A Curse So Dark and Lonely
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. 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.

A Curse So Dark and Lonely Details

TitleA Curse So Dark and Lonely
Author
ReleaseJan 29th, 2019
PublisherBloomsbury YA
ISBN-139781681195087
Rating
GenreFantasy, Young Adult, Retellings

A Curse So Dark and Lonely Review

  • Melanie
    January 1, 1970
    ARC provided by Bloomsbury in exchange for an honest review. “I am always surprised to discover that when the world seems darkest, there exists the greatest opportunity for light.” A Curse So Dark and Lonely is a reimagining of Beauty and the Beast with a much darker theme. In this version, the Prince is forced to repeat the quest to find love over and over each season, while causing more and more bloodshed each time. But after three-hundred seasons, this season will officially be the very las ARC provided by Bloomsbury in exchange for an honest review. “I am always surprised to discover that when the world seems darkest, there exists the greatest opportunity for light.” A Curse So Dark and Lonely is a reimagining of Beauty and the Beast with a much darker theme. In this version, the Prince is forced to repeat the quest to find love over and over each season, while causing more and more bloodshed each time. But after three-hundred seasons, this season will officially be the very last one. ➽ Harper - The Belle. Eighteen-years-old and from DC, before she is captured. But back home, she has a hard home life, living with her mother who has cancer and they can’t afford medical treatment, and a brother who is forced to pick up his father’s mantle to work for crime lords because he left his family in so much debt. Harper also has Cerebral Palsy, which I understand has very many different types on a spectrum, but she is high functioning. (Also, if you are an ownvoices reviewer, I would love to link your review and boost your voice on your feelings about the representation!) And besides Harper’s Cerebral Palsy representation, which is also at the heart of this book, her brother, Jake, is also queer and has the sweetest boyfriend, Noah, who is black. ➽ Rhen - The Beast. But the dark themes I brought up above is that each season when a girl doesn’t fall in love with him, he turns into a different beast and kills whatever is in his way. And then a new season begins, and the curse starts all over again. ➽ Grey - Rhen’s guard commander, and the only living person left at the castle with him. Not only is he a loyal friend to him, but he captures the girls and brings them back for him. ➽ Lilith - The enchantress who has cast this spell on Rhen and his kingdom. I’ll be honest, this character very much reminded me of Ianthe from A Court of Thorns and Roses.➽ Freya - The shining star of the book, if I’m being honest. She has a child of her own but is also taking care of three of her sister’s children. I don’t know why I loved her so much, but she really was my favorite in the entire story. Give her a spin-off, please. And these characters come together to set the stage and remake the story of Beauty and the Beast unlike any other. We get to see Harper decide if she wants to save a kingdom or her family and we get to see Rhen decide if he is worth saving. And even if this book was a little hard for me to get into at the start, I ended up really getting interested by the end. There is a good discussion in this book about feeling responsible for things that you have no control over. Whether that be mistakes that your loved ones are making, deteriorating health of loved ones, or even just people doing bad things to you and the people you care about. Some things are really out of our control, and I liked the dissection of this in this book, because I think it is easy to feel responsible for things that sometimes really aren’t our faults. “We are not always presented with the choices we want, but choices exist nonetheless.” Overall, I didn’t love this or even enjoy it as much as I thought I would, but it did have a lot of things that I adore. Harper and Rhen do travel around his kingdom a lot, and I love me a good traveling story. Also, they frequent inns and taverns a lot, which is another thing that is so very much in my reading wheelhouse. But even though I completely understand that this is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast, I just couldn’t get over the abduction plotline and even begin to really root for the romance in this book. I will say though that I was really surprised this wasn’t a standalone, even though it totally can be read that way, but maybe I will love the next installment more! Blog | Instagram | Twitter | Tumblr | Youtube | Twitch The quotes above were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.Content and trigger warnings for abduction, captivity, talk of cancer, loss of a loved one, murder, death, torture, abuse, a pedophile comment, attempted sexual assault, sexual assault (by Lilith), thoughts of suicide, and a lot of ableist speech (always in a negative light from the villain). Buddy read with Julie, Amy, Chelsea, Jules, Jen, & Chelsea! ❤
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  • شيماء ✨
    January 1, 1970
    I'm a simple girl...I hear book is a retelling of Beauty and The Beast, I add book to my tbr, I suffer waiting for book’s release date
  • Chelsea Humphrey
    January 1, 1970
    I've been struggling to find the words to describe my feelings toward this book. Though I didn't feel blown away or well connected to any of the characters, it was a breezy read and I never found myself not wanting to pick it up. Many early readers have compared this to the ACOTAR series, but I feel as if they are two completely different beasts. This book is definitely catered toward a younger audience and contains a much tighter grip on its sexual content. In fact, up until the final quarter o I've been struggling to find the words to describe my feelings toward this book. Though I didn't feel blown away or well connected to any of the characters, it was a breezy read and I never found myself not wanting to pick it up. Many early readers have compared this to the ACOTAR series, but I feel as if they are two completely different beasts. This book is definitely catered toward a younger audience and contains a much tighter grip on its sexual content. In fact, up until the final quarter of the book there's practically no romance at all, and even then only the mildest sensual content is injected. There isn't much time spent detailing Harper's background, family life, or her world in Washington D.C., which may be what started her and I off on the wrong foot. Don't get me wrong, she ended up being a character I adored and could root for, and the rep for cerebral palsy is a respectful addition, but we never get much of a sense of who she was BEFORE heading to Emberfall. Once the focus moves back to Emberfall and stays that way for a good chunk of the book, I settled nicely into the atmosphere as the world building was stronger here. The writing involving the setting is lush, descriptive, and almost tangible. This was mostly my favorite part of the book.I didn't feel super attached to any of the characters here, aside from Grey (Commander of the Royal Guard NO SURPRISE THERE I KNOW) and Noah (Harper's brother Jake's boyfriend). I found grey to be infinitely more interesting, sexy, and intelligent than Rhen/the prince was (OOPS) and found myself rooting more for him to be happy than anyone else. We don't get a lot of Noah in this book, but he's a precious peach and just made me feel really warm and fuzzy inside. Lilith, the "villain" of this book felt so cheesy guys. She was one dimensional, petty, and laughable, which is really what caused this to be a 3 star review instead of 4. I can't say more about her at the moment here, but once you've read the book I would be thrilled to discuss and see if others felt the same.The story really picked up for me in the final 150 pages, and while I can't say much without spoiling things, it definitely had much more action and plot progression than the rest combined. There was a plot twist in the epilogue that is alluded to earlier, and unfortunately everyone in our read along group felt it was quite obvious what would happen at the earlier mention. While it's a nice twist, I think it would have been more effective to just have it revealed at the end with no clues given. Overall, a solid first installment in a new series, and the way book 1 ended really did have me excited for the next one, so I think this was an overall positive first stop for me into the land of Brigid Kemmerer. The cover is gorgeous, and I think it will be a fun, meaningful story to a good number of readers.----------*Many thanks to Bloomsbury for providing my review copy.
