a curse so dark and lonely


A Comprehensive Review: A Curse So Dark and Lonely

“A Curse So Dark and Lonely” is a captivating novel that has gained a fair amount of attention in the literary world. This book, written by Brigid Kemmerer, is a modern-day retelling of the classic Beauty and the Beast story. Intrigued readers have been captivated by its compelling characters, fascinating world-building, and engaging plot. This article provides a comprehensive review of A Curse So Dark and Lonely, analyzing its key aspects, including the plot, characters, writing style, and more.


“A Curse So Dark and Lonely” is a novel set in a parallel universe known as Emberfall. The story centers around Harper, a young woman from modern-day Washington D.C., who is unexpectedly transported to this magical world. In Emberfall, she encounters Prince Rhen, who is under a curse that transforms him into a monstrous beast each season unless he can make someone fall in love with him. The novel provides a fresh take on the traditional Beauty and the Beast narrative, offering a unique blend of fantasy, romance, and young adult fiction.


The novel begins by introducing Harper, a young woman with cerebral palsy. She is portrayed as a strong, resilient individual, unfazed by her disability. The story takes a dramatic turn when Harper tries to save a stranger on the streets of Washington, D.C., and finds herself abruptly transported to the magical kingdom of Emberfall.

In Emberfall, Harper meets Prince Rhen, who is under a curse that forces him to relive the autumn of his eighteenth year over and over again. The curse transforms him into a monstrous beast at the end of each season. The only way to break the curse is for someone to fall in love with him. However, after numerous failed attempts, Rhen has lost hope.



Harper is the story’s protagonist and the novel’s “Beauty”. She is presented as a strong, persistent character, not defined by her cerebral palsy. Instead, her disability is an integral part of her character that she manages as a part of her daily life. Harper’s strength and resilience are compelling, making her one of the most relatable characters in young adult fiction.

Prince Rhen

Rhen, the cursed prince and the novel’s “Beast”, is a complex character. He was once a spoiled prince, but his character evolves significantly throughout the story. While initially portrayed as cold and detached, Rhen’s interactions with Harper reveal a more vulnerable and empathetic side. His character development is one of the novel’s most intriguing aspects.


Grey, Rhen’s loyal guard commander, also plays a crucial role in the story. Despite his stoic exterior, Grey has a soft side, and his relationship with Harper adds an interesting dynamic to the narrative.

Writing Style

Brigid Kemmerer’s writing style is engaging and vivid. The story is narrated from the alternating perspectives of Harper and Rhen, each with a distinct voice. Kemmerer’s descriptive language paints a clear picture of Emberfall’s setting, making the readers feel as if they are part of the story. The pacing of the plot is well done, with a good balance of action, suspense, and romance.


“A Curse So Dark and Lonely” explores numerous themes, including love, bravery, and resilience. The novel does a great job of portraying love as more than just a romantic feeling; it’s about understanding, acceptance, and sacrifice. The theme of bravery is also prominent, with both Harper and Rhen showing tremendous courage in the face of adversity. Furthermore, the novel emphasizes resilience, as the characters constantly strive to overcome their challenges.

Disability Representation

One of the novel’s standout aspects is its representation of disability. Harper, the protagonist, has cerebral palsy. The novel does not shy away from discussing her disability, but it is not her defining feature. Instead, it is merely a part of her character, and she is shown to be just as capable, if not more so, than her able-bodied counterparts.


“A Curse So Dark and Lonely” has received generally positive reviews. Readers have praised its engaging characters, well-developed plot, and the unique twist on the classic Beauty and the Beast tale. Some readers, however, felt that certain aspects of the plot were unrealistic, and that the antagonist was somewhat one-dimensional.


In summary, “A Curse So Dark and Lonely” is a captivating novel that offers a fresh take on the classic Beauty and the Beast story. With its engaging characters, intriguing plot, and thoughtful representation of disability, it’s no surprise that this book has garnered so much attention. Whether you’re a fan of fantasy, romance, or young adult fiction, “A Curse So Dark and Lonely” is a must-read.

Additional Information

For those interested in reading “A Curse So Dark and Lonely”, it’s worth noting that it is the first book in a series. The sequel, “A Heart So Fierce and Broken”, continues the story, focusing on the character of Grey. So, if you find yourself captivated by the world of Emberfall, there’s plenty more to explore in the subsequent books.