A Curse So Dark And Lonely is the first book in The Cursebreaker series, which is a young adult fantasy trilogy by Brigid Kremmer. It was published in 2019 by Bloomsbury and was nominated for the Goodreads Choice Award for Young Adult Fantasy and Science Fiction in the same year. A Curse So Dark And Lonely is a uniquely imaginative take on Beauty And The Beast where alternate realities collide to create an empowering fantasy adventure.
Synopsis: Harper Lacy is a strong-willed girl from present day Washington D.C. She and her older brother have to deal with many hardships at home including caring for their sick mother, whilst also dealing with the threatening loan sharks of their absent father. Harper is courageous and caring, yet she is constantly underestimated because she was born with cerebral palsy.
Until one day, her fate gets entwined with Prince Rhen, heir to the throne of a medieval and magical land called Emberfall. Prince Rhen was cursed by an evil enchantress to continually relive his eighteenth year until he finds a girl to fall in love with him. He soon learns that Harper isn’t the type of girl who can be easily swayed but more importantly, that she possesses a strength that could save his broken kingdom.
This book references many other works of fiction but does so in a way that felt very much its own. It paces itself slowly and only starts to gain momentum later on in the story but this completely worked for me as I was able to immerse myself fully in the world-building and the characters. A Curse So Dark And Lonely brought a refreshing and inclusive take on those conventional fairytale troupes that render lovers of the genre smitten.
Harper and Rhen’s characters showed the most amount of depth and development for me. Unlike some of the other characters in this story, i.e. the enchantress Lilith, I felt like there was a definite sense of intent behind their story arcs. They weren’t written in a way that only served to embody a very typical character stereotype, that while entertaining has very minimal substance.
Overall, I was deeply impressed by this book and it certainly exceeded my expectations. The story was told in a simple, straightforward way that was equally affecting and easy to devour within a matter of days. Also, I loved the diverse representation in this book, particularly the way in which it juxta poses having a physical disability with strength and courage. The ending was wonderfully done, such that I felt closure at the end but simultaneously felt excitement at the prospect of continuing the series, which I most definitely intend to do!
⭐️⭐️⭐️💫 (3.5 stars)
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