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Publisher's Summary

Bloomsbury presents A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer, read by Kate Handford, Davis Brooks and Matt Reeves.

A New York Times best seller!

In a lush, contemporary fantasy retelling of Beauty and the Beast, Brigid Kemmerer gives listeners another romance perfect for fans of Marissa Meyer.

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 18th 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. 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.

©2020 Brigid Kemmerer (P)2020 Bloomsbury Publishing Plc

Critic Reviews

"Has everything you'd want in a retelling of a classic fairy tale." (Jodi Picoult, New York Times best-selling author of A Spark of Light and Small Great Things)

"I couldn't get this creative, suspenseful take on 'Beauty and the Beast' out of my head." (Sara Holland, New York Times best-selling author of Everless)

"Absolutely spellbinding." (Stephanie Garber, number one New York Times best-selling author of Caraval and Legendary)

What listeners say about A Curse So Dark and Lonely

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

I felt nothing

I had a hard time feeling for the characters in any way. All of the characters would just randomly changed how they behaved without any warning or real understanding. The take on a classic tale was interesting, but that is all this book has to offer.

12 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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There is a major error

Some of the chapters under Monster at the end of the book are missing. All you hear is breathing and gasps. Please look into this problem.

10 people found this helpful

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Enjoyed

I really enjoyed this book. It was a total distraction and really occupied my stressed out mind during the PHE. It provided a mental vacation from reality. Much of the story was enjoyably predictable but the very end caught me off guard.

5 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars

Universal. Unique. Unbelievable.

I know I’m late to the party, but I’m always hesitant to read a series until all the books are out. And this fabulous series is a classic example of why!

⚖️ Plot: I was hesitant to read another retelling of beauty and the beast, but I’m sooo happy I did. And that ending!!! I haven’t read such a good twist in an epilogue in such a long time!

🗺 World: With this starting out in DC and our time, it was easy to relate to. If there was one thing I wish there was more of was more surprise and shock when shifting to Emberfall. I was too seamless and unquestioned to be believable. This would also have been the perfect opportunity to elaborate on the details of the setting and the world.

💑 Characters: This is also probably the best budding triangle I‘ve ever read. Although Rhen was in the lead for most of the book for Harper, there’s just something untouchable about Grey. And I’m dashing over to the next book to find out what!

3 people found this helpful

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really annoying protagonist

I really couldn't simpatize with this main girl, she's kinda stupid and slow to catch things, besides even though she is not in her home/world anymore she keeps acting reckless and doesn't seems to think at what the things she do can bring as a result.

3 people found this helpful

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Not Beauty and the Beast...BETTER!

This book was fantastic. It starts quick and exciting however there are moments in the middle where I want more detailed emotion and interaction from Ren and Grey and Harper. That’s just me. This book is fabulous! The readers could have had a bit more emotion hence the 4 and not 5. Regardless love love love and on to A Heart So Fierce And Broken. Thank you Brigid

3 people found this helpful

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Boring one dimensional characters

*Spoilers ahead!*

This book started out promising but it quickly became tedious. The characters seemed to act in random, unpredictable ways, and because of this, the relationships were not interesting or engaging. The politics of Emberfell and its neighboring rival country were also boring, and too much time was spent discussing plans about the war between the two countries that never seemed to matter.

The whole thing is just so awkward. Why does Wren suddenly care about his people so much after 300+ seasons of isolation? Why does Harper never tell her brother to STFU and respect her decisions? How did Gray know how to kill Lilith in the end? Nothing really added up, and if you were hoping for a satisfying ending then you’ll be very disappointed.

2 people found this helpful

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Wasted credit

I feel like this was a wasted credit. I didn't get into the story. I felt bored.

1 person found this helpful

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Great story, predictable ending

This is a fairy tale retelling, so the plot isn’t anything new. It was an interesting retelling and I throughly enjoyed it. The writing style is very accessible. I love beauty and the beast retellings and this was that!

1 person found this helpful

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enjoyed listening

I wouldn't call this a page turner, and at times the pacing of the story was off, but I did enjoy listening to it. the author did a good job of putting enough of a twist on the classical Beauty and the Beast that I was not rolling my eyes at cliches. The female lead is a fighter and doesn't fall into the young adult mold of no personality. I had hoped that her having a disability would be a larger part of the story, but it did seem to be forgotten from time to time. I'll definitely give the sequel a listen down the line to see where the author takes the story.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Doublespeedson
  • 01-29-20

An easy listen

The performances on this are great and make it an easy listen. The story is Enjoyable, but not brilliant.

5 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Emily
  • 01-28-21

Mixed Emotions

I really wanted to love this book it sounded just so interesting and the fact that Harper has a disability is what really drew me in originally! I feel it was very up and down for every part of the book I did like another thing I didn't pops its head up. The writing was wonderful it was one of my favourite parts if I'm being honest but just certain parts of the plot and narration for Rhen are what drag the rating down for me. she gives such vivid descriptions of everything and it really paints a picture in my head but the constant "My Ladys" grew to be quite repetitive and really took away from the experience. The narration for Rhen was fine when he was just voicing Rhen but the voices for Lilith left a tad to be desired and I found myself cringing on the chapters when he was voicing the monster but all and all an enjoyable enough read and I have book 2 to follow.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Corinne
  • 07-13-20

Wonderfully Imagined.