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  • April (Aprilius Maximus)
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 stars!THIS WAS SO MUCH FUN OMG
  • Mary
    January 1, 1970
    THE GOOD:* OH MY GOD I AM DEAD, this is coming to you from the beyond, where my soul was expelled after reading this book* in case you didn’t know, this is a Beauty and the Beast retelling and it is GLORIOUS* the main character has cerebral palsy, and she’s a goddamn badass, I would let her walk all over me and say thank you* the writing is beautiful and mesmerising and this book had almost 500 pages but I absolutely FLEW through it because this is what good literature does to me* there’s such a THE GOOD:* OH MY GOD I AM DEAD, this is coming to you from the beyond, where my soul was expelled after reading this book* in case you didn’t know, this is a Beauty and the Beast retelling and it is GLORIOUS* the main character has cerebral palsy, and she’s a goddamn badass, I would let her walk all over me and say thank you* the writing is beautiful and mesmerising and this book had almost 500 pages but I absolutely FLEW through it because this is what good literature does to me* there’s such a fun, refreshing twist on the original fairy tale and there’s such a fantastic cast of characters, I LOVE EVERY ONE OF MY CHILDREN* there’s political intrigue and there’s a mix of modern and medieval and guys, I can honestly rave about this book all day and not get tired because I LOVED IT* my feelings got eviscerated and I just felt so much for all the characters - the longing, the desperation, the struggle between doing what is right and doing what is needed - just... ugh* seriously, pick this up and pick it up NOW (or well, as soon as it hits shelves on January 29th)THE BAD:* I got nothing GO PREORDER THIS BOOKYAY or NAY: just... go, buy this and then come rave to me about itFavourite quote:This was never a curse to be broken. This is a death sentence. The true curse has been the thought that we might find escape.★★★★★ To everyone who got this far, thank you for reading and have a wonderful day! Also, feel free to share your thoughts, comment or tell me anything :)
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  • destiny ♎ [howling libraries]
    January 1, 1970
    #1 A Curse So Dark and Lonely ★★★★★#2 A Heart So Fierce and Broken ? Harper’s life isn’t easy—her father has left her family with all his debts, her brother is working for the same loan sharks they owe, and her mother is in the final stages of cancer. Meanwhile, in the land of Emberfall, Crown Prince Rhen is facing the final season of his curse: if he doesn’t find love within three months, he’ll be left forever in the form of the bloodthirsty beast that overtakes him with each failed courtship. #1 A Curse So Dark and Lonely ★★★★★#2 A Heart So Fierce and Broken ? Harper’s life isn’t easy—her father has left her family with all his debts, her brother is working for the same loan sharks they owe, and her mother is in the final stages of cancer. Meanwhile, in the land of Emberfall, Crown Prince Rhen is facing the final season of his curse: if he doesn’t find love within three months, he’ll be left forever in the form of the bloodthirsty beast that overtakes him with each failed courtship. When the prince’s guard kidnaps Harper for one last shot at breaking the spell, will she choose a dying kingdom, or her family? I love Beauty and the Beast retellings, but we’ve had so many of them that they need a fresh take to catch my eye nowadays, and A Curse So Dark and Lonely absolutely had that to offer. Between the mixture of urban and high fantasy worlds, and the protagonist’s cerebral palsy representation, I’ve been hyped as heck for this release since the synopsis was first announced. In fact, I think I hyped myself up too much for it, because when my copy arrived,it was hard to pick it up right away just thanks to being nervous over how devastated I knew I’d be if it wasn’t amazing! → L I K E S : “You are responsible. You, Rhen. You alone will destroy them all.” Thankfully, every last one of my concerns were TOTALLY unnecessary, because I thought this was flawless. I adored the atmospheric setting, the flawed characters, the representation, and how dark the curse was. Brigid Kemmerer took this classic tale of a prince cursed to live life as a beast, and tossed it into such a heavy, violent spin that I was hooked from the first page. Everything is always the same. Except for the dead. They never come back. Of course, there are the characters, too, who are so lovable despite being ridiculously flawed (or because of that, maybe, because they all feel so complex and multidimensional!). Harper is a phenomenal heroine and I LOVED her CP rep—there are just so many good conversations taking place in this book regarding how the world treats people with disabilities. There is blood under my fingernails. I wonder how many of my people I’ve killed this time. And then, of course, there’s Rhen, who is so angsty and tragic but in the best way, and my favorite, Grey, the guard. Grey was honestly the star of this show for me, between his quick wit, cool demeanor, and neverending loyalty and bravery. Can I please get a book about him, Brigid? Pleeeaaaaase? → F I N A L THOUGHTS : Seriously, though, I just don’t have anything negative to say about this gorgeous fantasy novel. Between the writing, characters, story, rep—it’s the whole package, and easily my favorite work that I’ve read from Brigid Kemmerer so far. I love her contemporary writing, too, but this made me genuinely hope she keeps putting out fantasy releases, because she’s a total natural. → RECOMMENDING TO… : I’d recommend this to any fans of fantasy stories, especially if you enjoy retellings and/or high/low fantasy crossovers!All quotes come from an advance copy and may not match the final release. Thank you so much to Bloomsbury YA for providing me with this ARC in exchange for an honest review!
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  • Korrina (OwlCrate)
    January 1, 1970
    Really unique take on the Beauty and the Beast tale. And I absolutely loved the main character, Harper. Despite this being a really long book, I read it quite quickly because it was engaging and addictive.
  • emma
    January 1, 1970
    if you liked A Court of Thorns and Roses, you will really like this book.I did not like A Court of Thorns and Roses.review 2 come!--------IT'S A BEAUTY AND THE BEAST RETELLING WITH CEREBRAL PALSY REP.i don't care if it's 500 pages long and my midterms are fast approaching, i'm reading it RIGHT NOWthanks to Bloomsbury for the ARC!
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  • Anissa
    January 1, 1970
    It’s 3am and I just finished reading and WOW THIS BOOK IS AMAZING (but tomorrow calls for a lot of coffee - so worth it). I just couldn’t put it down - SO good!
  • chloe ✨
    January 1, 1970
    THAT ENDING THOUGH...I can't wait for the sequel!!!
