An interesting take on a tale as old as time.
The novel revolves around Harper, a plucky teenage girl, and Rhen, a cursed prince. Harper lives in Washington, D.C. with her ailing mother and a secretive brother, and unexpectedly finds herself in Rhen’s world and trapped in his castle. In her desperate attempts to escape, she discovers how the curse grips his kingdom and leaves them facing a monster century after century.
In the first few chapters, I was thrown off by the sudden plot. The action hits quickly, and I was left confused and curious about where the story would go. Harper and Rhen are in completely different worlds, so it was a mystery for quite a while as to how she got to his enchanted kingdom without the ability to return. As I progressed deeper into the story, I became hooked. I loved that Harper wasn’t your average heroine; she had a mild form of cerebral palsy and came from a disadvantaged background but she never let these two things define her. On the other hand, Rhen was the perfect, handsome, moody prince reminiscent of the Beast from the story we all know.
Without delving too much into the curse or why it was cast upon Rhen, readers will come to realize that he is a truly selfish, entitled prince that’s afraid to fail. Harper instantly recognizes this from the very beginning and calls him out on it several times; this is not your typical Stockholm Syndrome romance. Each season is about three months long and if Rhen fails at his task, the monster wreaks havoc and the cycle starts again. The character development could have been a bit more pronounced, but you do see a friendship begin to blossom between Harper, Rhen, and Rhen’s commander, Grey, when she decides to help the townspeople recover from the curse.
In this new world, Harper, resigned to her fate, becomes like a warrior princess with weapons training and a growing knowledge of battle politics. I loved that she grew into herself, and learned to show her tough skin when previously her brother had always treated her like a fragile object. This book had me hooked, and I eagerly look forward to the sequel!
Pre-order A Curse So Dark and Lonely from Book Depository to get free worldwide shipping!
Publication date: January 29, 2019