Book Review || A Curse so Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer


Hello, bookish folks! I’m sorry that I had to skip the last two posts of the month but I ended up being very busy and with little time to schedule.

I wanted to break with another type of post, but I suddenly realized that the release date for this book is pretty near (is it tomorrow? I need to check), so it’s definitely time for a book review.

Don’t worry, my next post will be an interesting discussion post 🙂

The e-Arc was provided by Netgalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review

TW: violence, death of beloved ones, cancer



Title: A Curse so Dark and Lonely
Author: Brigid Kemmerer
Series: A Curse so Dark and Lonely
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Pages: 496
Rating: ★★★ 1/2

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.


A long time passed since I read a retelling and my mouth dropped open when I was approved for this title. I wasn’t expecting sure, just sitting in front of my mails and waiting for being reject. But I was approved!

First thing I need to note down is that what I got at the time (still in 2018) was a draft. Some time later, I noticed that Netgalley probably updated with a more complete work. Anyway, what I’m going to review is what I read and I think there have been maybe none to little changes (saying this after reading some reviews).

Even if from one part this book didn’t surprise me, in the end I realized how I kinda got invested into it. Maybe it happens to other readers too, but sometimes I read a novel and… the novel is okay, Not bad, not good. But there’s something, maybe a character or maybe the world, that keeps getting back to you and you go on for that. This was the case.

Because let’s be real: Harper and Grey and precious, even if sometimes I wanted to punch him.

Definitely Harper saved the novel. I loved her so much and how her character was handled. I cannot speak for the disability rep, but I felt like the book did a good job at showing how she could do things while everyone underestimate her? On the other side, maybe the mention of it could have a little more present? But I won’t express much more on it, I prefer to leave such discussion to people who have such disability.

Anyway, another important thing about Harper, is that the whole plot could have led to the tropes of her “being not like the other girls”, but it didn’t. Not once I read of her putting down the other girls that came before while Rhen clearly does.  And I don’t want to forget about the fact that Harper helps people!

She does not dwell on waiting or “should I do that or not?”. She acts. She ‘s genuinely good and altruistic. I really love character like that, even if they put themself in danger most of the times. May not be the best tactic way to act but at least they do not left other people to die. I feel like this type of character are usually not well seen by many readers, which is very sad.

Grey was also precious even if there are things of him that I could delete without too much thoughts. One side of me understand the position but the other has its doubts. I would love to dig further about his character but I cannot say more because of spoilers.

Harper’s brother doesn’t spark for being the best, but he was also tangled inside dangerous things, really stressed and other messes. I can understand. Also, about him, the story feature a m/m relationship! It didn’t have much screen but there are good chances that him and his companion will take a major role in the second novel. I really hope so.

But Rhen… do we really need Rhen?

The first time I read about him, with his high cheekbones, I rolled my eyes so hard. New young adult books need a bit of improvement when it comes to male description. But aside from this, which is a pretty superficial detail, other things really rubbed me wrong with him.

In the novel while the story progress, Harper does some consideration on him and all of those are true. I feel like Rhen needed to hear more of this and that Harper deserve better. 

While his behaviour can make sense because of what happened, he was an asshole most of the time: starting from the way he treats Harper, how he sometimes consider the past girls, how the punish Grey because he’s being petty… the list is long.

It was kinda embarrassing to watch how sometimes Harper, an Earth girl, was more competent about his reign. Like yes, Rhen posses a series of skills Harper doesn’t have, but surely he lacks of initiative. Many and many things could have been organized to keep the reign safe, but Rhen did not.

Yes, I understand the various obstacles related to the curse, but how we say in Italy “morto un papa se ne fa un altro”. Okay, in this case we’re talking about popes, but the concepts still stand. No matter what, once a king is dead, you make another. Other things don’t work very well for me, especially about the reign. If the king is out, no one hear a thing from the royal family since a lot of time, how does a reign keeps going on? Why other noble, important or rich figures didn’t take the power in certain zones? How the civilians still go on like nothing happened?

I had this kind of thoughts for the whole novel. I never saw the villain posing an actual stop to any tries of reconstruct the kingdom, because Lilith didn’t really care. She probably knew how things were going. Also, I still doubts that Emberfall’s people would so easily  goback to a royal family that left many to starve and under invasion. Unless the royal family indoctrinated them.

Aside from my many doubts, other things really didn’t work well for me: some important revelations threw around, a villain that was wasted, random reigns spouting  like some fungus… yeah, things like those along “the power of feelings” cheesy trope.

For reaching the conclusion, I liked this novel and got attached to some characters. I screamed a bit at the ending and I cannot wait to read book two. I have some hopes to see the current possible, semi official ship crash down sorry not sorry. What happened was foggy enough to leave an interesting space for more exploration about relationship and feelings. And also something a bit more serious, like war?






10 thoughts on “Book Review || A Curse so Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer

  1. I didn’t know a lot about this book but I’ve seen it on people’s anticipated releases lists and thought the synopsis sounded pretty interesting. Your review has me feeling a little mixed. I like the sound of some aspects of the book but I definitely don’t think it’s one I’m going to be rushing to pick up any time soon. Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Aww, thanks ❤ I noticed that many people stil liked it much more than me, so I would suggest to give it a try anyway.

      To be honest, if the worldbuilding and some other facts would have been more consistent, the rating would have been much higher. I hope many things will be improved in the second volume


  2. *dramatically* “and he had … HIGH CHEEKBONES.” 🙄 romance almost always seems to become a huge part of the plot in YA/NA, no matter the genre, so I can totally relate to wanting to see the ship crash and burn. does that make us terrible people? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    Liked by 1 person

  3. ” random reigns spouting like some fungus…” <— a mood if I ever read one!

    Grande recensione Camilla! Sono felice che tu abbia apprezzato il tuo tempo a leggere e che nessun papa sia stato ucciso durante la realizzazione di questa recensione. (il mio tentativo molto zoppo di essere divertente). Penso che potrei semplicemente scegliere questo libro la prossima volta che andrò a fare shopping!

    apologies in advance for the shitty italian i just vomitted your way. lol

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh this is such an interesting review Camilla, thank you for sharing! I have to say that the main character Harper sounds really interesting, reading about her makes me even more eager to get to the book. I’m sorry you didn’t love everything about it though, hope your next read will be better 🙂 x

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s