  • Cait • A Page with a View
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 stars. I was never super engaged in the overall story, but there were so many individual aspects I liked that I'm rounding up. Harper is a teen with cerebral palsy who lives in the DC area. Her mom is dying from cancer, her dad is gone and left them in debt, and her brother's in a lot of sketchy trouble. Meanwhile Prince Rhen in the fantasy kingdom of Emberfall is under a curse where he keeps repeating the autumn of his 18th birthday until he can get one of the women his commander kidnaps to 3.5 stars. I was never super engaged in the overall story, but there were so many individual aspects I liked that I'm rounding up. Harper is a teen with cerebral palsy who lives in the DC area. Her mom is dying from cancer, her dad is gone and left them in debt, and her brother's in a lot of sketchy trouble. Meanwhile Prince Rhen in the fantasy kingdom of Emberfall is under a curse where he keeps repeating the autumn of his 18th birthday until he can get one of the women his commander kidnaps to fall in love with him. He's been through hundreds of women (only some died) and time outside of his enchanted castle keeps moving... so obviously he hasn't been the best ruler. He also occasionally turns into a beast and terrorizes his people. Now in his final season Rhen barely has a kingdom left to rule and there are threats from other countries looming...One day Harper seems Rhen's commander kidnapping a woman in DC, so she intervenes and is taken instead. In Emberfall she becomes the princess of DiST (DC), helps Rhen to learn to care for his people, and faces the enchantress who placed the curse.I adore fairy tale retellings and thought this had a lot of strong connections and clever additions! The story expands to include a war and more political events. The enchantress is also a much more central villain. I really didn't see the romance happening at first, but by 60% the story was totally working. Harper's character was probably the main reason I kept reading. She was a fierce, competent, caring main character who really drove the story. Plus, it was just so wonderful to see a MC in a fantasy world who had cerebral palsy, yet was never defined by it. Rhen also never treated her like she couldn't do something. I can't speak for the CP rep, but thought the author's note in the back was really well done. Oh, and I was way more interested in the commander's character than Rhen, so I'm hoping he gets some kind of companion novel...Anyways, the writing seemed a bit stilted at times and I never really got pulled into the story, BUT I also know that I just have a really hard time getting into a first person present tense. Soooo my lack of overall enthusiasm could very well be because of that. This was still a strong & unique retelling with a great main character! (It did feel a bit on the younger side of YA fantasy if that helps).Thank you to the publisher for sending me an ARC.
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  • melissafandomworld
    January 1, 1970
    HOLY BGJDHBFGHJBDFGH... this book is fantastic! Where have you been all my life? This is how you write re-tellings folks! *be prepared, this is going to be a long review, LOLSince there are already so many BatB re-tellings out there, I'm always a bit skittish to start a new one even though I love them in general. But a lot of them aren't really original and surprising anymore, to be honest. a Curse so Dark and Lonely is one of the few who hit all the right checkboxes for me though! It's original HOLY BGJDHBFGHJBDFGH... this book is fantastic! Where have you been all my life? This is how you write re-tellings folks! *be prepared, this is going to be a long review, LOLSince there are already so many BatB re-tellings out there, I'm always a bit skittish to start a new one even though I love them in general. But a lot of them aren't really original and surprising anymore, to be honest. a Curse so Dark and Lonely is one of the few who hit all the right checkboxes for me though! It's original and surprising, entertaining, enthralling, addictive and magical. I couldn't have wished for more awesomeness. This was everything I hoped it'd be and MORE and I'm certain this book is going to get HYPED real fast when it releases in January 2019 - MARK YOUR CALENDERS and PREORDER this baby.Let me start by saying that Brigid Kemmer has some real writing skills (This is the first book I've read by her) Her writing is incredibly addictive right from the start. Everything just 'clicks' for me in this one, you know? There's a really interesting and sometimes mysterious story-line, the world building and the settings are so vividly written. I loved exploring this world and seeing some politics added to it as well at some point. And then there's also the set of characters; it's magnificent and I really mean MAGNIFICENT. Loved them all so so much. They're so well developed and likable and they all are such great additions to this story. There is blood under my fingernails. I wonder how many of my people I've killed this time Story-wise there are elements present that are similar to the known BatB story; There's a prince, a curse that has to be broken by love and a Beast/Monster. But boy o boy, it's so much more than thas as well! The author was able to write a unique story-line using these known elements and made it HER OWN and I couldn't love it more! There's politics, there are more settings aside from the castle and we really venture out into this world that's called Emberfall. We meet locals and we come across some really kick-ass fighting scenes that have you on the edge of your seat. This book screams girl power in the best ways possible - but don't you worry: there's enough opportunity as well for Prince Charming to come swooping in and save the day *wink* and leave us a blubbering mess of swooning fangirl. some more Story-line talkHarper gets thrown into this magical world -kidnapped really - and ends up in a magical castle where's only a prince and his commander present instead of filled to the brim with people bustling around as you'd expect to find. She learns of a curse that has to be broken by love but has no interest in it and the role she's supposed to play whatsoever. She only wants to escape and get back to her mother and brother in her own world. Her mother who's dying and her brother who ended up in a really bad place because he needs money to pay the medical bills for their mother...For prince Rhen, the cursed one, this is his last chance of redemption, of breaking the curse. The last season in which he has to make a girl fall in love with him before he'll turn into a Beast forever and roam the lands killing people. He's lost everything over the years; his family, his kingdom and he's bound to lose the last thing he's got left; his friendship with Grey and his life. At this point, he's not even sure he wants to live anymore though. His time is a Beast and the things he's done because of that haunt him, but Harper is unlike any other girl he has come across. She will antagonize him, surprise him, impress him. She makes him think about things outside of his curse and if there's actually a possibility of him breaking it in this last season. That could be dangerous but he's got nothing to lose. The stakes are high this time because the end is near and he finds himself opening up to Harper more and more. But he can't seem to catch a break when there's an enchantress who's sole purpose is to torture him every chance she gets. There's a war looming, coming from another country and Rhen has to fight not only trying to break the curse but to save his people, his kingdom, even if he's destined to not be in it any more in the nearby future. This story of being cursed, a kingdom on the break of war, friendship, love and finding redemption is heartbreakingly beautiful and I loved reading every second of it! I sigh. I'm so tired of this. One last season. I throw the chipped glass into the fireplace. It shatters into a thousand sparks that flare and die. "I will dress for dinner. Let us play this game one last time." More character talkI mean... our heroine Harper is GIRL CRUSH MATERIAL I tell you! She is amazing. I haven't read a book in a while with such a beautifully strong female lead written into it. Her character was written so flawlessly I think. Her having cerebral palsy makes me respect - and being in awe of her - even more because she's so inspiring and (head)strong. She's feisty and definitely no damsel in distress, so I was a huge fan of hers right from the start given how she stands up for others and is willing to fight for them. I love the way she kicks ass and how she's always able to surprise everyone around her by doing things they think are impossible for her to do. She's one hell of an underestimated character and that makes her really impressing, whoop whoop! "What Lilith is doing to you is wrong, Harper says. I hope she does come here. I hope she comes to this room. Because I don't care what I have to do. I'm going to end her. Rhen... our prince and 'Beast' was such an intriguing and mysterious character and I couldn't get enough of him. He's definitely a prince charming when he wants to be - LE SIGH - but he also has a darker side to him - aside from being the Beast I mean. He's mentally not always in a right place, which I can totally understand seeing what he went through and has done so over the years - not willingly - when being the Beast, and I just really liked reading about his 'darker' side. He's not this flawless and perfect character you come across so often and that makes him so freaking fantastic and loveable as one of our leads. I clench my jaw. I once thought the monstrous destruction was the worst part of the curse, but I've long since learned that it's not. It's this, the repeated humiliation and punishment. The powerlessness to reclaim what is mine. Being forced to watch as every dignity is stripped away. And not Rhen alone is one character you're destined to fall in love with. Noooo Sir. There's Grey, his Guardsman/Commander and friend really, who's been beside him from before the Curse was casted. And he was such a fantastic addition to this book. He provided for a lot more depth in a lot of scenes and I loved how these three characters formed this strong bond with one another. (the story is being told from Rhen and Harper's POV but Grey is definitely present enough to be mentioned as being another lead character I think) There'll be some more minor characters along the way whom are being introduced and they all fit in perfectly with the story. The author did an amazing job of creating a set of characters that's diverse and interesting and loveable. I can gush about all of them forever.Romance talkThere's a romance present of course and I was so curious and scared at the same time to read about it, since it's so hard to write refreshing ones. But even though there's this whole 'break the curse by love' thing going on, and you think you've seen it all already, the romance really isn't Too much and just in such beautiful balance with everything else. It's progression is steady-paced and it's really well-developed and believable which made me so excited! I gobbled it all up and couldn't get enough of it! The romance is just enough to have all the romance-lovers out there hooked and not too much to have the readers who don't like romance as much, feeling overwhelmed. It's just the right amount of romance in contrast to the story and it's development. For one brief moment, I forgot the curse. I forgot that she is not some simple girl who sparks intrigue with every other word from her tongue. And for one brief moment, I remembered. I remembered what it was like to want to touch a girl, not as part of a carefully planned seduction designed to lure her into breaking this curse.ConclusionWhere to start when summarizing this story? Not possible. There's so much to fangirl about, because that's what I've really been doing here, lol. This is a BatB retelling like you've never seen before and I mean that in the best way possible. This is a story that makes you swoon, ache, cry, love, fall apart at the seems and it makes you crave more when finished. Like I said before; This was everything I'd hoped it'd be and more... I can't recommend this book enough and I hope you'll be swept away by this amazing story just as I was and still am. This was never a curse to be broken. This is a death sentence. The true curse has been the thought that we might find escape. *I am so very thankful to the publisher for sending me an arc of this book. This was one of my most highly anticipated 2019 releases and I count myself so lucky that I was able to review it in exchange for leaving an honest review. I am so Happy that this book turned out to exceed my expectations!
