Tuesday, February 19, 2019

A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer

Rhen is an arrogant prince who has been cursed by a sorceress to relive the same season over and over until he can find a woman who loves him.  Each time he fails, he turns into a monster that attacks and kills everyone around him until the next season starts.  Harper is a young woman who is kidnapped while trying to help another girl.  When she ends up in magical Emberfall with Rhen, she is not only distressed to have been taken from her own world, but she is also worried about her mother who is dying of cancer and her brother who is working for a loan shark.  As she begins to accept that she is trapped in Emberfall, she finds ways to help the people there who are suffering from the absence of a leader and their terror of the monster.  As Harper ventures out into the country, Rhen learns more about his people and comes up with a plan to help them.

This is an elaborate, slightly altered telling of Beauty and the Beast so you can guess the general storyline but there are some other luscious details added.  Harper is a good, strong character who makes impulsive decisions that seem right but sometimes have unintended consequences.  Rhen is swoony pretty much right from the get go but also a little sad and haunted by his past failures and the fact that he keeps eating all his subjects.  I feel like Harper's disability is more token than real representation, but I mostly ignored that.  I also feel like her taming of the beast happened real damn fast but I still liked picturing a big bird-serpent-monster-dragon head-butting her.  What's more, I enjoyed all the supporting cast of characters and watching Rhen become a real leader. 

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