A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer

A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer

Title: A Curse So Dark and Lonely
(Cursebreakers #1)
Author: Brigid Kemmerer
Genre: YA Fantasy, Retelling
Format: Hardcover
Length: 484 pages
Publisher: Bloomsbury YA
Publish Date: January 29, 2019
Death, Body Gore, Dismemberment,
Cancer, Violence, War, Alcohol,
Attempted Suicides (mentioned and on screen)
Cerebral Palsy, Gay, Black

Gosh I feel like I was supposed to read this like months ago and I never did? But thanks to Hannah, Dana and Adele, they forced me to buddy read this a few days ago and I ended up hauling ass to finish it so I wasn’t running too late. I don’t regret it at all because wow. That was a wild ride and I was not expecting it.

Although I don’t think I’ll read a group buddy read book that fast ever again because wow. That took up my whole Sunday basically and I feel like I need some special portal to go to Emberfall myself.

Harper is our MC and has cerebral palsy. Like the author’s note says, and if you do research on cerebral palsy or have experience with people that have it (I have some experience with people that have it), people have different symptoms and it affects everyone differently. It was worse when she was younger, but she was able to get surgery to fix her left leg a little bit, but not enough to make it perfect. So she’s learned how to work around it, and that’s the important part. Her brother Jake has been getting into some trouble because of some actions from their father, and it’s all they can do to help their mom, who is slowly dying of cancer.

Prince Rhen is cursed to relive the fall season of his 18th birthday until he finds someone to fall in love with him. Typical Beauty and the Beast curse, except for the fact that the season will constantly reset itself in the castle while the rest of the kingdom goes on like normal. The Prince and his loyal Commander Grey are the only ones that have been affected by the curse for five years, and they have been “surviving” for the most part.

  • Harper gets taken away from her home in DC because she sees Grey taking an unconscious woman and she feels the need to protect her
  • Rhen has to find a girl to love her in order to break the curse that the enchantress has put him and Grey in
  • Emberfall is falling into disrepair because the people haven’t heard from or seen the royal family in five years
  • There are enemy soldiers threatening to invade Emberfall because of its weakened state

You know, the typical stuff.

I personally love the friendship that Harper and Zo (another character that you will meet in the novel) have, as well as the friendship and chemistry between Harper and Grey. Even though they certainly didn’t start on the best of terms, it seems like they were able to develop some sort of trust between one another. I liked that Harper was so willing and dedicated to immerse herself in the world of Emberfall – not immediately – but she learned how to fight with daggers and bows & arrows. I love that honestly, and it makes me kind of wish that I could take some lessons.

I like that this curse was different from a lot of the other curses that I’ve seen with other Beauty and the Beast retellings and although I hate that not everything about the season can be reset – deaths – I get it. If they were able to come back to life whenever the season would restart, there would be no real consequences, and I don’t think them living in the same season for five years would have really had a true and lasting effect on Rhen and Grey.

After Hannah brought it up to my attention, I did realize that there were a lot of similarities to A Court of Thorns and Roses, and I feel like I didn’t really notice or acknowledge it beforehand was because I was speeding through this book and just trying to finish it on time. I get that they are both retellings of the same fairy tale, but it was pretty uncanny that there were so many. Although I didn’t see that Harper liked to read, or at least had such a love for reading that she had to go to the library right away, you know?

I do feel like I went through this too fast to have a good opinion honestly, which sucks. So I may have to sit on it and think about what’s more that I did or didn’t like.

The oldest man looks at me and his eyes narrow. “Where did you come from?”

“Your worst nightmare,” I snap.

I personally didn’t get this line, and I think it’s because the last time I heard that line, the question was “who are you” rather than “where did you come from”. I don’t know. Maybe I’m just not smart enough to understand that this one liner can answer multiple types of questions.

I hold his gaze and refuse to look away. “Commander Grey. Prove how serious I am.”

Grey’s hand flicks out. The man shouts and drops to the ground. The hilt of a knife protrudes from his knee.

Whoa. I have no idea what I expected him to do, but that’s even better.

Grey is a Boss Ass Bitch, Boo

I don’t know what she was expecting either, but Grey seriously does not disappoint. I have to say that I think Grey and Zo were my favorite characters, and I’m bummed that Zo doesn’t even get much screen time – hopefully she gets more in the sequel, if I read it. You know me and finishing stuff.

So while Rhen and Harper were learning how to trust each other during their plan to rally the people of Emberfall and all that – actually I think this took place before that, but you know – Rhen said something to Harper that really had me pause. I get it though. Haha I see that I like to say “I get it though” for things that I probably don’t get, but I’ll put the passage here and you let me know if you get it or if you “get it” like me.