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  • Brigid
    January 1, 1970
    For tour details and a preorder campaign, click here: http://www.brigidkemmerer.com/books/a...For an excerpt from the story, click here: https://happyeverafter.usatoday.com/2...
  • Alana • thebookishchick
    January 1, 1970
    "They believe her limp is the result of a war injury, but Harper is quick to correct them."I was born this way," she'll snap, "and I'm going to die this way, so teach me to work around it." They love her for it."Thank you to Bloomsbury for kindly providing me with and ARC in exchange for an honest review.If you're looking for a 2019 release book with a WHOLE lot of of ACOTAR vibes then look no further. I am a huge fan of Brigid Kemmerer's work so I immediately knew upon hearing about this book t "They believe her limp is the result of a war injury, but Harper is quick to correct them."I was born this way," she'll snap, "and I'm going to die this way, so teach me to work around it." They love her for it."Thank you to Bloomsbury for kindly providing me with and ARC in exchange for an honest review.If you're looking for a 2019 release book with a WHOLE lot of of ACOTAR vibes then look no further. I am a huge fan of Brigid Kemmerer's work so I immediately knew upon hearing about this book that I needed it. However, when I found out this was a Beauty and the Beast retelling I groveled for this book, so I really can't thank Bloomsbury enough for sending me an ARC of this! Hands down, this is my favorite Beauty and the Beast retelling I've read, and even though I've heard the story and seen the movie a thousand times this managed to bring back ALL THE FEELS but feel so incredibly new at the same time.For starters, our MC Harper (a.k.a the Belle of this story), has cerebral palsy, and Harper never let's her disability define who she is (hence my favorite quote from the entire book at the top of my review). In fact, she owns it and embraces it like a complete boss and refuses to let it slow her down. I completely understand that Harper's case of cerebral palsy is on the high-functioning side but it was completely new to me as I've never read a story with that kind of representation before. Our tortured prince Rhen (a.k.a the Beast), brings back all the feels from the original Beauty and the Beast. However, Rhen remains human until his curse is almost over and then turns into his beast form killing everyone and everything in his path, unless Harper can break the curse.The second thing that makes this story unique is that when Harper and Rhen's world's collide it's two different time periods meshing together. Which absolutely means, you are going to get all the funny moments of Rhen trying to understand things like what a cell phone is and what Washington D.C. or as Rhen calls is, Disi, is like. When Harper gets dragged to Emberfall she has A LOT going on back home and ultimately will have to decide if she wants to save Rhen's kingdom or go back home and try to save her family. It's sure to tug on your heartstrings. Plus, we get an evil sorceress who is just The Worst and Grey, the loyalist, softest boy to ever bless my heart. Both of these characters continue to make the story a thousand times better.And just in case you're worried you won't be able to get enough of this world or these characters in one book, fear not! There is another book, you'll just have to wait a year for it and suffer with the rest of us who have a thousand and one questions about what the hell is going to happen. I am absolutely stoked for the next book and you can already bet I will grovel for that one was well.Favorite Quotes “I am always surprised to discover that when the world seems darkest, there exists the greatest opportunity for light.” “We are not always presented with the choices we want, but choices exist nonetheless.” "Failure isn't absolute. Just because you couldn't save everyone doesn't mean you didn't save anyone." "It's not my first scar, Rhen. I wasn't perfect before. I'll get over it." All in all, if you love tortured princes, fierce leading ladies, loyal sidekicks, enchanting world building, and plenty of plot twists then A Curse So Dark and Lonely is sure to sweep you off your feet!Blog | Twitter | Instagram
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  • Alexandra Christo
    January 1, 1970
    Brigid is a genius and you are all in for a bloody TREAT.
