Ok so ya’ll know that, based off of a lot of my past reads, I seem to like the idea of retellings more than the actual retelling itself more often than not. Honestly, so far I’ve pretty much only enjoyed the Lunar Chronicles retellings by Marissa Meyer. Well Queen, move over because the crown belongs to Brigid Kemmerer now!
Holy crap this book blew me away! This is easily one of the most confident 5 stars I have ever given any book, ever. And ya know, I read this book ages ago, and I’ve read the sequel A Heart So Fierce and Broken and now I’m waiting ever so patiently for the third book, A Vow So Bold And Deadly to come out. But I realised that I never got round to posting my review! Shock! Horror! Well, I’m fixing that right now!
Also, I did a video review of A Curse So Dark and Lonely too – so if you wanna watch, here ya go!
Here’s a bit of personal backstory about this book before I get started. I got this because the Boof wanted to buy me a book, and he knew I wanted this one. Only problem was, he had no idea what it was called, or who authored it. All he knew was that it was a beauty and the beast retelling and the cover was blue. He searched the entire YA section in the bookshop and eventually found it. I was so happy to have it…and then I slept on it for like, 2 months! I’m so annoyed at myself! But, I guess that means I had less time to wait for the sequel so…win?
So, as mentioned earlier, A Curse So Dark and Lonely is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast and I was a little nervy going in to it because BATB is my favourite Disney animated classic and I’m trash for it. I didn’t want this to be yet another lack-lustre retelling that didn’t to the Disney classic justice. But I had no need to be nervous. This is AMAZING! If you haven’t read it yet, move it to the top of your TBR pile, immediately!
There are many impressive things about this book, but perhaps the most impressive thing is how this story, one could say a tale as old as time, seemed 100% new and unique to me reading this. HOW do you make such a well know story seem so new?! Queen Kemmerer managed it easily.
Ok, I need to break this review down into categories because I’m all over the place with excitement and gush!
The writing: AMAZING. Enchanting. Almost lyrical, yet still accessible. 477 pages FLEW by! I genuinely got upset when I had to put this down! I was hung on every, single word.
The characters: I love them all! Duh. We have representation that doesn’t feel like it’s checking a box or being put in for the sake of being put in. Harper has Cerebral Palsy. It’s relevant in parts of the story where it needs to be, and not in others – it’s almost like cerebral palsy doesn’t define Harper as a character (yes, that was supposed to be sarcastic). I’M SO HAPPY ABOUT THAT!
Rhen is the perfect balance of broody yet approachable, he’s perfect in his imperfections. Grey is such a great character. He lays the intermediary between Rhen and Harper so well, probably because he jumps into Harper’s world quite a lot, so is a little more versed in it all. Their relationships together are so genuine and natural. Nothing feels forced, it all flows so well!
Let me just say that there were plenty of moments where I swooned for Rhen and Grey!
Lilith is an evil bitch and I love her too!
The Story: Soooo romantic, without being a romance-heavy book. Oh. My heart! I love this book. Did I mention that? Ok, so yeah – it’s a BATB retelling, so romantic love is obviously going to be a theme, but there’s so much more love here! Family love, friendship love, love of yourself, love of a country, learning to love, oh- it’s so magical!
A Curse So Dark and Lonely is a beautiful, atmospheric, broody, romantic read!
I genuinely don’t think I have anything negative to say – nothing ‘real’ anyway. Sure I could say ‘it wasn’t long enough’ or ‘the wait is too long for the sequel’ but they aren’t legit negs.
This is THE fairy tale retelling I’ve been waiting for. And it’s beauty and the beast too?! I’m so glad I live in a world where this book exists! It’s the pinnacle that all YA fantasy should aim to emulate.
It also won my Best Book of 2019 award!
I really wanted this review to be as well constructed, thought out and elegant as the book, but I can’t help but fangirl all over the place. So to try and stop myselfr from repeating myself over and over again, and as I can’t seem to get any other coherent thought other than ‘omg you guys should read this book! It’s amazing’ out – I’m gonna stop this here.
I wish I was more sophisticated – but this book has taken all my words, all my swish and I’m a mess! I can’t wait to revisit Emberfall!
Also A Heart So Fierce and Broken is every bit as good as A Curse So Dark and Lonely!
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