A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer
Genre/s: Fantasy, Young Adult, Retelling
Publication Date: 29th January 2019
Published by Bloomsbury YA
A Curse So Dark And Lonely is a reimagining of the classic Beauty and the Beast with much darker themes. In this novel the 'beast' is forced to live the same Autumn season over and over, each time a new girl is stolen away to the court and held as prisoner in hopes of breaking the curse. And each time more and more chaos and bloodshed ensues.
I was intrigued to find out that this is set in modern times. Where 'the belles' are taken from our world and taken to another land. The protagonist Harper is from the states, DC to be precise, and comes from a hard life, where she helps her brother care for her sick mother. Harper also has Cerebral Palsy, which is amazing representation in itself, however there is even more wide representation in terms of the characters sexuality and race. For example Harper's brother Jake is gay and has the most wonderful relationship with his boyfriend. I can't speak for how well done the representation is specifically because I can't personally relate to these circumstances, however from what I've read in this book I would say that I think the author took care in making sure everything was written delicately and also truthfully.
'We are not always presented with the choices we want, but choices exist nonetheless.'
We have multiple perspectives weaved into the novel, and our other protagonist is obviously 'the beast', which I loved because most retellings I've read in the past don't delve so much in to the beasts thoughts and emotions. This took the story to a whole new level and I loved Rhen's point of view. Each season Rhen starts off physically as the man he always used to be and slowly progresses into a different form of monster, losing all humanity and killing anything that gets in his path. In addition I adored this very unique and much darker take on the tale and thought the author did an excellent job at bringing it to life.
The only problem I really had with this was that at times the writing seemed slow and at certain points overly drawn out, however I do see how this made the plot seem much more well developed and put together in the long run. And the action and faster pace in the second half of the book certainly made up for this.
I loved how the romance in this is so realistic and well done, again it felt like such a unique take on the original tale. I believe there is going to be a sequel and if that's the case I'm very excited to see how Kemmerer continues to develop the relationship further and drives forward the story from where it leaves off at the end of this book.
Overall I loved this unique take on one of my favourite stories and am thrilled to say that I'll continue reading whatever Brigid Kemmerer puts out because she constantly makes me fall in love with her characters and she can without a doubt write fantasy just as well if not even better than she can write contemporary!
Content warnings: Abduction, death, murder, gore, torture, abuse, attempted sexual assault, sexual assault, talks of suicide, cancer, and ableist comments. (All of these things in my opinion are addressed well and confronted in the story, but please do be aware that these are present themes going into this book.)
Rating = 91%
(All quotes are subject to change upon publication)
Thank you to NetGalley and Bloomsbury UK for giving me the chance to read an early copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Thank you for reading!