A curse so dark and lonely: Beauty and the Beast returns!

A curse so dark and lonely by Brigid Kemmerer
Series: 
A curse so dark and lonely #1
Source:
ARC provided by Raincoast Books
Pages: 
496
Top 3 Genres: 
Young adult, Retelling, Fantasy
My rating: 
Set it on fire/If you have nothing else to read/you need to read it/Run and buy it.
Add to: 
Goodreads

 

Hello bookdragons! If you know me a little you know that I am THE BIGGEST FAN of Beauty and the Beast. I’m always on the lookout for new retellings, and I stepped on some very nice ones. My latest discovery: A curse so dark and lonely!

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.

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A mix of old and new

One one hand, we have Harper, living in modern DC and with a family in a very bad situation. On the other hand, we have Rhen, prince of a magical kingdom, cursed to become a terrible beast. How could they universes collide? Well, they do in this book, when Harper is transported in Emberfall! That,s kind of the dream of every fangirl no? to be magically swept away to a magical land and meet a prince? Well, Harper is definitely not in this category, and she takes it pretty bad! I loved how brave and strong-minded her character was. She was not afraid to speak out and to fight over and over again. The author chose to portray her with a physical disability (which I’m always afraid is made just to please the popular opinion.. thankfully it is not the case here) and it’s there without taking al the place. Just to say there is all kind of greats characters.
Harper is a warrior in heart, and become one literally too through the book. Yes, I loved her character from the very first page!

As for Rhen, he is this cursed prince who has already learned his lesson. But he still turns into a beast regularly, killing his people, friends and family included. And he has to live with the guilt, secluded and without hope. Plus, he is tortured frequently by the Enchantress. We really have here a darker version of the tale (hence, the title!) and I was touched by this prince, torn between trying to break the curse and what he has done as a Beast. Despite all of that (or because), Rhen was a very touching and sensitive character, and also, very respectful of Harper which is SO IMPORTANT THANK YOU.

An addicting story

Yes, we know Beauty and the Beast, but in this story, it is more than just them. There are the lives of thousands at stake, an entire kingdom to save. We discover more characters from the outside of the castle, and so, the characters are even more complex.

I also liked that this was seen in a modern way, the issue of kidnapping girls to break the curse and all the wrong it could do being addressed… as well as the struggle of a prince knowing it could be the only way to save his people.

From Harper trying to escape in all the ways to deciding to save Emberfall, from the magical castle to a kingdom in danger, from the plots to save it to Harper’s family in mortal danger, it is so easy to jump from one page to another and devour this book!

 I was also happily surprised by how the relationship between Harper and Rhen was developed, without rushing things!

My only problem with this book: the opening to book 2. The not so subtle clues left there in the story that felt poorly patched to the rest, as well as the last chapter and its so obvious revelation. I am not against another book, though I would have liked a stand alone but, I felt that the way it was brought to us was not a good addition to the storyline.

In a few words

A contemporary retelling of Beauty and the Beast, with a touch of magic and royal life… and definitely more blood! I was conquered by Harper’s character and her adventures (yes, yes, I like Rhen too) and fell easily under Brigid Kemmerer’s spell! A must read for 2019!

See you for a cup,

Elise

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