Publisher: Bloomsbury YA
Published: January 29, 2019
Read as: US hardcover
Average Goodreads rating: 4.28
My rating: 5
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. (from Goodreads)
This book is my baby. I want to wrap it up all warm in a blanket and rock it to sleep every night. I want to give it hugs every time I see it just to let it know I love it. I want to bake cupcakes themed around this book. I want to walk into the library and shove it in everyone’s face so they know that they need to read it.
Guys. I love this book.
When I initially read the synopsis for A Curse so Dark and Lonely last fall, I admit, I was not impressed. Another retelling? I had not had luck before with Beauty and the Beast retellings and I rolled my eyes and passed this one by without a second thought. Then reviews started rolling in.
I can’t lie, folks, it was all of your reviews that sucked me in. Those glittering, shiny reviews. I am a self proclaimed sucker and trotted my way to the local Barnes and Noble to spend money I didn’t really have on a book I wasn’t entirely sure I wanted. Because I have no willpower when it comes to a pretty, pretty book.
Once I brought it home and stared at it on my shelf for a few days, I picked it up and nearly audibly gasped at its magnificence within the first few chapters. Now, I am one of those people that usually reads a book in, oh, fifty or so sittings. I don’t sit still well and only get through a chapter or two before I have to get up and move.
Not with this baby.
In three sitting I devoured this nearly 500 page magnificent work of fiction. To put it simply, I couldn’t put it down. I didn’t notice the passage of time, or that I was hungry or thirsty. While reading this book I literally got so hungry I nearly threw up and hardly noticed until my stomach shouted in revolt. Even then, my walk to the pantry for a quick protein bar came equipped with this book in front of my face. It really is that good, folks.
I could blabber here probably forever about all the wonderful bits about this story I love but instead I have picked out a few to shove in your faces.
Something I have never, ever stumbled across while reading are characters ASKING PERMISSION to touch each other. Maybe it happens in other genres but in SFF and my other genres of preference I have not once come across it but in A Curse so Dark and Lonely it was there, bright and shiny. The female lead, Harper, outright asked, “Is this okay?” while she was assisting her male counterpart in removing his armor, weapons, and belt. They both asked if it was okay when they would touch at all. It was absolutely lovely and worked with the flow of the story in general in a most magnificent way. Being asked permission before being touched? That was downright sexy.
Harper herself is the heroine I never knew I’ve wanted my whole life. She is a physically handicapped person that does not allow that handicap to slow her down or for other people to assume she needs assistance, or allow them to think it is an injury. Our lovely, fantastic, warrior of a young woman outright says she was born that way and not to make excuses for it. She does not let it slow her down in any way and is one of the bravest, most kind hearted, fiercest characters I have ever come across. Harper has my heart.
The story itself is the best retelling I have yet come across. As I mentioned, it is a retelling of the classic Beauty and the Beast tale and Kemmerer pulls her inspiration from that while making the story feel fresh and new. You, of course, have the enchantress who casts the evil spell on the prince and the prince himself who turns into a beast (of various varieties) each time the chosen damsel and himself do not fall in love. This, my friends, is a severely broken man and his mistakes and shortcomings are laid bare before you. It is wonderful. He is not painted as a knight in shining armor. Oh no. His battered soul is handed to you and he has made many, many grievous mistakes. What makes him likable? He keeps trying to do better. He keeps trying and doesn’t make excuses for himself. It is so very breathtaking to watch him take part in that journey.
If you haven’t read this book I absolutely cannot recommend it enough. I truly hope you enjoy it the way I did. This was a book I needed in my life and I didn’t even know it. In the future, I can easily see myself returning to this story time and time again. A Curse so Dark and Lonely is a new favorite and I’m so very glad it came into my life.