  • Chelsea ❤Peril Please❤
    January 1, 1970
    RELEASED TODAY!!!!! Run, don’t walk, to get this one!! :))*ARC Provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review* Rhen puts his hands on my arms and leans in. When he speaks, his voice is very low, very quiet, just for me. “My father is dead, my lady. My whole family is dead.” He pulls back, meeting my gaze, but his voice doesn’t change. “That monster killed them all.” This book is everything I knew I wanted and needed in my life. And, also, this book is everything I didn’t know I wanted a RELEASED TODAY!!!!! Run, don’t walk, to get this one!! :))*ARC Provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review* Rhen puts his hands on my arms and leans in. When he speaks, his voice is very low, very quiet, just for me. “My father is dead, my lady. My whole family is dead.” He pulls back, meeting my gaze, but his voice doesn’t change. “That monster killed them all.” This book is everything I knew I wanted and needed in my life. And, also, this book is everything I didn’t know I wanted and needed in my life. Yes, it’s a Beauty and the Beast re-telling (the most used and, in my opinion, most successful Fairy Tale retelling) but it was far different than anything I could have hoped for or anticipated. This is the most reckless thing I’ve ever done.Wait. No. The most reckless thing I’ve ever done was attack a guy on the street with a tire iron. So I guess this is fine. In many ways I did long for the more traditional approach, such as hanging out in the castle together, etc., but, from what I can tell, the author was trying to accomplish something far greater for our two heroes and I think it would have came off as boring, comparatively. Now, that doesn’t mean I didn’t want them to have more time together, because I felt that, sometimes, we lacked that. But, as a whole, this book made my feels go crazy and I was on the edge of my seat the entire story. This feels like the cruelest season of all, to present me with a girl with the fierceness to stand at my side—yet with a home and family she needs to return to so badly. Every moment was just so beyond addicting, such as it always is with Kemmerer’s writing, but there was something just so cool about her writing a fantasy-a fairy-tale retelling from the woman who creates the most deliciously tortured male leads, like, ever. Declan is a BBF I will NEVER forget, and now Rhen is way up there for me, as well. He was just so alone. My poor lonely soul *tear*. I give her a nod and turn for the door. “Rhen,” she calls after me. I pause in the doorway and face her. “I’m not going to fall in love with you,” she says. Her words are not a surprise. I sigh. “You won’t be the first.” And the dynamics between Rhen, Grey, and Harper? Oh my gosh, words cannot even describe how strongly I fell for this trio. My heart, my soul, and my entire being longed for this story to never end because there could never be enough of their story. For real, though-my biggest complaint with this story??? I. NEEDED. MORE. More Rhen and Harper. More Rhen and Grey. More Grey and Harper. More. More. MOAR. I cannot stress that fact enough-I’m starting another book tonight, but my heart remains with these characters, this curse, and the love that might or might not have blossomed between Rhen and Harper. And this is really hard for me to talk about, because I don’t want to spoil anything…so I can’t say why I wanted more. It just….I need it. Rhen has made it to his feet. “You cannot harm her,” he says. “You swore.” “I swore not to kill them,” Lilith says. “I swore not to interfere with your attempts at courtship.” She steps closer to me. “That,” she says, “is all I swore.” And can we talk about that torturous storyline? I’m not exaggerating. I absolutely ADORED when Lilith (I hate her but loved what she brought to the table) came around to bother Rhen. Many of you will call me a sicko, but I was a sucker for the struggles Rhen faced and how Lilith tested his limits and went over his boundaries. There’s something about a character in the worst moments of their life that make a story more candid-and I lived for these moments…for better or worse. And why couldn’t I have gotten that oneeee thingggg I realllyyyyyyyy wanted at the end?! GRR. I kind of did…but it was toned down and boo. I stay close to Rhen and keep my voice low. “Do people always do everything you want?“Not always.” He turns to look at me, his expression inscrutable. “Clearly.” I’ll leave most of the story alone so as not to spoil it, but I want to draw the comparisons between the Fairytale and this book, because I actually found them wonderful. Rhen was the beast, obviously. Grey, I believe, was Lumiere. Lilith had to be a mix of the witch/the mirror. Harper’s brother and mother were Belle’s life (the mother was the father in this case, but she had a true sickness, she wasn’t mad as they said the father was). There was dancing! Adorable. Harper was clearly Belle (I know, Captain Obvious), and the curse was the same-to find true love to break the curse….but with a HUGE, nasty twist for poor Rhen: Instead of being a beast full-time, at the end of every failed season, he turns into a beast (a different one every time) that ravages those around him and all his people, only to come to after the fact with blood staining his clothes and hands…and everything resets for the next season. Rinse. Repeat. For eternity. Yikes. But no library. That sucked haha.This story was about Harper making him see what he can do to save his people. It was about finding who you were meant to be, no matter the cost, and it was about a Prince who never could find true love…until a girl called him on his games and demanded more. Sincerity. Love. Kindness. This early in the season, the other girls would sit by the hearth and gaze at me over crystal goblets, while I’d pour wine and tell stories with just enough devilishness to make them blush. If I put a crystal goblet in this one’s hand, she’d likely smash it and use the shards to cut me. I loved this book. So much. Is that not clear? There were a few moments that got to me, though, and the one that sticks out the most is this trigger: (view spoiler)[Lilith forces him to see a flashback of what one of his beasts did…to a CHILD. Ripped apart. Mother wailing. What is it with my luck with that stuff lately?? (hide spoiler)] And that was the only specific moment it showed-what purpose did this serve? To make me madder? Well, it succeeded. Other than that, I loved what Rhen had to go through, but that bothered me. A sound chokes out of my throat. I want to weep for an entirely new reason. The burning pain has reached my head, and my eyes begin to cloud with stars. “You are responsible,” she says, her terrible voice fading away. “You, Rhen. You alone will destroy them all.” I sometimes thought that Grey and Harper’s relationship got more time developing than her and Rhen’s…and I’m not sure that was ever not true. But his relationship with Rhen was also a big part of the story, and it just showed how truly wonderful Grey was in every way-he was such a comedic relief that I lapped up in every moment. I wondered if this was going to be a love triangle…and it wasn’t? As time passed nothing arose that worried me in that way, but, in the end, I was thinking-so…was I right?? Did he like her?? That was a bit odd, as well, I will say. And I fear people will say she had more chemistry with Grey, but I am ride or die for Rhen and Harper and it didn’t effect me one bit-I just know how fickle we readers are and I fear this is a reaction I will see from many of my friends or other reviewers. I’ll deny them wholeheartedly, of course, but that doesn’t make it true for anyone other than me. I step closer, until her skirts brush my legs, and I rest a hand on her waist. “I am inviting you to dance, not dragging you behind a horse.” I sigh dramatically. “Must you look so tortured?” Okay. This review was not what I wanted it to be at all-this is in part because I wrote my review at work and people kept interrupting me and it made me severely scatter-brained…and partly because I am a bit confused on my feelings toward the end. I. WANTED. MORE. Lol. Clearly. And this is totally Rhen-Sorry not sorry. **********Okay. Okay. So....I pos-i-tute-ly LOVED THIS....but that end??? Like-I don't-What? Tell me there's more? Because my thirst cannot be quenched when it comes to my baby Prince Rhen and my baby Grey!!!!!!!!!! I NEED MORE!RTC.
