Title: A Curse so Dark and Lonely (Cursebreakers #1)
Author: Brigid Kemmerer
Genre: Fantasy, YA, Retelling, Romance
Publisher: Bloomsbury YA
Publication date: January 2019
Paperback: 496 pages
My Rating: ★★★



Fall in love, break the curse.

Cursed by a powerful enchantress to repeat the autumn of his eighteenth year, Prince Rhen, the heir of Emberfall, thought he could be saved easily if a girl fell for him. But that was before he turned into a vicious beast hell-bent on destruction. 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 constantly underestimating her because of her cerebral palsy, Harper learned to be tough enough to survive. When she tries to save a stranger on the streets of Washington, DC, she's pulled into a magical world.

Break the curse, save the kingdom.

Harper doesn't know where she is or what to believe. A prince? A curse? A monster? 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 Curse so Dark and Lonely is a unique reinterpretation of the classic fairytale of Beauty and the Beast. The world created by Brigid Kemmerer was much darker than I expected which made this story even more enjoyable. Combining the traditional aspects of the original tale with a more modern approach worked perfectly in this book and it's fair to say that it captured my attention from the first pages.

“The choices we face may not be the choices we want, but they are choices nonetheless.”

In this story, the prince, Rhen, is cursed by a witch to find true love before he can turn into a savage beast and destroy Emberfall (his kingdom) and his people. It sounds easy enough but there is one twist to it, he must find a girl to love him before the end of a season (roughly three months). So far three hundred seasons have past and he still couldn't break that curse, because he seems too arrogant and the girlS he chooses fear him too much when they see him turn into a monster. The only person close to him is Gray, his last remaining loyal soldier. That is until Harper, a young teenager from Washington, DC, who Gray kidnaps and brings by mistake to Emberfall, for a new season. Confused at first, Harper slowly begins to get a grip on where she is and what is happening and while she does not trust the two men in whose company she finds herself, she wants to help break the curse and save Rhen's kingdom (of course, she is unaware that Rhen can turn into a monster and that, in reality, she should fear him).

"The girl will be gone, and the season will begin again. I’ll be newly eighteen. For the three hundred twenty-seventh time."
I loved Harper's bravery, even if sometimes she acted on impulse and was a bit reckless. Harper has cerebral palsy which, following several surgeries and other treatments in childhood, causes her to limp. But that doesn't deter her only makes her fight harder. And Rhen is the perfect broody hero, he is a broken soul, prayed on by an evil Witch. He is overwhelmed by guilt because his people suffer because of his curse. But underneath it all, he is gentle and caring and my heart broke for him so many times while reading this book. Also Gray was definitely an interesting character, intriguing and mysterious, always willing to sacrifice for his prince but there was something in his actions and his bearing that made me think there's more to him than meets the eye.

“Failure isn't absolute, just because you couldn't save everyone doesn't mean you didn't save anyone.”

Told from dual POV, which I enjoyed a lot, this story started off slow but by the end, the action hit in full force. The world-building was great, the plot had some twists and turns and was definitely angsty and suspenseful. I wanted more romance, though. I liked the interactions between Harper and Rhen (and I think they make a great couple), but they were too scarce, and I felt like she spent to much time in Gray's presence, to the point that I almost thought that there was a spark between them. The ending left me confused about whether Harper loves Rhen or not, but I guess I'll find more answers in the next book of the series.

“When the world seems darkest, there exists the greatest opportunity for light.”

There's a lot of gory stuff here, from the hacking, stabbing, and devouring to a sadistic villainess who makes her victim spit blood just for the fun of it. But I enjoyed it a lot, and I can recommend it to anyone who loves Beauty and the Beast retellings!