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.
“The choices we face may not be the choices we want, but they are choices nonetheless.”
There are so many retellings out there in the world, especially of Beauty and the Beast. A Curse So Dark and Lonely brought something different though. First off, I loved that this mixed high fantasy and urban fantasy. Urban fantasy is one of my favorite genres so I was happy to see it incorporated here.
The characters: Rhen, Grey, and Harper are an amazing set of characters. All three of them are flawed in their own way, but strong. I adored the dynamic between all three. The friendships. They made my heart happy. I’m pretty sure the next book will focus a bit more on Grey, and I can’t wait to learn more about the grumpy guardsman. I loved seeing how these three dealt with the curse, all of them experienced so much despair, guilt, and loneliness.
Harper was a badass, I loved the fact that author included the cerebral palsy rep. She was strong and brave throughout. Rhen was angst-ridden and troubled. He had so much pain in him it was impossible not to fall for him. Grey was a gem. He was even-tempered, and his loyalty to Rhen was amazing to read.
The plot: I won’t say too much because spoilers! But this did follow the traditional Beauty and the Beast plot, i.e. Rhen must fall in love to break the curse, but there’s a darker tone to it. There’s also a focus on saving the kingdom of Emberfall from the creature. I thought the pacing was well done. When the action was slower we got to see Rhen, Harper, and Grey slowly learn to trust each other.
“Rhen,” she calls after me.
I pause in the doorway and face her.
“I’m not going to fall in love with you,” she says.
Her words are not a surprise. I sigh.
“You won’t be the first.”
This is one of the best retellings I’ve ever read. I definitely recommend it!