“He’s here. He’s not hurting anyone. But he’s still a monster. The curse isn’t broken.”
I wasn’t enchanted by the first few chapters. I liked what was going on but was struggling to be fully engaged. I can’t pin down why I didn’t fall in love. I wanted to love this book but didn’t.
A Curse so Dark and Lonely is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast. You get the enchanted castle vibes, but there is a darkness that fills the pages, you get to see the consequences of being under a spell for so long. I liked that.
A Curse so Dark and Lonely focuses on two characters.
Harper is a girl from our world, she lives in DC and has Cerebral Palys. Her mother is dying. Her brother and herself struggling to survive. They deal with the heavy emotions surrounding their mother’s declining health as they look after each other.
Rhen is a cursed prince, who has one season to make a girl fall in love with him. If he succeeds in this, the curse will be broken. His kingdom has dramatically suffered, just as Rhen has in trying to break the spell. At the end of the season, if he has not succeeded in making a girl fall in love with him, he turns into a monster.
Each chapter switches between the two characters. If you follow my reviews, you know this is not something I enjoy.
So what happens?
Harper is kidnapped by Grey and taken to a magical kingdom, Emberfall, that is under a spell. It’s ruler, Rhen, is cursed. He must make a girl fall in love with him to break the curse. If he does not, he turns into a monster and destroys things (his kingdom). Each time he turns into a different beast.
Harper is not the ideal girl, but she is the last girl Grey will be able to bring to try and break the curse. Harper gives everyone a run for their money, she pushes them in ways they are not prepared for. Harper helps Rhen see his Kingdom in a different light; through this, you learn about the effects of this curse on the Kingdom and the surrounding kingdoms.
If a curse isn’t enough for the young prince to deal with, neighboring Kingdom’s are questioning his right to rule. The enchantress who cursed him plays mind games with him frequently, leaving him exhausted. You learn how everyone has played a part in this curse and how it is not easily broken.
I didn’t love it, but I didn’t hate it. I will continue reading the series because I liked Grey, and I am interested in his story.
I did not like Harper as a character, but I liked the idea of Harper having Cerebral Palsy. I love the representation, but I am not sure if this was an accurate portrayal since I do not know a lot about Cerebral Palsy. I liked that Kemmerer didn’t let you forget she has Cerebral Palsy, but also Harper didn’t let it slow her down. I would love to hear from someone who has more experience with Cerebral Palsy to know their views on Harper’s character.
I was a little confused about what was going on with the “love triangle,” if you can call it that. I am sure it is explored more in the second book, which I will read, but for now, I am not focusing on that. Overall I was left with a meh feeling. I am not dying to read book two, but am interested in what may happen.
Should you read it?
No. While I did not love it, I rated it four stars on Goodreads. Simply because you cannot give 3.5 stars. If you are an avid reader of retellings, you should give A Curse so Dark and Lonely a try. If you are like me and don’t read retellings, often you can skip over this one for now. I will touch base with this review again once I have read the second book.
Have you read A Curse so Dark and Lonely? What are your thoughts?