7 December 2018

ARC Review // A Curse so Dark and Lonely

Author: Brigid Kemmerer
Publisher: Bloomsbury YA
Published: January 29th 2019
Pages: 496 pages

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. 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.

A reimagining of the tale The Beauty and the Beast, A Curse So Dark And Lonely is set in a dark world in which a cursed prince is transformed in a bloody vicious beast every season and a girl discovers that only her love can save Emberfall and the cursed monster.


World Building. In the last few year, many novels inspired by my favourite fairytale (if you haven't read the original tale you should, because its quite different from the Disney version) have been published, so it's quite difficult for the world crafted to be unique. However, Kemmerer created the medieval-inspired Emberfall Kingdom, a parallel world to our contemporary one. Just like Alice follows the White Rabbit into Wonderland, Harper, a girl from DC, after stopping Rhen's Commander from kidnapping a girl, also finds herself transported to a old-new world where technology has no place. She has to adapt to magic, curses and sword-fighting.

Curse. Who can resist to a good old curse? The Enchantress who cursed Rhen, Lilith, is very present in the story. Not only did she curse Rhen, but she also tortures him physically and psychologically (mention of sexual assault).

Cerebral Palsy. Harper, our Belle, has mild cerebral palsy, which makes her quite functional. Even though some people think of her as a porcelain china doll that can break at any second or try to shame her because of her limp, Harper doesn't allows cerebral palsy to define who she is - and that's such a powerful message.


I never felt too connected to the story. I thought I'd love A Curse So Dark And Lonely because of its synopsis. There were so many things I loved individually, but I didn't enjoy the whole story as I was expecting to.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with a review copy in exchange for an honest review.


  1. Sorry you didn't connect. I need attachment with the characters to really enjoy the story, but I am glad you were still able to enjoy it.

    1. I tried to connect with the story, but it seemed something was missing for me. Maybe my expectations were too high...

  2. There seem to be a lot of Beauty and the Beast retellings out there. this one sounds super unique though and I'm curious about it. I'm sorry you didn't feel too connected to the story. I'll most definitely read it. Thank you for sharing and for stopping by :)

    1. This retelling is actually different from all those that have been published so far. I think my expectations were too high and that was the reason why I didn't connect with the story.

      Happy readings! ;)

  3. I'm sorry to hear that you weren't able to connect with this story. I've loved Kemmerer's contemporaries so this is an anticipated read for me. I'm curious to see if it works for me or not. Great review though!

  4. I have a hard time when I'm unable to connect to the characters or the story. I need someone to root for! I also want to be completely absorbed in whatever I'm reading. I'm glad this one was still enjoyable! It's a book I've been looking forward to for awhile. Have you read Letters to the Lost?

    Lindsi @ Do You Dog-ear?

  5. Ugh I hate when I can't connect to a story and it doesn't all come together. Glad there were things you enjoyed stil.

  6. Aw I am sorry that the connection wasn't there- that is rough. Good that there were positives at least, but for such a long book, not connecting is especially bad. Great review though, this is good to know!

  7. Great review, I am really looking forward to this retelling and am glad the worldbuilding is so good! I am sorry that you didn't connect with the story but it's good you were able to find positives.

  8. Ah sorry the connection wasn't there. I know what you mean with something missing. I missed some things in the background personally to make the story well rounded and something to settle into, if that makes sense haha.

  9. Wow, I have to say all the pros seem to trump the single con you have. It sucks you never felt connected to it especially as there are so many individual things which did work for you. This is a book I do want to check out, as I do love a Beauty and the Beast retelling. I am really interested in this as it's impressive that once more we have an original sounding retelling, that is a bit of a rarity.