Published: January 29th, 2019
Synopsis: One night, Harper is kidnapped from Washington DC and finds herself in a world with magic. She is the captive of Prince Rhen, who is trying to break a curse laid on him, and his captain of the guard, Grey. In this Beauty and the Beast retelling, Harper, Rhen, and Grey must figure out how to break the curse and save Rhen’s kingdom.
As you could probably tell by now, I really love retellings, so I was super excited to read this book! I had also seen some pretty good reviews about it. I did overall enjoy it while I was reading it, but looking back, there were definitely some things about it that irked me.
The Good Things!
This book was fun and exciting to read! It’s almost 500 pages and I finished it in less than two days, so that says something. I also thought that it was a cool take on The Beauty and The Beast. The curse turns Rhen into a monster only at the end of the season. This was interesting because in the original, the goal is to fall in love with a beast, but in this book, the goal was to fall in love and love him even when he was a beast.
I really liked that Rhen and Grey where prince and captain of the guard. That is a set up I have enjoyed in the past (*ahem* Throne of Glass *ahem*) and I am sure I will enjoy again. I think it adds an interesting element to their relationship.
I liked the cerebral palsy aspect of Harper’s character, but I did feel like it could have been expanded on a little more. Not to say that something like that (any sort of diversity really) needs to be expanded on to have it worth it in a story, but it was brought up but then kind of forgotten about toward the end.
I did really enjoy the dual points of view in this!! This is a style that I see way more often in contemporary romance books, but it worked really well for this! I don’t often see it in fantasy, so I enjoyed this aspect of the book.
The Bad Things 😭
I think the world building was just not there for this book. I could never really picture the setting, which is not something I normally struggled with, but it felt like Emberfall was just a generic castle. The magic also seemed pretty loose, like it just wasn’t explained enough for my taste.
I have such a problem with authors repeating words because once I notice it, I will never be able to not notice it. (Side note: when I reread the Throne of Glass series, I counted how many times “armed to teeth” was said because I noticed it once and couldn’t unnotice it. It’s in the series 11 times, by the way.) Harper calls Rhen “calculating” at least four times, and the kicker is that she really had no reason to call him that. He never really came across as calculating in her point of view chapters.
Other than my hate for repeated words, I just felt like I needed more development for the characters, relationships, and plot. Rhen and Harper’s relationship felt weird to me and there weren’t any really good character arcs.
Overall, A Curse So Dark and Lonely was enjoyable while I was reading it, but I don’t know if I would ever feel the urge to reread it. There will be a sequel, which I am undecided about. I was hoping for this story to be better, but it was by no means a bad book!