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  • Sophie Elaina
    January 1, 1970
    A Curse So Dark And Lonely is a reimagining of the classic Beauty and the Beast with much darker themes. In this novel the 'beast' is forced to live the same Autumn season over and over, each time a new girl is stolen away to the court and held as prisoner in hopes of breaking the curse. And each time more and more chaos and bloodshed ensues. I was intrigued to find out that this is set in modern times. Where 'the belles' are taken from our world and taken to another land. The protagonist Harper A Curse So Dark And Lonely is a reimagining of the classic Beauty and the Beast with much darker themes. In this novel the 'beast' is forced to live the same Autumn season over and over, each time a new girl is stolen away to the court and held as prisoner in hopes of breaking the curse. And each time more and more chaos and bloodshed ensues. I was intrigued to find out that this is set in modern times. Where 'the belles' are taken from our world and taken to another land. The protagonist Harper is from the states, DC to be precise, and comes from a hard life, where she helps her brother care for her sick mother. Harper also has Cerebral Palsy, which is amazing representation in itself, however there is even more wide representation in terms of the characters sexuality and race. For example Harper's brother Jake is gay and has the most wonderful relationship with his boyfriend. I can't speak for how well done the representation is specifically because I can't personally relate to these circumstances, however from what I've read in this book I would say that I think the author took care in making sure everything was written delicately and also truthfully. 'We are not always presented with the choices we want, but choices exist nonetheless.'We have multiple perspectives weaved into the novel, and our other protagonist is obviously 'the beast', which I loved because most retellings I've read in the past don't delve so much in to the beasts thoughts and emotions. This took the story to a whole new level and I loved Rhen's point of view. Each season Rhen starts off physically as the man he always used to be and slowly progresses into a different form of monster, losing all humanity and killing anything that gets in his path. In addition I adored this very unique and much darker take on the tale and thought the author did an excellent job at bringing it to life.The only problem I really had with this was that at times the writing seemed slow and at certain points overly drawn out, however I do see how this made the plot seem much more well developed and put together in the long run. And the action and faster pace in the second half of the book certainly made up for this.I loved how the romance in this is so realistic and well done, again it felt like such a unique take on the original tale. I believe there is going to be a sequel and if that's the case I'm very excited to see how Kemmerer continues to develop the relationship further and drives forward the story from where it leaves off at the end of this book.Overall I loved this unique take on one of my favourite stories and am thrilled to say that I'll continue reading whatever Brigid Kemmerer puts out because she constantly makes me fall in love with her characters and she can without a doubt write fantasy just as well if not even better than she can write contemporary! Content warnings: Abduction, death, murder, gore, torture, abuse, attempted sexual assault, sexual assault, talks of suicide, cancer, and ableist comments. (All of these things in my opinion are addressed well and confronted in the story, but please do be aware that these are present themes going into this book.) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐(All quotes are subject to change upon publication)Thank you to NetGalley and Bloomsbury UK for giving me the chance to read an early copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Sophie
    January 1, 1970
    5 compelling retelling stars! I fell in love with Brigid Kemmerer’s stories this year after I read Letters to the Lost. The moment I saw this book was about to be published in a few months I asked for it and crossed my fingers.I couldn’t thank Bloomsbury Publishing enough for granting my wish!But you know what they say when you have great expectations, they can be deceitful…A Curse so Dark and Lonely certainly did not disappoint me in the least!Brigid Kemmerer wrote a dark, uncompromising yet f 5 compelling retelling stars! I fell in love with Brigid Kemmerer’s stories this year after I read Letters to the Lost. The moment I saw this book was about to be published in a few months I asked for it and crossed my fingers.I couldn’t thank Bloomsbury Publishing enough for granting my wish!But you know what they say when you have great expectations, they can be deceitful…A Curse so Dark and Lonely certainly did not disappoint me in the least!Brigid Kemmerer wrote a dark, uncompromising yet fantastic tale that reminds me of the series Once Upon a Time as we have two parallel universes. One having a medieval feel and another being our modern world. I won't say much about the plot as I don't want to spoil your fun but when I read these opening lines :"There is blood under my fingernails. I wonder how many of my people I've killed this time" I was all "Wow! That's terrifying and horrifying and not what I expected and....give me more of it!"I was hooked from the beginning. Sold to this twisted story where a scary commander with an unreadable face kidnapped girls in the hope of breaking the curse befallen on his at that time arrogant, entitled and foolish prince. It had me fall head over heels in love with Harper, Rhen and Grey’s story! The title of the book could not have been chosen better! A Curse so Dark and Lonely is a modern/fantasy retelling of the Beauty and the Beast but is certainly not some rosy fairy tale!Forget gentle beasts who has never killed.It IS dark. You have gore, slaughter, eviscerating ...the beast is a beast. An angry monster ready to kill everyone strangers and friends alike.Characters are also feeling lonely for a long time now. Not only the cursed prince of Emberfall, Rhen is feeling lonely and desperate but Commander Gray as well. They both lived this curse for 300 seasons now and live in an empty castle isolated from the rest of the Kingdom in its own seasons.Rhen is crumpling under the weight of guilt, of what he’s done for countless times. Yet the evil enchantress ensured he could never escape this curse except in finding true love.Harper was the girl neither prince Rhen neither Commander Grey expected! She did not meet any of their criteria.Born with cerebral palsy she fought all her life to work around her handicap. Courageous, determined, fierce she refused to let it cripple her life and determine who she was! I loved that Brigid Kemmerer chose a “flawed” heroine, one born with bad cards yet who managed through sheer determination to raise above her handicap and accomplish extraordinary things.Harper was not only brave but also extremely generous and wore her heart on her sleeve.Life had been hard on more than one way on her and she learned not to trust easily and to call it rubbish when it was.She was the least classic fairy tale princess from all the "chosen" girls yet she could not have been better suited for the role! When she meets commander Gray she fights! He may be a seasoned warrior and her an untrained handicapped girl she will be fierce and resourceful! The same can be said with Rhen! He won't be the boss of her and the prince will be disconcerted with this daring girl! “Am I supposed to call you Your Highness now?” “Only if you can do it without such contempt.” Yet if she mistrusts Grey and Rhen *of course she does not trust them, they kidnapped her* she does not hesitate to brave danger and death to save innocent women and children. Earning Rhen and Grey's admiration and respect.I loved everything in this book! -the characters of course (see above);-the way the characters developed and evolved. They became what they were meant to be, a better version of themselves. Rhen went from arrogant and distant to loving and ready to fight for his people. Because let’s face Rhen really was a jackass and spoiled pompous prince before Lilith cursed him!I am not saying he deserved to be cursed but I wouldn’t have minded a good “beating some sense into him” and “learn your manners young boy!” if I had met her pre-curse. Honestly if he had stayed the same man he was before being cursed I would never have liked this story as much as I did. But he did learn some humility and kindness the hard way.Harper also bloomed in this story. All her life she’s been seen as fragile and in need of being protected by her big brother Jack. Here she became so much more as she took the lead and acted to protect other’s lives. She learnt to be in charge and that she was strong and resourceful.-the writing was excellent, flowed effortlessly. I also really loved Brigid Kemmerer’s choice to narrate a harsh story far from the conventional sugary tale. It made fro a much more realistic story as life is not a bed of roses indeed;-the ending was so Brigid Kemmerer and I won’t say more about it. Recommend it? Absolutely!  Have you read this book or one of Brigid Kemmerer's? Thanks for reading! Sophie
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  • Candace Robinson
    January 1, 1970
    So, I've read quite a few Beauty and the Beast retellings. I did like this one, but I wasn't fist pumping. My main problem came with Harper... She was just soooo... I don't know! I feel like a lot of times authors have the guys all lovable and then the girls are just hard to like. I did like that Harper was strong despite her cerebral palsy, and she did get more likable as the story went on, but it took a while. Also a lot of you may not know this movie, but if you've ever seen Mom and Dad Save So, I've read quite a few Beauty and the Beast retellings. I did like this one, but I wasn't fist pumping. My main problem came with Harper... She was just soooo... I don't know! I feel like a lot of times authors have the guys all lovable and then the girls are just hard to like. I did like that Harper was strong despite her cerebral palsy, and she did get more likable as the story went on, but it took a while. Also a lot of you may not know this movie, but if you've ever seen Mom and Dad Save the World from the early 90s, it was about these parents that go to this new planet. On the planet the people there were basically morons (If you've seen that movie you get like a 1,000 cool points). I felt like the people in Emberfall were kind of like that—they just believed these words coming from Harper, a girl they never heard of, and just all of a sudden accepted that there is another land known as Disi. I just wish they wouldn't have been so gullible, I guess. I would have been like well then show me this place!Rhen's chapters were perfection! Loved getting to know him and seeing how the curse had affected and changed him. What I would have loved to have seen is a flashback chapter or few pages of how the curse came to him. Yes, we hear about it, but I wanted to seeeeeeeeeee it!The descriptions were great with lovely word building and writing. And like I said, Rhen was swoon! Grey was a great addition as a side character. He was fierce, protective, and sweet. And I want to learn even more about him. There were several things I predicted along the way which I'm happy when I'm right! And the book isn't a stand alone like I had originally thought, but that's okay. I just hope things go the way I want them to and not in the way I'm dreading they could go. If you want to know what I'm talking about you'll have to read it! I need book two now to get more of this story!!
