Brigid Kemmerer’s dark vision of a beloved French fairy tale…
If there’s one thing that anyone knows about me it’s that I love fairy tale retellings, especially when said retellings stay true to their dark origins. And let me tell you, Brigid Kemmerer’s A Curse So Dark and Lonely did not let me down. Here are some aspects of the story that I found to be particularly outstanding; and don’t worry, I’m not a spoiler.
“Nothing has ever been easy for Harper.”Brigid Kemmerer, A Curse So Dark and Lonely summary
There are no words to describe how much I love Harper. She has faced obstacles all her life, from cerebral palsy to loan sharks, but she manages to make dealing with them look easy! I am envious of her ability to tackle life head-on and the way that she carries herself with so much self-confidence, even when that self-confidence is a mere facade to hide how scared she truly is.
Harper is a fighter, she had to be in order to survive. She’s also fiercely loyal to her mother and brother, the only family she has left, and will do just about anything to get back to them. She carries this mentality with her when she finds herself stuck in a cursed castle, and she does what she does best: find a way to survive. Does she fall in love and break a curse along the way? You’re going to have to read the book and find out. One thing’s for certain, she gets an A+ in my book.
“Before he destroyed his castle, his family, and every last shred of hope.”Brigid Kemmerer, A Curse So Dark and Lonely summary
Every Beauty needs a Beast, and in this book we get a young prince named Rhen. A few words about Rhen before I dive into this: he’s given up. He’s been stuck repeating the same season over and over again in an attempt to break his curse, and he has failed every single time. Now he’s finally in his last season, and all he wants is to end it all.
I love Rhen, really I do, but sometimes I just wanted to reach through the pages and smack him upside the head. Somehow he can read his opponent’s moves before they make them, yet he cannot for the life of him figure out that other people like him for who he is and want to stand by him. Thankfully Harper’s there to help him figure it out, but he underestimates. himself constantly when it comes to being a leader for his people when he’s obviously good at it.
At the end of the book, I really did love Rhen. He was beaten and broken, struggling with so much guilt that he didn’t know what to do, and he manages to move past his past to look towards a better tomorrow.
World building is never an easy task, believe me. It’s difficult to establish a set of rules that have to be followed all the time, not to mention the names and the people and what have you. I think that Brigid Kemmerer tackled this challenge really well by having Harper, an outsider to this strange new world, describe what she’s seeing and equate it to knowledge a young girl from the 21st century would have.
There are some pitfalls to this style of storytelling, as there are with any other style, but it works. I didn’t have to scratch my head and think too deeply about how something would appeal to the senses of touch, smell, sight, etc. The only moments that were a little confusing happened when Kemmerer tried to explain how certain things work. I would go into further detail, but I think that in order to ask that question one has to delve further into the details of the curse, and I’m not here to spoil the story.
All in All…
A Curse So Dark and Lonely was phenomenal, I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to meet a new kind of Beauty and the Beast. And, should you read it, I hope it’s cover to cover.