I read the book and loved it so added it to my audible library too. The world of Emberfall is described in such a way that you feel that you have been. The characters of Harper, Rhen, Grey and too many others to mention are beautifully written and I definitely felt a connection to them. The next book in the series is also a fantastic read and I’m adding that to my audible library too. Brigid is an incredibly talented writer and her characters get under your skin.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Charlotte
  • 03-26-21

Review by The Disney Bookworm

Have you ever finished a book and just felt bereft afterwards? Unable to figure out what on earth you are supposed to do now? That is how I felt earlier today when I finished A Curse So Dark And Lonely.

Brigid Kemmerer's retelling of Beauty and the Beast is the first in the Curse breaker series but it is nothing short of brilliant. It possibly took me 5 whole minutes to buy book 2: A Heart So Fierce and Broken once I had finished.

Now you may have gathered that I have read my fair share of retellings but this one has teeth! Split between Washington DC and the kingdom of Emberfall this is simply 480 ish pages of tension, angst and gritty violence.

Elements of ACSDAL mirror the traditional fairytale : enchantress, tick; cursed Prince, tick; true love is the only way to break the curse, (sickening) tick. However, this enchantress sticks around for a bit of torture, the cursed Prince is more of a beast than you expect and if the girl does not fall in love with the Prince? Then he has to start all over again!

If that hasn't got you heading for your local bookshop then Brigid Kemmerer also throws in a female protagonist with cerebral palsy, an enemies to lovers relationship and torn loyalties wherever you turn.

Kemmerer's characters are incredibly well developed and really seem to stay with the reader. Harper manages to be simultaneously vulnerable and kick ass; Grey is stoic and loyal, barely ever showing glimpses of his true heart or personality; and Rhen is the epitomy of a cursed Prince. You don't want to like Rhen sometimes but slowly you find yourself rooting for him and, maybe even falling a little bit in love with him.

This is a non-stop story with a fast-paced plot that leaves you guessing until the very end... Only to have you reeling at the epilogue. This is no fairytale and love doesn't always save the day!

Now everyone leave me alone... I'm reading book 2!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Carly G
  • 03-16-21

A superb listen

loved this book! beautifully written and superbly performed. if there were more stars to give, I'd give them!

1 person found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Tonia Tsoupaki
  • 01-22-21

Knock off “a court of thorns and roses”

Worse story and characters in general, just read ACOTAR if you want a ya fantasy romance. It’s basically the same book just worse

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Mrs. Katherine Gibson
  • 01-07-21

It was fine

This is like watching a really cheesy rom com, some of it was laughable and chringe worthy, but it was enjoyable for a light-hearted read/listen.

1 person found this helpful

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  • fcon
  • 11-24-20

Good twist on Beauty and the Beast

Really enjoyed this story. Both narrators are very good . Guessed some of the plotlines but enough surprises to make well worth the listen . Will be buying book 2 .

1 person found this helpful

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  • Stacey Rodgers
  • 07-29-20

Mindblown

I am amazed. I have never read a book so much in my life and I think this series is gonna be Awesome!!!! Hope you enjoy 😁

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • susan mckenzie
  • 06-28-21

A beauty and the beast retelling.

I really enjoyed this retelling of beauty and the beast, it has such an incredible spin on a classic fairytale. All the characters were beautifully written, the storyline was very well written. Harper was an inspirational and unique main character, a woman with disabilities that caused her many problems. Yet here she is, a heroine who is fierce and determined. Rhen is a confident and strong character when you first meet him, but the further into the story the more you see his vulnerable imperfections. Together the 2 of them work perfectly as a team, Gray is quite a remarkable character. He is complicated at first, and somewhat of a hot-headed bodyguard to Rhen. I love how the perspective switches between both Harper and Rhen, it makes the story much more enjoyable. This is such a good book, with so many great characters that you can easily lose yourself in their world.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 02-10-20

The female narrator is irritating

The story itself is wonderful, it's a fresh new take on beauty and the beast and from the start I was enraptured. About halfway through the audio book I decided I just simply couldn't listen to the female narrator anymore. Her tone really annoyed me. Bought the book to read instead and loved it!

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • shab
  • 02-26-21

Loved the ending.

The story was written rather well. I liked the females performance,
Overall it was an entertaining listen. I finished it rather quick. I just think everything could have been solved if someone had taken someone somewhere and did what they did at the end.
Regardless, the ending was really good and unexpected. So now I will need to know what happens next.

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  • Sarah A
  • 09-30-20

A MUST READ!

Can I just reiterate how much I ADORE Beauty and the Beast retellings???
They are truly something else. Brigid Kemmerer did not disappoint when she gave us Harper, Rhen and Grey. I LOVE THEM SO FREAKING MUCH! Her writing was incredibly easy to follow. After reading such a dense classic like Anna Karenina, this was a much needed fantasy novel. I enjoyed the world she built so effortlessly. Despite knowing this story (B&B) like the back of my hand, I still found that the twists and turns in this particular instalment surprising. Although, I did guess the major plot twist at the end (AND THAT DAMN CLIFFHANGER!!), it didn't impede my enjoyment at all. The uniqueness of the creature surprised me too. How to take a classic and make it new? Reimagine parts of it and Kemmerer did not disappoint in that manner at all. The representation of disability, in my opinion, was amazing, but could have been delved into a little more. While I cannot speak to the accuracy as I do not know much about cerebral palsy, the fact that a strong female protagonist has it and still saved an entire kingdom is badass and I think this book does wonders in that case. All in all, I'm trash for a classic love story, so would I recommend you read this? HELL YES!

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  • Anonymous User
  • 06-28-20

Loved every bit of it.

Loved it! Great twist on an all time favourite fairy tale (^_^)
Especially love how the heroine is actually disabled and still kicks a**!