A Curse so Dark and Lonely is a Beauty and the Beast retelling with a modern twist. Literally, Emberfall exists on another plane while our other main character is from our modern world.
Harper comes from our world and after trying to save a woman from being kidnapped ends up in Emberfall. Emberfall is in the midst of a crisis and for the prince his last season to break the curse. In the beginning, I felt like she needed to settle into herself. There was something about her character that was putting me off. It took a couple of chapters before that feeling went away.
She really started to settle once she tries to run away and makes it to the tavern. She begins to find herself in this world even with the invention of the Princess of Disi (D.C.). They manage to fool everyone with a possible arranged marriage and a powerful fake foreign kingdom.
Rhen, the prince of Emberfall has been stuck with this curse for many seasons. His only companion is his head guard Grey. He spends most of the novel hiding behind a mask to protect himself. He protects his friends and his people from the one who cursed him Lilith.
Grey was such a mystery for the most of the novel. The most we knew about him was his powers to traverse between realms, his loyalty to Rhen, and his de facto position of Captain of the Guard considering the rest were dead. His plot twist at the end was not as shocking as it could have been because they did leave clues hidden around the pages of the book.
They did include a love triangle, but it wasn’t the typical love triangle. In the beginning, while I knew that Rhen and Harper would most likely end up together, there were some moments that I questioned that. There were some pretty heavy hints that Grey had feelings for Harper and I wondered if this book would forsake the usual outline and have them fall in love. Would Rhen give up his chance to break the curse and find love was some of the biggest questions I had.
In a way, he did give it up. He tried to tell Grey to go for it, but Grey couldn’t do that to his prince. Rhen gave up his chance to try and end his curse before he could hurt anyone else. He jumped off the side of the castle, hoping that ending his life would end the curse on his people. It didn’t work and the only person who could get through to his monstrous self was Harper. It took Grey bringing her back to this realm with a few stragglers.
This book is mostly about confidence and how to believe in yourself and those around you. They wanted to defend their country and they had to figure out a way to do it. It took a lot of Harper trying to convince them, but in the end it did work. They were able to create an army and bring life back into their people.
I would give this book a 4.5 out of 5 stars. Mostly because of how Harper was written in the beginning and because I felt there were a few places the novel could have cut out.
If you like fresh takes on remakes especially Beauty and the Beast then I would check this book out for sure. Plus there is a sequel in the works that I am so excited about.