BOOK REVIEW: A Curse So Dark and Lonely (A Curse So Dark and Lonely #1) by Brigid Kemmerer

BOOK REVIEW: A Curse So Dark and Lonely (A Curse So Dark and Lonely #1) by Brigid KemmererA Curse So Dark and Lonely (A Curse So Dark and Lonely #1)
by Brigid Kemmerer
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Add to: Goodreads


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.


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

Okayyyyy, folks. I’m sitting here trying to figure out how exactly I should approach this review. On one hand, as you can see, I gave it four stars. Obviously that means that I really enjoyed this book. I loved the characters, it was SUCH a great new take on a retelling of Beauty and the Beast, and the writing sucked me in from page one. However….the ending?????? I just don’t even know where to begin on that so I’ll try to leave any ranting for the very end AFTER I talk about all of the lovely things in this book!

First of all, this is my very first book by Brigid Kemmerer and I can say with certainty that I will be picking up another one of her books in the near future. I realllllly liked her writing and as I said earlier, it sucked me immediately into the story.

The story: Let’s face it, the story of Beauty and the Best has been redone over and over and over again. In my mind, there are really only so many things you can do to change things up and turn it into a new thing that no one else has ever done before. That being said, I think that this story is a prime example of being that something “new.” Rhen is the prince of Emberfall and is cursed to live the fall season over and over again until he can find a woman to fall in love with him and break the curse. At the end of each season he turns into a horrible beast but instead of just sitting around, moping in the castle, he completely loses himself and a lot of people (usually his subjects) end up dying. His commander, Grey, is the only person he has left with him and is the one who crosses over into our world to find women for Rhen to basically court and try to woo each season. Our main protagonist, Harper, was not Grey’s target. No, she had been out on the street, waiting for her brother to return from doing a dangerous job for a loan shark when she sees this random guy seeming to drug and try to kidnap this woman. Naturally our spunky lead picks up a rusty tire iron and tries to stop that from happening. She is instead taken to Emberfall and the rest of the story ensues.

Characters: Aside from being madly in love with both Rhen and Grey, Harper was my favorite character. She has cerebral palsy which gives her a pretty bad limp but that literally never stops her from doing anything. There were actually a few instances of Rhen or someone else saying something about her “broken body” or how she was “crippled” and she was always the first to remind them that she wasn’t broken, she wasn’t damaged. I don’t personally know anyone with cerebral palsy and I know that there’s a pretty big spectrum of how it can affect your body so it was great getting to read about a main character who has it but didn’t let it slow her down. I hope she was a great representation for those out there that read this that also have the disorder.

Back tracking to the two wonderful men…sigh…they were great. You could tell that Rhen had come a long way from where he started during his first cursed season. He became more selfless, he started to care more about Grey, and obviously about Harper too. Her spitfire attitude also re-awakened in him a sense of duty for his kingdom which is great because I felt super bad for everyone outside of the castle who had spent the last five years feeling like their King and ruling family had abandoned them as they starved and were killed off by a rival kingdom and the monster……Anywayssss he was just very kind and sweet and watching him fall for Harper was a treat. Grey reminded me SO MUCH of Chaol which obviously made me love him right away. That’s really all I have to say about that lol.

Lilith…she was the worst and that’s all you need to know for now.

Ending: Well, here we are at the end. I decided that I can’t actually rant about anything because that would reveal spoilers and I can’t do that. Maybe I’ll post more on it after the book comes out…..just know that I was not satisfied with the ending. Like part of me ~kind of~ gets what Kemmerer was trying to do but then another part of me was just left SUPER confused. Like I just didn’t get why this certain main component of the book was so important if things ended like they did…I DON’T KNOW. It made me confused/ annoyed enough that I had to dock the book a star but that’s just me. That epilogue on the other hand had me very intrigued….haha yes apparently my thoughts on the end are very jumbled. Overall though, this is a really good book and I need a second book in my life, please and thanks.

Huge thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an eARC in exchange for an honest review! ♥

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  1. Raven

    Wonderful review! I’m glad you enjoyed this book, despite not liking the ending. It’s one of my most anticipated books of 2019! I can’t wait to read it! 🙂
    Raven recently posted…Circe By Madeline Miller [Review]My Profile

    • Arielle

      Thanks, Raven! I hope you end up loving it!

  2. Sophie

    Fantastic review Arielle! I loved this one so much too!

    • Arielle

      Thanks so much, Sophie! 🙂

  3. Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

    I’m excited for this book, but now you definitely have me nervous about the ending. I’m hoping I love it. 😐
    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction recently posted…Briggs Book TagMy Profile

    • Arielle

      Don’t be nervous! It was good but I was just left slightly confused. It’s really just *kind of* an open ending where some things are concerned and like I get what Kemmerer was doing with it….lol I hope that’s not too confusing. Either was it was just a personal preference thing I think!

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