Have you ever finished a book and just felt bereft afterwards? Unable to figure out what on earth you are supposed to do now? That is how I felt earlier today when I finished A Curse So Dark And Lonely.
Brigid Kemmerer’s retelling of Beauty and the Beast is the first in the Curse breaker series but it is nothing short of brilliant. It possibly took me 5 whole minutes to buy book 2: A Heart So Fierce and Broken once I had finished.
Now you may have gathered that I have read my fair share of retellings but this one has teeth! Split between Washington DC and the kingdom of Emberfall this is simply 480 ish pages of tension, angst and gritty violence.
Elements of ACSDAL mirror the traditional fairytale : enchantress, tick; cursed Prince, tick; true love is the only way to break the curse, (sickening) tick. However, this enchantress sticks around for a bit of torture, the cursed Prince is more of a beast than you expect and if the girl does not fall in love with the Prince? Then he has to start all over again!
If that hasn’t got you heading for your local bookshop then Brigid Kemmerer also throws in a female protagonist with cerebral palsy, an enemies to lovers relationship and torn loyalties wherever you turn.
Kemmerer’s characters are incredibly well developed and really seem to stay with the reader. Harper manages to be simultaneously vulnerable and kick ass; Grey is stoic and loyal, barely ever showing glimpses of his true heart or personality; and Rhen is the epitomy of a cursed Prince. You don’t want to like Rhen sometimes but slowly you find yourself rooting for him and, maybe even falling a little bit in love with him.
This is a non-stop story with a fast-paced plot that leaves you guessing until the very end… Only to have you reeling at the epilogue. This is no fairytale and love doesn’t always save the day!
Now everyone leave me alone… I’m reading book 2!