If you’ve been reading young adults books over the past few years, you’ll know that there are a plethora of fairy tale retellings out there. There’s nothing quite like taking a familiar story and turning it on its head for entertainment. A Curse So Dark And Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer is a well-written, fleshed-out Beauty and the Beast story.
Mild spoilers ahead.
What A Curse So Dark And Lonely gets right: This book provides an interesting look at the classic Beauty and the Beast tale, with several changes such as: more violence, more diverse characters and representation, and a fresh take on the beast’s curse.
The three main characters (Harper, Rhen, and Grey) develop strong bonds with each other over the course of the story. Each character has their own personality and voice, which I chalk up to solid writing.
What A Curse So Dark And Lonely gets wrong: I would love to see my favorite character, Grey, get some justice in the next book. He was, in my opinion, the most fleshed-out and likable character (although I liked Rhen and Harper just fine), and his cliffhanger ending was both exciting and disappointing.
There were definitely parts of the plot that I had to suspend a lot of disbelief on, but hey, it’s a YA fantasy novel. That’s par for the course. It got kind of crazy toward the end, but, to be fair, the author was setting up for another book!
One last thing: I don’t like the title. Just call it “The Curse” or something. There’s way too many nouns + two descriptors in titles these days; just look at Children of Blood and Bone, A Court of Thorns and Roses, Days of Blood and Starlight, etc.
Who should read A Curse So Dark And Lonely: Fans of fairy-tale retellings, YA novels, and fantasy worlds in general.
Who shouldn’t read A Curse So Dark And Lonely: Readers who don’t enjoy fantasy.
Content note: A few mildly suggestive scenes; brief language.