Books

A CURSE SO DARK & LONELY (CURSEBREAKERS #1) by Brigid Kemmerer narrated by Kate Handford (Harper), Davis Brooks (Prince Rhen), and Matt Reeves (Grey)

I love folk tales and I love to see what talented authors do with their retelling.

Beauty releases the prince from his beastly curse. Artwork from Europa’s Fairy Book, by John Batten (1916)

This version of BEAUTY & THE BEAST was amazing! It was so refreshing NOT to have a Disneyfied poufy-dress-and-jewels retelling of BEAUTY & THE BEAST, but one which featured the gritty reality of living in the Late Middle Ages/Renaissance (from about 1400 to 1600).

But it was the three main characters who really made this novel.

Harper (the BEAUTY character), from a drug-infested corner of Washington DC (DEEH-see) is transported to an enchanted realm (Emberfall – where it is always Autumn, hence the name) when she wields a metal pipe at a mysterious man who is attempting to kidnap a girl from the streets of DC. But what makes Harper so great (apart from her badass character) is that she has cerebral palsy, but still manages to be the strong, amazing character that she is.

Like THE LION, THE WITCH & THE WARDROBE, Emberfall is ruled by an evil enchantress. But instead of having permanent winter, we have permanent autumn.

Prince Rhen, the nominal ruler of Emberfall is destined to repeat the 18th year of his life until he can find a young woman who truly loves him. Towards the end of every season, he becomes an out-of-control monster who kills everyone. Author Brigid Kammerer writes with great empathy about his plight. Rhen is the consummate gentleman, a prince who cares deeply about his own people. Yet he is powerless to prevent himself from becoming the monster.

Grey, his devoted guardsman, is an honorable, duty-bound young man who would lay his life on the line to save his prince. He would be completely boring were it not for the fact that Harper teases out his hidden side – a mixture of dark humor and compassion – that seems so at odds with his “scary grey” image.

Yes, this has the makings of a love triangle, but it is not typical and NOT boring. Five stars.

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Categories: Books