Hexes and Hot Guards: My A Curse So Dark and Lonely Review

When I see a book plastered all over bookstagram, I'll admit I get a little skeptical about how good it *actually* is. Many of the super-hyped books I've read were just okay-ish, rather than super mega awesome.

But sometimes I do come across a book that meets my sky-high expectations, and that's what I'm here to flail about today!

Book Title: A Curse So Dark and Lonely
Author: Brigid Kemmerer
Publisher/Year: Bloomsbury, 2019
Genre: Fantasy
Number of Pages (According to Goodreads): 484
My Rating: 5 out of 5

Book description (from Goodreads):
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.

Goodness me, where do I start? I guess the beginning is as good a place as any ...

This Book Grabbed Me By the Throat

Kemmerer does an amazing job of introducing the characters and what they want in just a few pages. The stakes in this book start off high and ratchet all the way up to a fever pitch. By the first couple of chapters, I was hooked like a fish on a line!

The plot only got more twisty from there. Neighboring country invading Emberfall? Possible sekret magic users? Harper having to pretend to be a princess to save the kingdom? Yes! Gimme all of that!

But where this book really shines is ...

How Dare the Characters Be This Well Developed?

I loved getting to know the characters in this story. Fierce, selfless Harper with her strong sense of right and wrong. Prince Rhen, who is totally consumed with guilt and yet manages to overcome his own flaws to help his kingdom.

And GREY!!! My relentlessly tough scary bean who’s actually a huge softie who cares about his friends more than anything *heart eyes* Just to be clear, Grey is MY new book boyfriend, so none of you can have him.

Honestly, the characters are the number one reason that I want to pick up the sequel, cause I just want to hang out with them more. Even if the second book is just 400 pages of them playing cards, I'll eat it up.

I Hate the Not Like Other Girls Trope ... but ACSDAL Is Not Like Other Books

Okay, I'll admit the Not Like Other Girls trope is one of my pet peeves, and this book did kinda veer into that territory at times. Specifically, the characters kept comparing Harper to the women Rhen had previously tried to break the curse with, with the implication that she's Better Than Them because she likes horseback riding and cares about people.

To be honest, though, I couldn’t bring myself to deduct any points for that, especially since Harper is so fleshed out that she didn’t feel like the stereotypical “not like other girls” character. And to be fair, she’s way braver than I could ever be, so maybe she deserves that title :P

Trigger Warnings for A Curse So Dark and Lonely

This book might not be for you if you're sensitive to depictions of violence involving blood and/or sickness and death of a parent.

Final Thoughts

I admit it, y'all -- the hype was right about this one! I have decided that I must have the sequel STAT before the third book comes out in January, so stay tuned for my thoughts on that bad boy (I will probably die from the feels all over again, but oh well).

If you want to grab your own copy of A Curse So Dark and Lonely, check out the links below!

Barnes and Noble | Bookshop.org | Amazon | Goodreads

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