Book Review

Review: A Curse So Dark and Lonely (A Curse So Dark and Lonely #1) by Brigid Kemmerer

Rating: ☆☆☆.5
Audience: Young adult fantasy re-telling, no language, a little love, some violence, disability rep
Length: 496 pages
Author: Brigid Kemmerer
Publisher: Bloomsbury YA
Expected Release Date: January 29th, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

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 Lacy. 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. 

*Note: I was given this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher, Bloomsbury YA, for the opportunity to read A Curse So Dark and Lonely. Publication date, length, etc. subject to change.

OVERALL, PRETTY GOOD.

I think the hype from this book did get me a little. I did really enjoy it, and got through it fast, but it wasn’t everything I expected it to be. I was completely pulled in for the first few chapters, and it’s comforting “knowing” (since it’s a re-tell) what’s going to happen and reading the take the author spun on it.

I’ve read a good handful of B&TB (Beauty and the Beast) re-tellings. Everywhere from a loose interpretation (like ACOTAR) to much closer lines (such as Hunted by Meagan Spooner). This falls in the latter category of a very parallel story line.

Some awesome points are the disability representation in the main character, Harper. She has high-functioning cerebral palsy. Harper is capable and strong-minded. Her disability does not define her and she takes it with grace and resilience to still do whatever she wants too. Double points for her love interest, Rhen, never talking down about her either.

I’m not sure that the contemporary aspect (Harper is kidnapped from D.C.) is truly necessary. There wasn’t enough back story to her family, lifestyle, etc. We only know that’s where Grey takes the girls from. I think it could’ve all been done in Emberfall and would’ve still been a unique take on B&TB and would have dampened the “kidnapper vibe.”

I was totally crushing on the castle, y’all it made food every day. Always having food prepared and music to listen too, yeah I could’ve stayed there. Beast or no beast.

Grey should’ve had his own POV. It appears that this is a series (did not know that originally) and he’ll get one in the next book, but a lot of ACSDAL was focused on him, he needed a bigger spotlight. I might have liked him more than Rhen most of the time. He seemed to have a more interesting history that I wanted to know more, more, more of. The twist for him was thrown in so randomly I was thrown off, then realized that must be the set-up for the next book. So I get it, and I love Grey enough to read the next book.

Jake and Noah are a cute addition that I think would be fun to explore their relationship more. Jake was in my face a lot and annoyed me. I think Noah was the real takeaway winner for me. I do think it was a bit convenient that Noah was a doctor *shrugs,* but it worked out fine.

The evil enchantress, Lilith, is cheesy and typical. Her reasons for cursing Rhen were a bit dramatic and petty. Lilith tried too hard and I love to hate corrupt characters which made it disappointing to deal with her.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult fantasy, B&TB re-telling
  • No language; Excessive use of the phrase “my lady” though
  • Romance: some kisses
  • A lot of violence: knives, guns, attempted suicide
  • Trigger warnings: discussion of suicide, and attempts
Book Review

Review: Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

Cruel Beauty

 

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Young adult fantasy, kiss & love scenes, minor violence, no language
Length: 352 pages
Author: Rosamund Hodge
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Release Date: January 28th, 2014
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Based on the classic fairy tale Beauty and the Beast, Cruel Beauty is a dazzling love story about our deepest desires and their power to change our destiny.

Since birth, Nyx has been betrothed to the evil ruler of her kingdom-all because of a foolish bargain struck by her father. And since birth, she has been in training to kill him.

With no choice but to fulfill her duty, Nyx resents her family for never trying to save her and hates herself for wanting to escape her fate. Still, on her seventeenth birthday, Nyx abandons everything she’s ever known to marry the all-powerful, immortal Ignifex. Her plan? Seduce him, destroy his enchanted castle, and break the nine-hundred-year-old curse he put on her people.

But Ignifex is not at all what Nyx expected. The strangely charming lord beguiles her, and his castle—a shifting maze of magical rooms—enthralls her.

As Nyx searches for a way to free her homeland by uncovering Ignifex’s secrets, she finds herself unwillingly drawn to him. Even if she could bring herself to love her sworn enemy, how can she refuse her duty to kill him? With time running out, Nyx must decide what is more important: the future of her kingdom, or the man she was never supposed to love.

— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —

A RETELLING FOR THE WIN.

I’ve heard for awhile now about this book, but didn’t know if I would like it so it sat on my TBR for a loooong time…

I wish I would have read this sooner!! It is definitely Beauty and the Beast-esque. And this was my favorite part.

While the vibe is definitely there, the story played out a long a much different line. The Kindly Ones (somewhere between Fae and Demon), Hermetic language, and Romana-Graecia period were all unique. There is a lot of talk about gods and their dynamic. This confused me a bit because most of it was superfluous. The stories that were necessary I glossed over and wished I had spent more time understanding them to fully unearth the story. But it was too heavy in the folk-lore for me.

“I knew better: there was no power I could buy or steal that would save me from my own heart.”

I adored Ignifex. SO MUCH. I’m a sucker for sass. Especially sass filled evil with a heart. He reminded me of the Darkling (Leigh Bardugo fans out there?). Nyx also held her own. Corrupt hearts was a big theme and the soul of the book. The acknowledgement and appreciation from the main characters for the malice that lies within everyone made for a dark tale. I loved the idea that there’s two pieces to each of us.

Some of the side characters are easy to push off a cliff. Not very remarkable and stand there convincing you to hate them more. Astraia is the most worthy of a good side, but she still annoyed me a lot too.

Without being a spoil-sport this book is not a love triangle. Even if you’re convinced it is. If I had known that beforehand it would have helped me a lot because I almost put the book down. There are also instances of insta-love. While not great, I get it. The book is a standalone. You don’t have the time to make a little more angst of it all. It still played off well and I was able to enjoy a good love story.

A Young Adult book filled with fantasy. No language and the very seldom love scenes are completely glossed over, keeping it appropriate for younger teens. Minor violence, nothing with gore.