The book of the month for the February Fairy Loot Box is A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer. Once again I participated in the read along. Each day I wrote out my thoughts on the chapters I read and have included them below. I have not included summaries because Anissa did such a good job. If you’d like to read them click on the day and it will take you to the Fairy Loot post for the day!
I already knew that this book was a Beauty and the Beast retelling. It guides the book along. By the end of the first chapter I am hooked. I love the world and the characters. Very good, relatable, different, and likable. I’m really rooting for Rhen. I’m not a huge fan of the disability thing. I understand what the author was trying to do, but I just don’t like it when things try to push their agenda on you. I feel like it’s not a necessary flaw. Maybe it will become more relevant(it does). Harper is definitely a Belle character. And I loved that momma, Freya. She’s awesome.
Today we found out the monster always takes different shapes. Also in the kingdom of Emberfall, 5 years have passed since Rhen was cursed. Rhen is jealous of the way Grey and Harper get along. Harper tends to push his buttons and has so many questions spilling out of her brain. She’s also fighting feelings for Rhen.
One thing I love about this retelling is that there is so much at stake. That Rhen’s only hope is Harper to not only save him, but also his kingdom. I am afraid Lilith is going to end up killing Grey before it’s over though. I am excited we have a plan and so much is happening!
I could not stop reading this book! I have a feeling I’m going to finish this book way early (two days early in fact). Oops! So I was afraid for Grey and Harper when Lilith showed up. Harper is lucky to have only a scratch. And I just love Freya! She’s amazing. And now we’ve put the plan into action. I am definitely loving all of the feelings between the characters. On the blog for the read along, someone mentioned that the Queen of Syhl Shallow might be the big bad. That hadn’t even crossed my mind. Can you imagine someone being worse than Lilith? When Harper and Rhen are attacked I was trying to go to bed. I looked over at the Viking and said “I can’t stop there!” I am definitely thinking this is a five star book. Thank you Fairy Loot!
Thank goodness there are two more days in the read along. Because holy crap this is intense. Lilith is showing up every night and showing Rhen all the times he’s killed people as the monster, and the state of his people as he has hid in the castle. To save him Harper invites him to sleep in her room and Lilith leaves them be. But she is sad she no longer has a play thing to torture. So she goes ahead and decides to give Harper what she had asked for originally, to go home. She cannot stand the idea of Rhen being able to break the curse, I think.
While I don’t agree with the character I definitely see her view point. She was obsessed with the prince and paid the guard (Grey) off that night to let her into his chambers. When he did not love her she took out her vengeance on him. She made the comment that if he’d just fallen in love with her this could have been over long ago. (I doubt it). Now Rhen’s fallen for Harper and Lilith is jealous and sends her away which of course will trap Rhen in the curse.
When Harper asks Grey to take her home he refuses. (Yay Grey!) However, Rhen orders him to and gives her plenty of silver and jewels to pay off her family’s debt. As he’s telling her this they finally kiss! And then she cuts her hands on his scales, which he’s never had before. Harper is so hurt emotionally that he hid this from her. Before Grey and Harper leave, Rhen reveals Queen Karis wants to meet at sunrise. So Grey must hurry back and also before he completely changes into the monster so Grey can kill him. There’s so much going on!
So Harper tells Grey to return in 24 hours to take her back to Emberfall and I am ecstatic! Seriously at this point I am tossing around the idea of just calling into work so I can finish the book (I don’t because you know I’m an adult). And then Grey returns and they meet with the Queen. She reveals her father used to pay tithe to her and there is a bastard running around somewhere. After that Prince Rhen orders Grey to drink some alcohol with him. A lot of the people partaking in the read along have talked about there being feelings between Grey and Harper. I feel like he saw who she could be and figured if there was any chance of breaking the curse she was it. And as Rhen describes her “she is compassionate and kind to everyone she meets.”
I also love that he’s never looked down on her. This is where the disability comes into play. Just because she has a physical hurdle to jump over doesn’t mean that she is useless or unlovable and maybe that was the point of that flaw, instead of trying to push an agenda like I had thought earlier in the story. So Rhen tells Grey to go find Harper when it is all over, that there’s a spark there. Then because of the alcohol, Grey tells him that Harper asked him to return that night and it gives Rhen some hope. Lilith takes this opportunity to show up and taunt Rhen. He has enough and slams her through with Grey’s sword and leaps up to jump off the cliff. Instead of falling to his death he turns into a monster with wings (I’m imagining a giant white scaled dragon).
Back in DC (so want to write Disi instead), Harper’s mom is on death’s door and wakes only momentarily to tell Harper and Jake she loves them before she passes. Jake listens to Harper’s story and thinks she’s insane. He goes to wait with Harper for Grey to return. Over two days later he does finally come for her and is severely hurt from Rhen’s claws. All I could think is this is it, here he dies. But Noah, Jake’s boyfriend, stitches him up. Then Harper learns what’s happened and definitely wants to go back to Emberfall. At one point she calls it home.
Then some of those debt collectors show up wanting to know where that stuff came from and Grey pulls all four of them to Emberfall. Jamison is there with a group of soldiers. the last chapter is Rhen as the monster and he thinks of Harper, maybe somehow he knows she’s there. I have to keep reading. How does it end? I have to see if Harper can do it. Can she learn to love a monster?
Harper is able to speak to Rhen and he recognizes her. But no matter how hard she tries she cannot force herself to love him and he does not change back. However, they do attack Queen Karis’ army and get them to retreat. And Harper just about dies in the process.
When she wakes up Lilith is outside and taunting Rhen and Grey. She goes to stab Rhen and Harper dives in front of him and gets stabbed instead. At the same time Grey grabs Lilith and takes her to Earth and kills her. And the curse is broken. The thing I love about this is we don’t actually know whether Harper is in love with Rhen and her act saved him or if when Grey killed Lilith all her magic died with her. But the biggest twist of all is Grey and Rhen are half brothers! I did not see that coming. But some of the other Fairy Loot readers guessed it.
Rating – 5 Stars
I loved this book from the very beginning. At the end of Chapter 2 I can remember breathing a sigh of relief. This is how books should be. They should make you excited and sweep you away to a different world! I love being so caught up in a story (and truthfully, almost a week later, I’m still thinking about it!). I love the feeling of having to battle with myself to put a book down. Books like this are why I blog. They’re why I love reading sooooo much! Books like this are truly priceless! And good news there is a second installment coming out in January 2020. And even more good news, one of the items in the April box is from this book. I can’t wait!