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  • Inge
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 starsI am an absolute whore for anything Beauty & the Beast so I've been lusting after this book for a while now. Still can't believe I was given a review copy, squee!A Curse So Dark and Lonely is a very strong book throughout. The main character has cerebral palsy and is overall an A+ badass who doesn't take crap from anyone, not even a Crown Prince. Her relationships with Rhen and his guardsman Grey were developed realistically. A story like this does need a slow burning romance becaus 3.5 starsI am an absolute whore for anything Beauty & the Beast so I've been lusting after this book for a while now. Still can't believe I was given a review copy, squee!A Curse So Dark and Lonely is a very strong book throughout. The main character has cerebral palsy and is overall an A+ badass who doesn't take crap from anyone, not even a Crown Prince. Her relationships with Rhen and his guardsman Grey were developed realistically. A story like this does need a slow burning romance because it's morally grey at best and Stockholm Syndrome at worst, and I felt like that was done well.Aside from her love interest possibly turning into a homicidal beast, there is also the looming threat of war, which really raised the stakes and made it more exciting.This book is 500 pages long and sometimes that definitely shows. There were times when it got repetitive, and especially the evil enchantress Lilith added nothing for me (and I love my villains). She basically curses him for a century because he did the medieval equivalent of sleeping with her and not calling her back and I couldn't roll my eyes hard enough.But while I never fell in love with this book, it was still a really solid retelling, and I (mostly) enjoyed it all the way through. Also may become a series? Possibly intriguing.Thank you to NetGalley and Bloomsbury for providing me with a copy
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  • Sabrina The Trash Queen
    January 1, 1970
    I read the excerpt of the first chapter and absolutely loved it.It seem like a fun read. And I’m all in for it. 2018-2019 is the years of releases. :)
  • Julie Zantopoulos
    January 1, 1970
    I was able to buddy read the arc of this with my amazing bookish friends, and like always, I read ahead and finished way early. This was supposed to be a five-day read and I finished in two because the plot and pace were so quick; I just couldn't put it down. This is a much more direct Beauty and the Beast retelling than I originally thought it would be but I really enjoyed that because, well, I love Beauty and the Beast. I adored Harper as a main character, was frustrated by Rhen (as I think we I was able to buddy read the arc of this with my amazing bookish friends, and like always, I read ahead and finished way early. This was supposed to be a five-day read and I finished in two because the plot and pace were so quick; I just couldn't put it down. This is a much more direct Beauty and the Beast retelling than I originally thought it would be but I really enjoyed that because, well, I love Beauty and the Beast. I adored Harper as a main character, was frustrated by Rhen (as I think we were supposed to be) and adored Grey (also, as I think we were supposed to). Harper as a strong female lead who happens to have cerebral palsy was fantastic. I loved that she was clear about what caused it, how it influenced her childhood and growing up (therapy, surgeries, etc), and what it means for her as an adult. She's thrown into a bit of a shit show and she does fantastic not in spite of her disability but sometimes because of it. Anyway, she's kinda awesome and I loved her. With any Beauty and the Beast retelling you have to resign yourself to the fact that our "beast"or prince is a jerk face a good bit of the time. He's a spoiled kid who never grew up and is self-absorbed. Well, Rhen proves to be really sensitive, and caring, and deep...tortured and hopeful for change...in time. But man he's a pain in the butt until you get to that growth. That's to be expected so it didn't annoy me much. I will say that some of the emotional pulls for Harper's family kinda missed the mark for me. We just didn't get to know them enough, or get to know Harper pre-meeting Rhen and Grey, to get invested in their storyline. So, I wasn't too invested in her getting home to them. There was also some eye-rolling at technology in Emberfall and how Grey pretended to be like "wait, it does that?" when he must have seen it before in his travels. ...so yeah. Overall, it was a fast, fun, and interesting story. I will for sure be reading the second book (not sure if there's more after that but it's definitely not a standalone).
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  • ambsreads
    January 1, 1970
    so...that was overhyped this was incredibly flat. the whole story was one dimensional and predictable. i expected so much more and it just didn’t deliver in the slightest. full review to come closer to release
  • TL
    January 1, 1970
    Started off great... I loved Harper, Grey, and Rhen (love to hate Lillith) and the world she created with Emberfall. The way she did the curse I thought was creative, and I liked that it took awhile for Harper to trust Rhen.The final twist was something I didn't expect so I give the author points for surprising me with that one. However, I got BookFatigue after the halfway point... the fighting and everything was well done and I was on the edge of my seat a few times. But it felt overlong and dr Started off great... I loved Harper, Grey, and Rhen (love to hate Lillith) and the world she created with Emberfall. The way she did the curse I thought was creative, and I liked that it took awhile for Harper to trust Rhen.The final twist was something I didn't expect so I give the author points for surprising me with that one. However, I got BookFatigue after the halfway point... the fighting and everything was well done and I was on the edge of my seat a few times. But it felt overlong and dragged out after awhile... found myself bored a few times even though the plot and the writing didn't suffer.Won't be continuing with the series but not sorry I read it.Side note: I could see this being a movie one day.
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  • megs_bookrack
    January 1, 1970
    Preorder placed!! Let the waiting commence...
  • Zainab
    January 1, 1970
    I got my hands on loads of new releases I am EXCITED!