He looks incredulous. “But why would you not ask?”

I draw back and stare at him. “Ask? Are you kidding me? When you’ve got a kitchen full of food that’s going to be replaced every day -“

“You misunderstand.” He puts a hand up. “Why would you not ask for assistance?”

Harper is so used to being the liability in her family because her brother Jake doesn’t allow her to do much but stand watch for him. I think that he really tries to protect her but with her disability, he is afraid to have her get hurt. But I don’t think he realizes that Harper can really handle her own when she needs to, so she’s used to having to fight to do things on her own. That’s what happened in this case, and she’s finally seeing that, someone actually just wants to help her rather than have to fight her on what she wants to do.

I don’t know. That’s the vibe I got, fam.

My head hurts from reading this – not because I didn’t like it but because so much happened in it. The ending had me tripping though. I’m like… wow. I think Grey needs more love and I just want to hear more from his perspective honestly. I think Rhen does go through some character development through this one, and I was proud of it. I don’t know how the trilogy will end honestly, because the ending of this one sets up some drama and it’s crazy, but I’m curious to see what other people say about it. Hopefully someone can give me a mini spoiler so I can pretend like I read it on time.

27 thoughts on “A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer

  1. I’m honestly amazed that you got your review of A CURSE SO DARK AND LONELY up the same day that you finished it ! I could NEVER. (lol, but i’m a lazy ass so…)

    I loved the friendship that Harper and Zo had as well!! I hope that Zo gets more screen time in the second book. LOL, I hope to read the second book too, but I actually believe that the story won’t be centred around Harper and Rhen in the second book. I believe that the second book is going to be centred around Grey and someone else, OR Jake and Noah (them having their own story would be great!!!)

    and omg, Curse is SO quotable it HURTS. but did I stop to acknowledge what was said?? LOL, no. // I’m agreeing with you 100% on the fact that our heads hurt from reading CURSE just because there’s legit so much that happens in the story.

    great review!! πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Adele ❀ ❀ Thank you love! I have to write it as soon as I can or I feel like I'll forget everything that I wanted to write about.I'm also so shocked that I finished that over the weekend. I've been putting it off for so long and you guys helped me push to finish it before I wasn't able to renew it again (too many times apparently) so thank you for that. LOL you are so not lazy. You just do more important things than I do, let's be real.

      Yes!!!! I seriously love that there was no animosity between them to begin with, although I'm a little jaded that Harper was like "wasn't she a musician's apprentice" when Grey signed her on for the Royal Guard. I'm like bruh don't judge her, she inquired about it for herself when you first met her so I'm sure she knows what she's doing. But then they were friends and Zo was so happy to see her and their friendship was just beautiful. I live for friendships like that. Oh gosh Jake and Noah 😦 I'm just… wow that sucks but I'm glad they are safe, you know? I hope it's more centered around Grey. That's what it sounds like from the synopsis ❀

      LOLOL Yes it was! I feel like if I stopped to take notes each time I wouldn't have finished it though. It messed up my flow. Or it would have messed up my flow. You know what I mean. It was pretty action packed! I'm happy for that part.

      Thank you for reading, Adele ❀ ❀ ILYSM

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m so glad we group read this! I always have the best time group reading but I love it so much more when it’s with you!!! Plus you always help me meet new people. I can’t wait to see what we read next!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh it’s sooooo like reading a court of thorns and roses isn’t it???? And like okay, so they’re based on the same fairytale but still Kemmerer DO BETTER!!!! I think if I had not read SJM I would have enjoyed this a lot more. Great review Leelynn, and thanks for linking mine lovely <333333333

    Liked by 1 person

    1. YESSSSSSS It was! Me going through it so fast, I didn’t catch it until Hannah told me. Not to mention I haven’t read ACOTAR in a couple years so I think I blocked that one out hahaah. I agree though. If I read this one without have reading ACOTAR, I think I would have been so much more into it! I still liked it though. It wasn’t terrible ❀ Oh gosh of course, Emer!


      1. And I fear that book 2 is going to be another mist and fury with Gray cast in the Rhysand role and Rhen cast as Tamlin. Like the signs are there that this is basically an SJM fan fiction which is a shame because there is a lot of good in ACSDAL like Harper whose illness rep I loved. Shame…

        Liked by 1 person

          1. I heard that too and I’m not happy. I was so overjoyed to get a great YA Fantasy MC with illness rep and for her to be pushed aside in book 2… I’m less than thrilled at the prospect and can feel myself preparing a rant review…. I know Leelynn… what am I like lol!!!

