A Curse so Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer – Book Review

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☆ ☆ ☆ STARS

For those of you who may have tuned in to my posts this last week, you may have noticed that ACSDAL is a book that I’ve been going up and down over. First I hated it and put it down. In a fit of stubbornness, I picked it up again and soon got enveloped in its subtle dark tones and great illness rep for Cerebral Palsy. I was enjoying it!

Then came the ending. I can only say that my feelings left over from ACSDAL are: slightly angry, frustrated and yearning for an alternate scenario in which I could change everything that happens after 75%. So be prepared… this is going to be an up and down review!


HARPER – Was such an amazing heroine. She was strong in spirit and will, while still being inordinately kind and loyal considering her circumstances. Harper truly embodied what disability rep should be about in books. There was no hiding her illness. Rather, ACSDAL painted her as a heroine who truly challenged her limitations while embracing all that she was. Her illness was a part of her and always would be.

RHEN – Was my least favourite character. Honestly, characters for me are a huge factor in my enjoyment of a book. I don’t necessarily have to like them as people but I do generally need to respect their POV or see a good character arc. I felt like this was missing with Rhen. He did have some development, don’t get me wrong. But it seemed like he was CONSTANTLY doubting himself. Even when everyone was rooting for him and things were finally going his way. I honestly don’t think the ending could have been possible if he was doing things alone. I can’t say the same about Harper or Grey.

GREY – My absolute favourite character. I’m HOPING and PRAYING that he’s going to get a bigger part in the next book. I really, really wanted to see something happen between him and Harper. THE SPARKS WERE THERE. I’m going to give the next book a try and hope that good things happen between them!

SIDE CHARACTERS – There were a host of great side characters in this book that made me adore Emberfall. From Freya to Jameison to Zo. They were resilient in the face of Emberfall’s slow downfall and they had become stronger for it. I loved how they banded together and were willing to risk it all for the sake of freedom and prosperity.

What I loved: I loved that this book had some pretty epic characters with solid story arcs. I’m a complete sucker for that! I also loved the disability rep with Harper’s Cerebral Palsy and how this wasn’t ignored, patronised or made her appear ‘lacking’. It was dealt with respect and embraced as something that made Harper more resilient in life. I also thought that there was a decent amount of action in this story from about the halfway point onwards. There were some surprising moments which I hadn’t been expecting but enjoyed immensely!

What I disliked: Oh boy. The whole first half pretty much. RHEN. If Harper and Grey weren’t so damn great I’d have DNF this book at 30%. The pacing seemed a bit off in the first half and things were a bit too slow for me. I have to admit though, I’m not usually someone who is a fan of retellings so this one is probably on me. For those of you who like, or at least don’t mind, retellings this would probably be a great read!

Overall, I mostly enjoyed this book once I really got in to it. I disliked the ending and its predictability since I was anticipating something more original and inventive. Despite this, Harper and Grey are phenomenal and I’ll check out the next book just for them!

// have you read ACSDAL? what were your thoughts on it? //


31 thoughts on “A Curse so Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer – Book Review

  1. Great review! I read this in the beginning of the year when I was first started my blog, I think I gave it four stars but I felt the same as you about Rhen. He was so closed off (if I remember right) and Grey is why I want to read the sequel! 😬

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I totally feel you! I was kinda bored reading the beginning of the book. And because of that I didn’t really care about the characters at the end! So this book didn’t really work for me..
    Great review!


    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Evelyn! I’m glad I wasn’t the only one 😂 Also I saw a post notification for your review of Unearthed the other day and I’m about to start the book. I’m keen to read your thoughts on it and am going to check it out now! 💙 Jen

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Great review, Jen! Sorry to hear that you didn’t love this as much. This one immediately sucked me in but I totally agree about Rhen. Like, if there were teams, I’d absolutely be on Team Grey 😂 I was really rooting for him and Harper, but I’m hoping something good happens for him in book two as well!🤞🏽

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Dini!! I adored Harper and Grey too! I was hoping to have Rhen die and then Grey save the day 😂 I’m hoping for that in the next book things heat up between Harey? Garper? They both sound weird 😂 thanks for commenting! 💙 Jen


  4. I’ve been really curious about this book especially because I’m one who actually really enjoys re-tellings, but I’m having some troubles making up my mind if I should read it or not . . . I’m not a fan of predictability, and I had the problem you had with the characters in another book in the past, so I’m feeling like I should skip this one for now. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for Grey, though, so you will enjoy the next instalment more!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Silvia! 😊 Yeah it might not be your cup of tea then… but don’t just take my word for it. You may end up liking it? It’s worth a skim read of the first chapter in a book store at least 😂 Jen


  5. Great review!!! I also gave this three stars because while I loved adore the of it (hello amazing disability rep) I also found it quite stereotypical. At times it really felt like I was rereading SJM’s A Court of Thorns and Roses. Which okay… They’re both retellings of beauty and the beast… But there was something missing with regard to a unique twist on this story for me. I think absolutely all of us fell in love with Grey while reading this book!!! 😂😂😂 Fab review as ever <3333

    Liked by 1 person

    • I had the same thought about it being stereotypical. As much as I love SJM it did seem quite the same. I would have loved for a massive spin at the ending! Maybe the next book will have a spin like ACOMAF with Grey?! I can only hope 😂💙 Thanks Emer!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I pretty much felt the same. It just needed something more when it came to Rhen. I also am not really a fan of retellings and since Beauty and the Beast is my favorite movie, its just hard to like any retelling around that.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ooh I know what you mean! There needed to be an extra spark and surprise near the ending I think 😊 I love Beauty and the Beast too! Belle was always my fav as a fellow bookworm 💙 Jen

      Liked by 1 person

    • I had similar thoughts before trying it, too 😂 I think it depends on whether you mainly read and enjoy a story for characters or action more. If you prefer the latter then this may be a bit slow for you. If it’s the former then there are some beautifully written characters that might make it worth it! 💙 Jen

      Liked by 1 person

  7. oooh I love that you reviewed this so much. I was about to put this up and have read so many up and down things about this. i’m still going back and forth with myself. the disability rep is always a great thing.
    thank you for the great review!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Amanda!! I was way up and down on this too – even while reading it 😂 I’m hoping book 2 picks up on all the good parts (Harper and Grey!). You could always wait until it comes out and then see if it’s worth investing in the series? 💙 Jen


  8. Ooooohhh very interesting! I literally JUST heard about this book & added it to my TBR about 10 seconds ago hahaha 😂 Keen to see how I feel about Rhen – I’m the same as you, I can’t really enjoy a series if I don’t like the character 😕 Awesome review!

    💛 Ngoc

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Ngoc! 💙 that’s uncanny timing 😂 I’m hoping you enjoy Rhen more than I did… he’s central to the book and was a big influence in most of my issues with it. Grey is amazing though! 💙 Jen

      Liked by 1 person

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