I knew I wasn’t going to love this book. That’s probably why I kept pushing it until the end of the month. Turns out that I don’t have many books that include shapeshifting to pass the Transfiguration exam, and this was one of the most obvious choices.
Of course, I didn’t go into «A Curse so Dark and Lonely» expecting to dislike it. G from BookRoast, the host and creator of OWLs read-a-thon, spoke so highly of this first book in the series and Brigid Kemmerer’s writing overall that I wanted to believe that this book was going to be for me.
Fall in love, break the curse.
Cursed by a powerful enchantress to repeat the autumn of his eighteenth year, Prince Rhen, the heir of Emberfall, thought he could be saved easily if a girl fell for him. But that was before he turned into a vicious beast hell-bent on destruction. 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 constantly underestimating her because of her cerebral palsy, Harper learned to be tough enough to survive. When she tries to save a stranger on the streets of Washington, DC, she’s pulled into a magical world.
Break the curse, save the kingdom.
«A Curse so Dark and Lonely» is a Beauty and the Beast retelling, and the author stuck very closely to the original story. Rhen, the prince of Emberfall, was cursed by the witch. This curse can only be broken by the power of love. Each time he fails or dies, the season starts again, the new girl is summoned to the castle and the game begins again.
Unlike in the Beauty and the Beast, Brigid Kemmerer introduced parallel worlds – there is Emberfall, the world of magic with castles, royalty, and little industrial progress, and there is our world, our time, and Harper who comes from a difficult family and lives in Columbia.
WHAT I LIKED:
1 – The existence of multiple worlds was an interesting addition to the well-known story. The fact that Harper came from a completely different world was an exciting twist. It was fun to see Harper thrown in the midst of royalties, ladies and commons, and see how her behavior slowly changed to adapt to the new reality.
WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE:
1 – My main complaint and the reason that threw me off the story was the fact that it was too plain, too simple. Besides the beforementioned multiple worlds, nothing new was added to the Beauty and the Beast story that we all know too well. Even the well-known story has lost its charm because of how quickly Harper found out why she was kidnapped and brought to Emberfall.
Brigid Kemmerer tried to expand the world a little bit more, so the readers wouldn’t be restricted to the castle only, and we saw little snippets of what was happening in Emberfall, but for me, it didn’t add anything to the story and just drew attention away from the main characters.
2 – A lot of Harper’s character traits didn’t make sense to me. She didn’t feel like a girl next door, she didn’t feel genuine and real, and that’s probably why I had such a hard time connecting with her [or with any of the characters]. Her background story didn’t seem plausible, and some skills were given to her for the sake of convenience [*cough* horse-riding *cough*].
3 – Retellings can be difficult to master since it’s a story all of us have heard before. Retelling must be able to capture our attention not with the original plot but with unexpected twists or alluring strory-telling, and «A Curse so Dark and Lonely» had neither.
The story was predictable since the very beginning, and the writing was simple and efficient. I heard someone saying that they loved Brigid Kemmerer’s writing style because she didn’t waste words – every word serves a purpose – to tell the story. But when I already know the story and how it will end, the plain writing style isn’t always a good thing.
Sadly, this book wasn’t for me. It didn’t bring anything new and it failed to keep me interested, so I ended up skimming the last 100 pages.
I know this might be an unpopular opinion. I’d love to know what you thought about this book! Let’s chat in the comments below!