A Curse so Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer

My very belated review of this lovely book!

One of the reasons I had such a hard time writing my review, is because I read this book as I sat next to my Grandmother the week before she passed earlier this spring. Goodbyes are always bittersweet as they’re often full of such good memories from times past.

When I wasn’t laughing, or crying, I was able to use this wonderful novel as my escape. I know that Brigid has said in interviews that she wrote this as her own escape, a story she wrote because she loved it, and it shows. I love retellings, and her beautiful dalliance with the portal fantasy, between DC my chosen city, and the fantasy world of Rhen was so well done.

I applaud the well written character of Harper, a girl who has had such a hard time lately. The fiesty, smart, heroine was smart, but also gentle behind her brave face. I fierce love of her family was such a balm to me. Her mother dying of cancer, her brother working hard to help them out–even if he’s ended up in a bad situation because of it– truly those relationships were so important to know Harper as a character. Why she fought so hard to go home, how she handles being transported to another world.

Rhen and Grey were a fascinating duo, the bond there, was so strange and yet so wholesome. How they handle the curse that has been placed on Rhen, and the beast. I found myself, like Harper, becoming very fond of Grey. Both boys in a sense have that hard mask, but underneath their characters are extremely faceted. What acts as it’s own character, and therefore influences who they are is the world of Emberfall, and the politics that surround the curse.

I loved seeing Harper throw a wrench in all of Rhen’s plans. I loved watching them grow. This books showcases what hope can do for a country, what hope can do for a person.

The only reason this is just shy of being a perfect 5 stars, because in reality Brigid is a queen of the written word, was what could be said as the climax. To me it didn’t hit with as much of a bang as I was expecting. Everything leading up to it, breathless, and after my heart is screaming! Seriously ACSDAL leaves you on a wicked cliffhanger. Fulfilled, yet dying to know more. I just wish that high point of *ahem*battle*ahem* was just a bit stronger.

I cannot wait to see where we are led to next in Emberfall, just know it’s definitely not a stand alone! I was sorely mistaken when I thought it was. But I enjoyed the world so much I’m dying to go back for more.

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