Review: A Vow So Bold and Deadly (#3) by Brigid Kemmerer

Goodreads | Bookshop.org

Emberfall is crumbling fast, torn between those who believe Rhen is the rightful prince and those who are eager to begin a new era under Grey, the true heir. Grey has agreed to wait two months before attacking Emberfall, and in that time, Rhen has turned away from everyone—even Harper, as she desperately tries to help him find a path to peace.
Fight the battle, save the kingdom.
Meanwhile, Lia Mara struggles to rule Syhl Shallow with a gentler hand than her mother. But after enjoying decades of peace once magic was driven out of their lands, some of her subjects are angry Lia Mara has an enchanted prince and a magical scraver by her side. As Grey’s deadline draws nearer, Lia Mara questions if she can be the queen her country needs.
As the two kingdoms come closer to conflict, loyalties are tested, love is threatened, and a dangerous enemy returns, in this stunning conclusion to bestselling author Brigid Kemmerer’s Cursebreaker series.

A Vow So Bold and Deadly is the conclusion of the Cursebreakers series, a fantasy story loosely reminiscent of Beauty and the Beast. This series has been really enjoyable so far, and I’m glad to finally be able to say I’ve finished reading it. I was also glad to find out there will be more books set in this series, in the Forging Silver Into Stars series set in the same world.

I definitely enjoyed this final book more than the second one, A Heart So Fierce and Broken. We had more of an equal balance of POV between characters, which I really enjoyed. It was great to see more chapters following Harper and Rhen, which I did miss in the second book.

I know trust is not something you win once, 

I once again really enjoyed the writing and the world-building, which gives these books a real comforting feel and is reminiscent of many YA fantasy books. I actually really enjoy this – this whole series feels unique while still feeling familiar.

I did enjoy the romance in this book, but I also felt like there was a slight lack of character development. This could be a risk of having (at least) four POV, and not being able to focus too much on specific characters.

but is instead something you must earn over and over again.

Overall, this one was entertaining but didn’t blow me away. At the end of this series, I definitely liked A Curse So Dark and Lonely the most and neither the second or the third book has quite lived up to the feeling I had from re-reading the first one. But I have enjoyed all of these books, and found them very easy to read.

★★★★
4 out of 5 stars

-Beth

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Review: A Curse So Dark and Lonely (#1) by Brigid Kemmerer

40891244

Goodreads | Waterstones

PRINCE RHEN, the heir to Emberfall, is cursed. Forced to repeat the autumn of his eightenth year over and over, he can only be freed if a girl truly falls for him, and fter so many failures his kingdom and its people are barely holding on.
HARPER’s life has never been easy, but she’s learned to be tough enough to survive the streets of Washington, D.C. When she is sucked into Rhen’s world, nothing is as it seems. Piwerful forces are standing against Emberfall … and it will take more than a broken curse to save it from utter ruin.

I read this book a while ago, and I finally got around to re-reading it before continuing with the series. I’m glad I re-read this one, because I didn’t remember everything about the book, and purely because I enjoyed my time re-reading it.

A Curse So Dark and Lonely is a Beauty and the Beast retelling that does stick to the original fairytale with some unique twists. One of our main characters, Harper, actually comes from Washington DC in the real world, and is dragged into a fantasy world that exists alongside our own. Because of this, and because Brigid Kemmerer also writes contemporary, I do find her fantasy books read very easily and quickly.

We are all dealt a hand at birth. A good hand can ultimately lose – just as a poor hand can win – but we must all play the cards the fate deals.

I found A Curse So Dark and Lonely like being wrapped in a warm blanket. I just found it really comforting – partly because it does play into some tropes and YA fantasy cliches, but I honestly didn’t mind it this time. It did mean this book didn’t turn out to be quite a 5 star because it wasn’t surprising or unpredictable enough for me, but I did really enjoy it.

I once again liked our main character of Harper and found it really interesting to read about her disability throughout this book. I also loved Grey, who is so sweet and protective. I didn’t love Rhen, but I did feel a lot of sympathy for him by the end of the book, which is something Brigid Kemmerer does well.

The choices we face may not be the choices we want, but they are choices nonetheless.

I’m so glad I picked this one back up and I’m really looking forward to carrying on with the story. Although it can be a little cliche, it was so much fun to read and I really enjoyed it.

★★★★
4 out of 5 stars

-Beth

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Review: A Curse So Dark and Lonely (#1) by Brigid Kemmerer

40891244

Goodreads | Amazon

Fall in love, break the curse.
It once seemed so easy to Prince Rhen, the heir to Emberfall. Cursed by a powerful enchantress to repeat the autumn of his eighteenth year over and over, he knew he could be saved if a girl fell for him. But that was before he learned that at the end of each autumn, he would turn into a vicious beast hell-bent on destruction. That was before he destroyed his castle, his family, and every last shred of hope.
Nothing has ever been easy for Harper Lacy. With her father long gone, her mother dying, and her brother barely holding their family together while constantly underestimating her because of her cerebral palsy, she learned to be tough enough to survive. But when she tries to save someone else on the streets of Washington, DC, she’s instead somehow sucked into Rhen’s cursed world.
Break the curse, save the kingdom.
A prince? A monster? A curse? Harper doesn’t know where she is or what to believe. But as she spends time with Rhen in this enchanted land, she begins to understand what’s at stake. And as Rhen realizes Harper is not just another girl to charm, his hope comes flooding back. But powerful forces are standing against Emberfall . . . and it will take more than a broken curse to save Harper, Rhen, and his people from utter ruin.

As always, I can’t believe it took me so long to get round to reading this book. It may have taken me a while to read it, but as a friend put it, I savoured this book rather than rushed through it. And it was still worth it in the end.

A Curse So Dark and Lonely is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast, but it had just the right balance for me of being a retelling and being original. The fairytale aspect was only a small part of the story, which left room for so much more.

‘We are all dealt a hand at birth. A good hand can ultimately lose – just as a poor hand can win – but we must all play the cards the fate deals.’

This world felt so real and beautiful to me, and I pictured it as Hyrule in Breath of the Wild funnily enough. The characters were all great for their own reasons, especially Harper. We don’t have enough strong female protagonists, and having a disabled main character with Cerebral Palsy is so rare, especially in fantasy. Having not got a disability myself, I can’t talk about the accuracy of the writing from her point of view, but I really admired her all the same.

Rhen wasn’t my favourite character, but I grew to know and love him all the same. Reading about him was fascinating, as he turned out to be a different person as the book progressed, but his progression felt entirely natural.

Even though it took me a while to get through, when I did manage to sit down and read, the pages seemed to fly by. So it definitely wasn’t a problem with the pacing, but instead with my situation in the past month!

‘The choices we face may not be the choices we want, but they are choices nonetheless.’

Unfortunately I’m not giving this book a full 5 stars, purely because I didn’t feel quite as drawn in as I’d have liked to. Although my pacing was partly to do with my own situation, I also feel like I could have been more drawn into the story and made to want to pick it up.

★★★★ 
4 out of 5 stars

-Beth

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