I was lucky enough to snag an early copy of A Curse So Dark and Lonely at my local bookstore, and so after less than four hours, I completely devoured this. I didn’t really have a lot of expectations going in, but I was interested and intrigued by the inclusion of a main character who had cerebral palsy in a fairytale setting. In the end, while the writing was beautiful, the characters fell short.
A Curse So Dark and Lonely is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast, where the Prince is cursed to repeat the same season and quest over and over again while only causing more damage to his people each time. His royal guard, Grey, travels over to the modern world (of Washington, DC, seriously) to bring him women who could potentially be the key to breaking that curse. While trying to drag another girl over to his world, 18-year-old Harper swoops in, saves her, but gets taken in the process. She’s whisked to the land of Emberfall.
This book unexpectedly drew me in more than I thought it would. Though I didn’t really feel blown away or emotionally attached to any of the characters (except maybe Grey and Noah), I love that it felt like such a new and fresh voice in the retelling genre. I also liked how it was a book I could breeze through since the writing was so effortless. Often times, it was pretty easy to tell that this book could’ve been a lot shorter, especially since the pace only starts to pick up in the latter half. A Curse so Dark and Lonely did get predictable sometimes, and the characters felt pretty flat. Rhen was a pretty shallow character despite his inner struggles with the monster (he kind of felt like a cookie-cut perfect prince), and Harper was slightly irritating and off-putting during earlier chapters. I love the inclusion of a disabled main character, especially since that’s rarely seen in young adult novels, and I also appreciate the addition of Noah, a gay African-American man.
While I never did fall in love with this book completely, it was a really solid retelling that is making me excited about the possibility of a sequel. After all, the epilogue hinted at who would be the focus, and I am very very intrigued. I can’t wait for readers to check this book out once it’s released in two days!
Trigger warnings: bloody descriptions, suicide attempts, pedophilic comment, violence, cancer
Title: A Curse So Dark and Lonely (A Curse So Dark and Lonely #1)
Author: Brigid Kemmerer
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance
Publication Date: January 29, 2019
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Are you a lover of retellings? What are your favorite ones? Let me know in the comments below!