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Partial synopsis provided by Goodreads.
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Series: A Curse So Dark and Lonely #1
Author: Brigid Kemmerer
Publication Date: January 29, 2019
Publisher: Bloomsbury YA
Page Count: 496
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Retelling, Romance
Cover Artist: -
My Rating: ★★
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review from Netgalley. Thank you so much!
Content Warning: Abduction, Torture/Assault (by the antagonist), Death.
You alone can break this curse. You must find a woman to love you.
Who doesn’t love a Beauty and the Beast retelling? Everyone, right? Normally, I do (except for A Court of Thorns and Roses). Reimagining a tale as old as time should be something that breathes new life into it. A Curse So Dark And Lonely may have been a little dark and a little lonely, but not enough to pull me into its depths. Everything that was in this book has pretty much been done before. Nothing really sets it apart from anything else I’ve read. There was only one real surprise throughout the entire story. Up until about 80% through the book, I was bored as a gourd.
I really don’t have a lot to say about this book. The one main thing I liked most would be that the main character represented the Cerebral Palsy community. How well represented, I cannot say. I felt at times there were inconsistencies with depiction. I understand the basic effects that this may have on the human body, but I do not know these details intimately. I can only go off how much and when this factor was brought up and discussed throughout the plot–and it felt lopsided. At times, Harper’s disability was talked about in excess, but there were other times where it was nonexistent. In general, there was a lot of telling, and not showing with the characters, actions, and setting. One example–for whatever reason, I thought Harper was a male character at the beginning of the story. I’m not sure if it was me not paying enough attention, or the writing, or a combination of both. But every time I was reading from Harper’s perspective until she arrived in EmberFall, I didn’t recognize this fact. (It probably would have helped if I had read the synopsis better…)
Unfortunately, I really didn’t like Harper, or any of the characters that much. While she was much more developed than the other characters, with having more of a backstory along with her brother. The two had been in trouble for a while, as their father left after their mother had been ailing with cancer. Despite this face, I felt especially Harper’s interactions with other characters to be rather childish and it became quite annoying after nearly 500 pages of dialogue. When Harper referred to Grey, Rhen’s captain of the guard, as a “scary man,” I was like…
It escalated rather quickly for me… But, come on. We aren’t all twelve! I mean, Grey is literally 300+ years!? He’s no little “scary man.” I can’t even type this without bristling. On top of this, the main romance, which is supposed to be iconic, wasn’t, because of this very nature. I was glad, however, that the romance was kept at a PG level, with only some kissing.
Character portrayal overall wasn’t very strong. The antagonist, Lilith, was awful. Supposedly being this mega-powerful witch of the age, she was petty and one-dimensional in nature. Her cruelty was without merit, and forced her into being a sadistic being. Rhen, the “beast” was less likeable than Grey, his commander and personal guard. I liked how Grey respected his word, no matter what. If anything, his loyalty and sense of honor were good examples of a respectable character, even if he had made mistakes in the past.
One thing which was a huge miss in this book was that there was basically no world building, whatsoever. I don’t know about you, but with a Beauty and the Beast retelling, I BETTER get to be acquainted with the Beast’s magnificent castle. The little that was divulged wasn’t executed well. The author only included what was necessary to the plot, rather than cater to genuine wonder.
Overall, this book left me wanting a lot more, especially for an original plot. This book simply did not deliver that. Nor did it entice me to read about these characters in the books to come.
Sexual content: Kissing.
My Rating: ★★
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