ARC Review: A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer

This Advanced Reader’s Copy was given to me by Bloomsbury, and I am seriously grateful because it was amazing.

I don’t even have words for how amazing ACSDAL was. It blew my mind, and was so much better than anything I could have ever expected!


Name: A Curse So Dark and Lonely
Author: Brigid Kemmerer
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Release Date: January 29, 2019


In a lush, contemporary fantasy retelling of Beauty and the Beast, Brigid Kemmerer gives readers another compulsively readable romance perfect for fans of Marissa Meyer.

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 Lacy. 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.

Book Cover Comments

This cover so perfectly encapsulates the book itself! I love the crystal (which absolutely shimmers) and the offset of different shades of blue. It’s vicious and gorgeous and absolutely beautiful.

The Actual Review

There were so many things I loved about Brigid Kemmerer’s A Curse So Dark and Lonely. I will fully admit that I am a complete sucker for fairytale retellings, so catch me loving anything of that vein: but really catch me loving fairytale retellings where the prince isn’t just a mindless, horny dreamboat with twinkling blue eyes and the girl isn’t so much a princess as a kickass-iron-willed-lady of legend.

But in case that feels too long, we can just call her Harper.

Harper is everything you look for in a leading lady: she’s smart, she’s flawed, she’s fiery, she’s got a soul, she knows what she wants, and she occasionally makes the same exact mistakes we’d make in her situation (in my case, I would make far more mistakes, due to the fact that I am extraordinarily talented at messing things up).

Harper was far from perfect, but that’s what makes her so fun to read about. She’s thrown into a fantasy, magical realm, where she’s given the opportunity to prove just how human she is. And W O W is she fabulously human. But above all, she’s the feminist badass we’ve been waiting for in a fairytale retelling. She’s not a chosen one, she has no magical powers, unless you count the gift of a strong heart (I can be cheesy, you guys, just wait for it), and she’s not actually a princess (she is to me, but that’s beside the point). I truly cannot wait for you to meet Harper, and I’m so grateful to Ms. Kemmerer for writing her: she’s the girl I’ve been dying to read for so long.

And then we have Rhen. Oh, Rhen. Oh, Rhen. I will begin by stating that Rhen has a horse, which usually makes him trustworthy in my books, but Rhen has a secret. Kemmerer really plays on that lovely dramatic irony about what Rhen’s secret is, because we all know the story of Beauty and the Beast, so it’s not too difficult to figure out what Rhen’s dark side is all about. But it doesn’t matter, because watching him struggle with this knowledge, this guilt, and the woman who cursed him makes for a page-turner like no other. Usually, when I read books with two POVs, I latch on to one character and start to anticipate their pages more than the other. Not so with A Curse So Dark and Lonely; I was immediately sucked in to both Harper and Rhen’s minds, until there was quite literally no letting go.

I was supposed to only read two chapters of this book a day (college and all), but that definitely didn’t end up happening. Colorful world building makes the imagery of ACSDAL absolutely sing, while the side characters and the heart that they bring will have you melting over the pages. With a blend of modern-world Washington DC and the fantastical Emberfall, there’s something in this book for everyone, and I would encourage anyone with eyes to pick up A Curse So Dark and Lonely. In a final statement of cheesiness, I’d like to add that ACSDAL was anything but a curse: it was the blessing I needed after a really tough week.

If you’re looking for something that will totally shake up your preconceived notions about what a Beauty and the Beast retelling should look like, this is the book for you. The rich world-building, the fluid dialogue, and the characters who were so real they might as well have jumped off the page make ACSDAL one of the most delicious reads of 2019. For anyone who enjoyed the blend of modern and faerie worlds in Holly Black’s The Cruel Prince, prepare to have your socks knocked off by this read! For those of you who are now convinced that you need this book in your life (and you do), please check out the links below to preorder!

Barnes & Noble

Indigo Chapters


Happy Reading!


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