I give her a nod and turn for the door.
“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.”
A Curse So Dark and
Publication Date: 29
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. 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
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.
In all honesty, I am a cynic when it
comes to retellings of the Beauty and the Beast because it is my all-time favorite
fairytale. I was excited when I first heard about this book (because who doesn’t
love the opportunity to relive the magic and beauty of that tale), but I’d be
lying if I didn’t admit that I was also massively apprehensive. This book soared
passed my outrageously high expectations because it was such a breathtakingly
original work of literary magic that I daresay should not even be considered a
The opening chapters describe a scene
where Harper witnesses a man (Grey) attempt to kidnap a girl in broad daylight
in bustling Washington D.C. Even though Harper has cerebral palsy, which gives
her a physical disadvantage, she still holds her own with a tire iron. While
the girl is able to escape Grey’s attempted kidnapping, Harper is the next
victim to be sent to Emberfall.
After reading those opening chapters, I
instantly fell in love with Harper. First off, bravo for the inclusivity of
characters with disabilities. Also, thank you for not making her disability a
crutch or a source of pity. Harper is fiercely independent and will not allow
anything, disability or not, to stand in her way of returning home to her dying
mother and brother who must hustle to pay off their father’s gambling debts.
As the story continues, we are
introduced to Grey, the Commander of the Royal Guard or at least he was before
the creature killed everyone, and Rhen, the Crowned Prince of Emberfall who is
cursed by the enchantress Lady Lillith to become a creature that preys on the
kingdom once a season. Prince Rhen is convinced that the only way to break the
curse is to fall in love.
Cue Harper. Harper does not buy the
whole falling in love to break the curse spiel. She’s been kidnapped for god’s
sake, so why on Earth would she fall in love with her kidnapper?! Instead, after
she learns the state of destitute at which the citizens of Emberfall have
fallen on, Harper takes it upon herself to help the people of Emberfall irrespective
of their impending doom. She may not be able to help them all, but she will die
As the story continues, the layers from
the previous seasons of despair and defeat gradually peel away from both Prince
Rhen and Grey. They accept that this is the final season of Lillith’s torment
and regardless if the curse is broken or not, they will assist Harper in
ensuring that their people are not forsaken.
Contrary to what I originally believed,
this picturesque Beauty and the Beast adaptation was what I needed. The splendor
of this story is that there is no love at first sight. Trust has already been
completely shattered. Yet, you fall in love with the real moments that these
characters have with one another. There’s something magical and enriching about
stories that have relatable characters. I
cannot recommend this story enough. It will definitely be one that people will seamlessly
integrate into their memories of the Beauty and the Beast.
Have you read A Curse So Dark and Lonely? Do you like fairytale retellings? Let’s discuss!