Review #112

Title- A Curse so Dark and Lonely

Author- Brigid Kemmerer

Rating– 5/5. Probably top 5 of 2021 reads

Genre- YA fantasy, may 50% qualify as romance, but I’m not for certain based on “romance rules”

POV- Rhen and Harper switch back and forth alternating chapters which I love

Trope- enemies to lovers, captive, Beauty and the Beast retelling

Similar Books/Comps– The Queen of Nothing

Cover– Gorgeous. I’d buy it off the shelf based on the cover without reading the blurb

My emotions-  so excited throughout


The characters been both strengths and weaknesses and are well rounded. Both Harper and Rhen show character complexities and depth. They both have hard choices to make. I appreciate seeing disabilities in main characters and hope to use that as inspiration to include more in my own writing.


I like to go into books without knowing much about them at all. So, I wasn’t aware this was a Beauty & the Beast retelling & was pleasantly surprised. At first it was a tiny bit strange that Harper is 17 or 18 & Rhen is 300+ years  old … but not really. Time is a little skewed. Maybe he’s only 23ish?

Anywho, by page 150 I’m wondering if there would be an unexpected love triangle with Grey, but I haven’t heard of many YA novels going that route. Sometimes I think the author is trying to make him into a brotheresque character, but then a single line later in the book had me doubting that.

Page 242- ugh I’m in love with this book. It’s such a great slow burn. The nastiness of Lilith is spot on perfection & I’m just completely gobbling this up.

Page 460- I barely stopped to take notes and am in awe of how fluid the plot and arcs are. Everything feels streamlined, focused, clear and written to perfection. Ah, I love this book. It felt super refreshing that the war strategies weren’t boring, confusing, or weighed down. There’s no unnecessary parts. The description and prose are detailed so I can see where I am but don’t weigh me down.

Epilogue- OMG!!! I own the trilogy so I’m gonna go read Book 2 immediately, A Heart so Fierce and Broken. But I don’t want anyone’s hearts to break… but Grey! Ah! I can’t even.


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. 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.

Best part- The whole frickin thing. I might fangirl over this series. I haven’t been this excited about a sequel in a while. I’m supposed to write a chapter of my own draft tonight, but I’d rather just devour the second book. I loved the humor that the Princess of Disi became a lasting thing.

What I’d change- Just a few more kisses please.

Quote- “I am always surprised to discover that when the world seems darkest, there exists the greatest opportunity for light.”

“Failure isn’t absolute, just because you couldn’t save everyone doesn’t mean you didn’t save anyone.”

“Not all scars can be seen, my lady.”

“Words spoken in the dark in the middle of the night always feel so much heavier than they would at any other time.”

Pacing- fast

Published by CassieSwindon

Fiction author

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