  • Tracy (Cornerfolds)
    January 1, 1970
    Read more of my reviews at Cornerfolds.com!A Curse So Dark and Lonely is a Beauty and the Beast retelling in a bookish world crammed full of Beauty and the Beast retellings. I was a little hesitant, despite my love of both this fairytale as my favorite and retellings as a genre, but I decided to give it a try when I saw a few people talk about its unique take.Our Belle in this retelling is Harper, a girl from DC whose family doesn't have it easy - from loan sharks, to her mom's terminal cancer, Read more of my reviews at Cornerfolds.com!A Curse So Dark and Lonely is a Beauty and the Beast retelling in a bookish world crammed full of Beauty and the Beast retellings. I was a little hesitant, despite my love of both this fairytale as my favorite and retellings as a genre, but I decided to give it a try when I saw a few people talk about its unique take.Our Belle in this retelling is Harper, a girl from DC whose family doesn't have it easy - from loan sharks, to her mom's terminal cancer, to Harper's cerebral palsy, she has faced a lot and has been made stronger because of it. When she's kidnapped from the streets of DC and whisked away into an enchanted castle in a fantasy world called Emberfall, ruled by a cursed prince, Harper finds herself questioning where her loyalties lie.I loved Harper! For me as a reader, there is a fine line between a character being strong and being annoying. I'm glad to say that Harper was on the side of the line that I love to root for! She was tough and inspiring and, although I sometimes found myself frustrated with her hesitation, it was understandable and I never found myself disliking her. I liked that this book showed Harper's cerebral palsy as a part of her and not her defining trait.Rhen is the cursed prince, and the curse is a bit different in this story than in others you've read. This curse turns Rhen into a beast once per season, while he remains his normal princely self the rest of the time. I wasn't quite sure about him at the beginning, but he grew on me throughout the book and I found myself loving him halfway through. It's always interesting to see how authors try to justify their Beast character kidnapping women to make them break the curse. In some, like Hunted by Meagan Spooner, it just comes off as creepy and not at all romantic. In A Curse So Dark and Lonely, though, Rhen and his curse is written in a way that makes his actions, while not completely morally white, at least understandable and his choices are presented as the lesser evil, the best thing he can do for his people. I loved him and I loved the slow burn romance.Of course, I have to mention Grey, the Captain of the Royal Guard, and an absolutely fantastic character. He is loyal to a fault and is a wonderfully complex character who I couldn't get enough of. I loved his dynamic with Harper and the little glimpses we got to see of him outside of his strict military persona. I also enjoyed the other female characters, Freya and Zo, and their very different friendships with Harper.As I've said, this is a very unique take on Beauty and the Beast. It was interesting to see Harper struggle with knowing her family needed her back home, while the people of Emberfall needed her there. I thought that Emberfall was well written and I enjoyed that we got a glimpse into the wider world outside of the castle grounds. While it wasn't always fast-paced, I was never bored and enjoyed the times the characters spent getting to know each other. There were a couple things I did have mixed feelings about, however.The villain Lilith (honestly, Lilith?) was a bit too cartoon-level evil for my taste. While she was amazingly brutal and I did appreciate how vicious she was, I never felt like there was a good explanation for why she cursed Rhen in the first place. I would have liked to have had a better understanding of who she was and why she hated Rhen so much. My other issue is with the ending. I loved the romance and how it progressed to that point, but the ending really didn't sit well with me. Grey also had an epilogue that I could have done without, which left the series open ended. This book has all the makings of a fantastic standalone, but I have the feeling it's going to get dragged out into a series.I loved the characters in this book and I loved their journey together! My heart was broken so many times for them both and I love when a story can make me feel emotions like this one did. A Curse So Dark and Lonely did so many things right that I hate to even discuss what it did wrong, but alas. This isn't a perfect book, with its over the top villain and not-quite-satisfying ending, but I still loved it and would definitely recommend it to other fantasy lovers!Actual rating: 4.5 stars
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  • Melanie (TBR and Beyond)
    January 1, 1970
    I’m completely in love with this book. It’s gives me all those good, fun vibes of ACOTAR, while being completely different from that book. This is the Beauty and the Beast retelling that I’ve been waiting for.Let me just start by saying that I know some of you are going to groan at the idea of another Beauty and the Beast retelling and believe me, I totally feel that too; however, somehow A Curse So Dark and Lonely manages to feel like something fresh and new and I was living for it. First of al I’m completely in love with this book. It’s gives me all those good, fun vibes of ACOTAR, while being completely different from that book. This is the Beauty and the Beast retelling that I’ve been waiting for.Let me just start by saying that I know some of you are going to groan at the idea of another Beauty and the Beast retelling and believe me, I totally feel that too; however, somehow A Curse So Dark and Lonely manages to feel like something fresh and new and I was living for it. First of all, this is a modern take on the tale – mixed with a more traditional take.First thing that got me really excited about this book was that it’s a fantasy with disability representation, yes – you heard that right! Our main heroin Harper has Cerebral Palsy, which makes one of her legs drag behind her frequently. I don’t know enough about Cerebral Palsy to say whether or not I felt it was good rep but I did really appreciate that it didn’t just feel thrown in there. She was never held back necessarily due to her leg, but it gave her trouble all the time and there were times she knew she had to rest because she was exhausted. Harper ends up getting kidnapped and being dragged to this other world, which happens to have our beast in it. I won’t get into any great details about the beast and the curse because it’s much more fun watching it pan out.Rhen and Grey are the men Harper “meets” the moment she is taken in their world and I came to fall in love with both these men by the end of it. I will admit that I wanted to bonk Rhen over the head a few times for being insanely frustrating – I still couldn’t bring myself to fully hate the man. Grey, I was madly in love with from the start. I guess I’m a sucker for a man in uniform – what can I say?A Curse so Dark and Lonely does have a large element of romance mixed into it, but I personally loved that. It will likely turn some readers off but I actually thought this romance only lent to the story, not distracted it from. The only real complaint I have about this story, and it wasn’t even enough for me to take points off the ratings is I thought the villain was a little boring and cliche. I would’ve liked there to be more meat to her character but it didn’t ruin anything for me either.This book is almost 500 pages long but don’t let that send you running in the other direction. The print is bigger and the story is very easy to read, so you’ll get through it in no time. Even though the world and characters do get developed – there is no complicated magic system or political system to learn.I thoroughly enjoyed this read, I just had such a fun time with it. I gave it five stars based on enjoyment alone. I hope you all give it a try and enjoy it even half as much as I did.Thank you Bloomsbury. ARC provided in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Mlpmom (Book Reviewer)
    January 1, 1970
    So freaking good, I couldn't put it down! Full review to come closer to release date!*EDITED TO ADD REVIEW*I adore Brigid Kemmerer's writing. She always has a unique flare unlike any other in any genre or sub-genre she writes and that makes her one of my most anticipated authors for each new release.When I saw a twist on a classic fairytale we have all heard and many, me included, love, I was All. In. This was so riveting. I was hooked from the very first dark chapter and was eager to know more So freaking good, I couldn't put it down! Full review to come closer to release date!*EDITED TO ADD REVIEW*I adore Brigid Kemmerer's writing. She always has a unique flare unlike any other in any genre or sub-genre she writes and that makes her one of my most anticipated authors for each new release.When I saw a twist on a classic fairytale we have all heard and many, me included, love, I was All. In. This was so riveting. I was hooked from the very first dark chapter and was eager to know more as the story and the tale slowly unfolded. I loved Emberfall! The mystery, the legends, the lore, the curse. So dark and delicious and yet so alluring. I truly couldn't get enough. And let's talk about that ending! I am so very excited that this tale, this story, isn't over. That we will be getting a sequel and from one of my most favorite characters no less. I truly am so pleased with the way Kemmerer twisted and turned this tale into something completely unique and all her own. I will be eagerly awaiting the next release. *ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*
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  • enqi ☁️✨ [joon's]
    January 1, 1970
    a BEAUTY AND THE BEAST retelling where the heroine has cerebral palsy. LISTEN i'm willing to give up all my money for this
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