had their eyes were GLUED to the page. I devoured those moments. They were beautiful.

- The Retelling. This take on Beauty & the Beast was honestly stunning. It's easy for retellings to read in a way that can be kind of stale, at least in part, but this one felt unique and fresh and even when I saw it hitting the beats in the old tale it also had enough originality that I wondered what would come next. Mostly because this isn't JUST a retelling. It's a retelling within another, larger story. And I loved it.

- The Execution. When I love a book I either read the whole thing straight through in barely a day or I take my time and read it s l o w l y. This one fell into the second category because I was so enchanted I needed to savor the story. The words. The characters. The world. It was all so well written, I never wanted to let go. It took me about a week to read this book, and it still felt like it passed in the blink of an eye. I miss it already. 

Overall, A Curse So Dark and Lonely is a stunning retelling. Well constructed characters, fleshed out relationships, and so much more made this one that I didn't want to end. And you BET I'm gonna be over here snatching up that sequel the first moment I can. In the meantime, if you haven't given this one a shot yet--you really should. This is one that's not to be missed.

5 stars - An enchanting, lovely story that I never wanted to end!

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