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

Image result for a curse so dark and lonely coverTitle: A Curse So Dark and Lonely
Series: Cursebreakers, #1
Author: Brigid Kemmerer
Publisher: Bloomsbury YA
Genre: young adult, fantasy, fairy tale retelling, romance
Pages: 489
My Rating: ★★★★☆
Goodreads page

There are no spoilers in this review!



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. 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.

[ This synopsis is from Goodreads. ]



Before we get into the review, just keep in mind that A Curse So Dark and Lonely is a fairy-tale retelling of Beauty and the Beast. I didn’t want to continually repeat that little fact so I thought I’d get it out and open before we dive in.

I had high hopes for this book. I’ve heard nothing but good things about this story, and its Goodreads rating was over four stars the last time I checked. Maybe I was going in with too high of expectations, but this story was slightly disappointing. It wasn’t a bad story. In fact, I’m going to go as far as saying it was a good story. I liked the message it had of not judging a book by its cover for not only the beast but also the beauty. I think I was just expecting too much when I dove into the story, which was my fault and my fault only.

It’s pretty clear from the start that this story is a fairy tale retelling. It follows the original story pretty religiously. In some retellings I find that the author would take elements of the fairy tale and incorporate them into their story, but Brigid Kemmerer followed the whole story. That being said, she obviously put her own little spin on the book, but for the most part it is a fairy-tale retelling in its purest form.

The first half of the story is slow. Don’t get me wrong: I love retellings as much as the next guy, but there were times when I first started reading where I considered DNR-ing it. It was slow. Not too much happened, but then again, not a lot COULD happen. In the end, I’m glad that I pulled through and read the whole book, because it picked up its pace in the second half when time started to run out for the prince. If you think of this book as a marathon, the first half the book walked. In the middle, the book started to jog. In the final stretch, the book SPRINTED.

For the most part, fairy tales are very black and white. There’s a clear villain and protagonist. There’s a clear right and wrong decision. One of best parts of A Curse So Dark and Lonely (in my opinion) is that Kemmerer shows the gray area of decision making. There is no right or wrong. There’s only which decision would be the best for the people? There will be dire consequences and sacrifices, but a decision has to be made for the well-being of the kingdom. It’s something that diverged from the traditional fairy tale path, and it made the story all the more interesting.

I also liked how Kemmerer extended the story into a series. At first, I wondered how she would make a second book, but the ending made it clear. She presented a good conclusion, wrapping up the story like a fairy tale, but also presented a slight problem that I’m sure will be addressed in the next book. I don’t think it will really follow the whole Beauty and the Beast story, but I think it’ll be okay. I liked this book, but not as much as a lot of other readers. While others raved and hyped up the book, I just thought it was alright. It wasn’t horrible, but it wasn’t my favorite either. I think I’m going to gauge other readers’ reactions when the second one is released before deciding whether or not I’m going to continue the series.




I didn’t like Harper at first, but I admired her bravery, quick-thinking, and loyalty to those she loves. It was only when she began to reveal more of herself throughout the story that I started to like her. She’s passionate

Prince Rhen

I wanted to hate this dude. On the outside, he seems like a gigantic butthole. However, underneath that facade, there’s a man tired of the curse, tired of being judged, and just trying to solve the mistakes he made years before. He truly cares for his people, despite what others think, and you can’t fault him for what he does.


If you have a curse that turns you into a beast, you want a friend like Grey. He’s loyal to a T, and will try and cure his best friend’s curse so matter the cost.



I give this story 4 out of 5 unicorn horns. I really enjoyed the story, despite my disappointment.



Until next time….


7 thoughts on “A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer | Book Review

  1. justonemorepaige 09/11/2019 / 9:48 am

    I just finished this one and really liked it! I enjoyed the grey areas introduced as well, especially in the way it ended. Also, I thought the CP rep was fantastic – well integrated and realistic.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jessica 09/13/2019 / 1:15 am

      I thought the gray areas added a unique touch to the story that I don’t see often in YA book. I also agree about the CP representation. I think everyone needs a hero they can relate to, and Harper just adds to the (hopefully) expanding list. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. theorangutanlibrarian 09/16/2019 / 4:01 pm

    I completely agree with you here- I liked the book, but I didn’t love it as much as other people. I think it was a pretty straightforward too. I think my expectations were too high as well. Awesome review!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jessica 09/17/2019 / 5:41 pm

      Thank you! ❤
      I felt a little bad when I wrote this review because I thought other people would be disappointed in me for not liking the story as much as they did… I'm glad I'm not the only one that didn't like it as much as the general public did.


      • theorangutanlibrarian 09/17/2019 / 8:58 pm

        You’re welcome! 💖 I completely get what you mean, especially cos there wasn’t anything necessarily wrong with it, it just didn’t jump out at me, you know?

        Liked by 1 person

        • Jessica 09/18/2019 / 9:46 am

          I totally understand where you’re coming from! 😆


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