            Liked by 1 person

  4. UGH I LOVED THIS BOOK and I can’t wait until January for the sequel!!! TEAM GREY 😍😍😍 I mean, I know there aren’t teams but if there were I’d so be on his team! Haha I loved his character so much and I wish he got more love… I felt his chemistry with Harper a lot more than Harper/Rhen too… But I’m so excited for the sequel because I think we’re going to be getting a lot more of him!
    I read ACOTAR but honestly, I don’t remember it all that well, and so I’m not really seeing the similarities… Funny that though. Now I’m curious and wonder if I should re-read ACOTAR lol
    Also, I totally agree with your discussion point. I see it the same way but also I think at that point things between her and Rhen were still really hostile and she still viewed him and Grey as the ‘bad guys’ and so she assumed they wouldn’t help her or they’d stop her. I’m defo curious to see what happens in book two because of this ending!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. TEAM GREY ALL THE WAY!!!! Haha is it bad if you like the “side” character more than the main? Oh well! Ugh January can’t come fast enough! Like I know this one just came out this year too but I’m already needing to know what the heck is going to happen next. Oh there are so teams πŸ˜‰ We are both on Team Grey so I feel you. Glad we are on the same team hahaa.

      DINI THAT WAS ME! I didn’t remember much of it, although I love watching Read With Cindy’s review on it since I can laugh about it and remember what she remembers lol. I think that the action in this one was way better, and I’m glad that there wasn’t any basically pimping out of Harper like there was with Feyre. That bothered me when I was reading ACOTAR.

      Yes I agree with you! I think that was still during that point, but I’m glad that Rhen at least voiced this so she could realize that they weren’t going to always be “the bad guys”.


  5. I don’t know how the check you write reviews so quickly but I’m always impressed lol. Maybe I’m just a procrastinator. XD

    I still need to read this one. I actually had no idea the main character has CP! Glad you liked it, but a shame that you felt so rushed. I think Grey is my kind of people lol.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ILYSM. I don’t know how I do it either. I know if I finish a book the night before and I don’t have time to stay up and write a review, I’ll low key try to write it when I have downtime at work so that works out somehow? Idk, don’t tell anyone from my work though. They may wonder why I have enough downtime to do that πŸ˜‰

      Yes! Yes she does. I felt rushed, but then I was like low key so into it that I didn’t even realize that I was reading the entire thing in almost one sitting so I guess it’s okay? I just kept turning the pages trying to figure out what was going to happen next and then all of a sudden it was over.

      Grey is so your kind of people. I was reading him and immediately thought of you.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I love my little typos that I’m only noticing when people respond. xD That’s what i get for commenting on blogs on my phone LOL.

        Ahaha, I would never tell them. It’ll be our little secret!

        Yaaaaay! ❀ I mean, this book is now a go soonish, so I can't wait to meet Grey.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I really wanted to read this when I first heard of it, but I’ll admit – I’m not too keen on it being part of a trilogy. It seemed like it would be a standalone at first, and me learning that this was a series took all my excitement away, I don’t even know why. Anyway, I’m happy you did enjoy parts of this, even though you clearly had some problems with it – it’s a pity that one of your faves barely got any page-time. 😦 Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So, besides the epilogue really, it reads as a standalone. I think that if you read it as a standalone, it would still be okay. BUT, because you know that it’s a trilogy, then when you read the ending and the epilogue, you are going to be like “well now what?!” I understand that though. I feel like I can only handle standalones sometimes, but then if I like the story so much that I want it to continue, then I’ll regret it being a standalone haha. I’m just weird like that. Thank you so much ❀ I'm glad that the problems weren't too bad though, and that it didn't take away from my overall enjoyment of it, or I would have been really sad.

      Ugh yes, but I think that he's getting more page-time in the second one, so I have that to look forward to if I read it! ❀

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I will admit to being one of the few people who didn’t like this book. I loved the writing, and the idea, I just struggled to get into it. I kept having to fight DNFing it.

    But this is a great review! I may have to go back in a few months and try it again…!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was honestly trying to find reviews of those that didn’t like it or didn’t finish it so I could show the different opinions! Although I feel like most people don’t review books they didn’t finish for the most part, which I understand. I’m so sorry you did end up DNF but I get it. It could be very hard to get into, and I kept putting it off so I get that too.

      If you do end up trying it again, I hope you get farther than you did before!


  8. I’m glad you enjoyed this one! I must say, I like the idea of the Beast in a Beauty & the Beast re-telling having to re-live time until he breaks the curse. That’s one way to have him still be a teenager and yet have lived under the curse for more than a few months. Nice twist.

    Liked by 1 person

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