Book Review: A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer

Synopsis: One night, Harper is kidnapped from Washington DC and finds herself in a world with magic. She is the captive of Prince Rhen, who is trying to break a curse laid on him, and his captain of the guard, Grey. In this Beauty and the Beast retelling, Harper, Rhen, and Grey must figure out how to break the curse and save Rhen’s kingdom.

Genre: Fantasy

Published: January 29th, 2019

Pages: 496

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Synopsis: One night, Harper is kidnapped from Washington DC and finds herself in a world with magic. She is the captive of Prince Rhen, who is trying to break a curse laid on him, and his captain of the guard, Grey. In this Beauty and the Beast retelling, Harper, Rhen, and Grey must figure out how to break the curse and save Rhen’s kingdom.

Non-spoiler Review:

As you could probably tell by now, I really love retellings, so I was super excited to read this book! I had also seen some pretty good reviews about it. I did overall enjoy it while I was reading it, but looking back, there were definitely some things about it that irked me.

The Good Things!

This book was fun and exciting to read! It’s almost 500 pages and I finished it in less than two days, so that says something. I also thought that it was a cool take on The Beauty and The Beast. The curse turns Rhen into a monster only at the end of the season. This was interesting because in the original, the goal is to fall in love with a beast, but in this book, the goal was to fall in love and love him even when he was a beast.

I really liked that Rhen and Grey where prince and captain of the guard. That is a set up I have enjoyed in the past (*ahem* Throne of Glass *ahem*) and I am sure I will enjoy again. I think it adds an interesting element to their relationship.

I liked the cerebral palsy aspect of Harper’s character, but I did feel like it could have been expanded on a little more. Not to say that something like that (any sort of diversity really) needs to be expanded on to have it worth it in a story, but it was brought up but then kind of forgotten about toward the end.

I did really enjoy the dual points of view in this!! This is a style that I see way more often in contemporary romance books, but it worked really well for this! I don’t often see it in fantasy, so I enjoyed this aspect of the book.

The Bad Things 😭

I think the world building was just not there for this book. I could never really picture the setting, which is not something I normally struggled with, but it felt like Emberfall was just a generic castle. The magic also seemed pretty loose, like it just wasn’t explained enough for my taste.

I have such a problem with authors repeating words because once I notice it, I will never be able to not notice it. (Side note: when I reread the Throne of Glass series, I counted how many times “armed to teeth” was said because I noticed it once and couldn’t unnotice it. It’s in the series 11 times, by the way.) Harper calls Rhen “calculating” at least four times, and the kicker is that she really had no reason to call him that. He never really came across as calculating in her point of view chapters.

Other than my hate for repeated words, I just felt like I needed more development for the characters, relationships, and plot. Rhen and Harper’s relationship felt weird to me and there weren’t any really good character arcs.

Final Thoughts

Overall, A Curse So Dark and Lonely was enjoyable while I was reading it, but I don’t know if I would ever feel the urge to reread it. There will be a sequel, which I am undecided about. I was hoping for this story to be better, but it was by no means a bad book!

YA Retellings

There are sooo many books that are retellings of other stories out there these days! I feel like in 2018, the trend was The Little Mermaid retellings, and this year so far it’s Beauty and the Beast. Here is a big list of retellings if you are looking to get into them, or if you just want to read more of them!

There are sooo many books that are retellings of other stories out there these days! I feel like in 2018, the trend was The Little Mermaid retellings, and this year so far it’s Beauty and the Beast. Here is a big list of retellings if you are looking to get into them, or if you just want to read more of them!

The Little Mermaid

Sea Witch by Sarah Henning

This book is more of a backstory for Ursula, but I think villain backstories still count as retellings! I thought it was interesting because you’re wondering how exactly the main character will become the villain you know.

The Surface Breaks by Louise O’Neill

This book is definitely the closest to the original story that I’ve read. It is a feminist retelling, but the world is so misogynistic that it kind hurt to read, though the end makes it worth it.

To Kill A Kingdom by Alexandra Christo

This one was a bit different because the main character is a siren that gets turned into a human as punishment. I think this one could have been longer, but it was definitely an interesting take on a classic story.

Beauty and the Beast

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

This one is definitely the most loosely based on Beauty and the Beast. The main character gets taken and is forced to live in a castle, but that’s about where the similarities end.

Echo North by Joanna Ruth Meyer

This book is actually an East of the Sun and West of the Moon retelling, but it takes elements from Beauty and the Beast, as well as some other tales. I had never heard of East of the Sun and West of the Moon before, so when I read the book, I definitely thought it was a Beauty and the Beast retelling.

A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer

I haven’t read this one yet, but I do know that a prince is cursed to repeat the same autumn until a girl can fall in love with him. It has a pretty high rating and I’ve seen good reviews for it, so I think it will be good!

Others

Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust

This is a retelling of Snow White and it follows both a princess and her stepmother when she was young. This book was so unique and interesting, from the magic to the relationships!

The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale

This is a retelling of The Goose Girl, which I had never heard of before this book. It does seem to follow the fairytale pretty closely, but it is still a very enjoyable book!

Heartless by Marissa Meyer

This is a retelling of Alice in Wonderland, specifically a backstory for the Queen of Hearts. This is definitely one of my favorite (and most heartbreaking) retellings! This one leads me into my final category.

The Lunar Chronicles

This is an entire series of retellings set in the future by Marissa Meyer. The books include Cinder (Cinderella), Scarlet (Little Red Riding Hood), Cress (Rapunzel), and Winter (Snow White). Fairest is a novella that is a villain backstory based on Snow White. This series is one of my all time favorites because the fairytale elements are done so well and the overall story and characters are so good!

How many of these have you read? I know there are so many more than these, so do you have any recommendations?