A Curse So Dark and Lonely

A Curse So Dark and Lonely

Book - 2019
Average Rating:
Rate this:
Eighteen for the three hundred twenty-seventh time, Prince Rhen despairs of breaking the curse that turns him into a beast at the end of each day until feisty Harper enters his life.
Publisher: New York : Bloomsbury, 2019.
ISBN: 9781681195087
Characteristics: 484 pages : map ; 24 cm
Alternative Title: Curse so dark & lonely


From Library Staff

CaitlinG_OshLib Feb 20, 2021

A unique and heartfelt retelling of Beauty and the Beast, A Curse So Dark and Lonely is simple in its prose but makes up for it in character development and plot.

A Curse So Dark and Lonely is a YA re-imagining of Beauty & the Beast. Prince Rhen, the beast, is desperate to find someone to fall in love with to break the curse. This was before his nature tore apart his castle and family. Harper, a woman no stranger to bad luck, finds herself transported ... Read More »

From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
Apr 14, 2021

A Curse So Dark And Lonely is a beautiful retelling of Beauty and the Beast. The characters are all so unique and the book provides us with different perspectives and we get to follow their wonderful character development over the course of this book. In this book, we follow the story of Prince Rhen who is cursed, by an evil enchantress, to turn into a beast at the end of every season if he fails to find love. After spending an eternity just living the same season and dreadful fate over and over again he has given up. Then we have Harper, who resides in Washington, D.C. She is a fierce young girl who gets kidnapped by a man and taken to a place called Emberfall where magic exists. She is tasked to make the prince fall in love with her but things are not what they seem. This book kept me hooked throughout. I loved how easy it was to indulge into the world the author created because she described everything so well. The characters were all so beautifully created and it was so easy to just love all of them. I would rate this book a 5/5.
@BookHoi127 of the Hamilton Public Library's Teen Review Board

Mar 17, 2021

Where to begin. I would like to request just a book about Grey that is all.

First off: I thought it was quite inspiring that the female protagonist had cerebral palsy and still fought better than any of the male characters in the book. I mean crisp. I had not read a single book with any mention of this disorder before.

Second: there was a love triangle. Need I say more? I always root for the two people that I know aren't going to end up together but should be.

Third: I wish that aside from Harper and Rhens chapters that we would have gotten Greys. Like he was my fav person in this whole book.

Fourth: World building needed some work. Like where the heck is this place?

Mar 12, 2021

Read for Read woke challenge.

As much as I loved this book it seemed very similar to the ACOTAR series. I also did not enjoy how the main character’s disability was ignored during the majority of the book. But it is one of very few books with representation for us disabled folk.

WPL_Erin Mar 04, 2021

I have....mixed feelings.

First off, I want to love Harper, I really do but I think I just really like her as a friend, you know? There’s just something about her that I just can’t completely get behind as a character for some reason.

Prince Rhen. I’m so sorry, but Rhen is boring. He’s too cliche and I found it tedious and unoriginal.

Grey. Grey is the best character in this story hands down, and I was rooting for him and Harper from the get go. Cmon Kemmerer, throw the story on its head! Make it original! Have the prince learn to love himself or something else entirely because the ONLY character worth reading this for is Grey.

Also, it kind of feels like the poor man’s A Court of Thorns and Roses. Seriously though...Rhen is a less douchy Tamlin, or a more boring Rhys? Grey gives me some major Lucien vibes, Harper is Feyra, Lilith is Amarantha, Freya is Alis and OMG even the names are similar.

I didn’t hate it, but I didn’t love it either. For a second I thought the author was going to go the unique route and then she seemingly brought it back around again, which, I’m not crazy about.

And if there’s a love triangle in the next book I will riot. Love triangles are annoying for everyone involved and I wish YA authors would just have a meeting and agree that they’re gross and overdone.

CaitlinG_OshLib Feb 20, 2021

A unique and heartfelt retelling of Beauty and the Beast, A Curse So Dark and Lonely is simple in its prose but makes up for it in character development and plot.

FPL_Jenni Nov 11, 2020

A Curse So Dark and Lonely is a gripping and refreshing new take on the classic fairy tale, Beauty and the Beast. Kemmerer incorporates minorities, such as disabled characters and members of the LGBTQ+ community, who are rarely ever given the spotlight. This inclusivity and her excellent writing style has brought the pilot novel of The Cursebreakers series a plethora of praise and a spot on the 2020 Texas Lonestar List. With realistic characters and relationships, as well as a dark and gritty plot, it is no wonder that A Curse So Dark and Lonely trended on TikTok for a while, skyrocketing the novel onto the New York Times bestsellers list. A fantastic novel for anyone who would like to experience a more mature retelling of the classic fairy tale.

InnisfilTeenReads Sep 22, 2020

A Curse So Dark and Lonely is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast, the beast being a Prince named Rhen in this book. Rhen was cursed by an evil sorceress and is given chance after chance to find true love with a girl for one season and if they don't fall in love, the season starts over. After multiple failed attempts, Rhen realizes he must put a stop to this as soon as possible now that at the end of each season he transforms into a dangerous beast who has already claimed the lives of his family members and many of his citizens. Harper who lives in Washington, DC has been transported to Emberfalls for the purpose of putting an end to the curse yet she is skeptical of the whole magical world aspect of Rhen's world and does not find Rhen loveable. With so much at stake Rhen must try and win her over! In my opinion, the beginning of this book never had a dull moment and had quite a strong start but as I kept reading I found it got weaker in comparison to the first half. There were many shocking and exciting events that were revealed towards the end which made up for some of the slower chapters in the book. The enemies to lovers romance/slow burn romance in the book was very well written in my opinion and was one of my favorite parts of the book. I think another strong aspect of this book that was quite interesting for me was how well the author slowly unraveled and revealed each character's true personality throughout the book. Their emotions and thoughts were very well articulated and written by Brigid Kemmerer! I especially loved Harper’s character as she was so strong, heroic and loyal making the perfect main character! I also appreciated how the author included and brought awareness to cerebral palsy and showed how no one should be underestimated regardless of their medical conditions. I would recommend this book to those who like slow burn romances, strong female characters and Beauty and the Beast retellings! - Marwa

Ooooookay. Coming in hot with a new favourite. This book is absolutely everything I love about young adult fiction, so prepare for a bit of a swoon session in this review.

A Curse So Dark and Lonely follows Harper after she is abducted by a strange man in the middle of the night. But she isn't the one this strange man originally chose - no, Harper steps in to save another, and from the moment she swings the tire iron at this man, she never stops fighting. She winds up in Emberfall, a world parallel to our own where magic is real and the Prince is cursed. Rhen has a secret that no one can ever know, and when the beast is unleashed, all hell breaks loose for his people; however, if he finds love, his curse will be broken, and his castle released from the spell that keeps it perpetually autumn, over, and over, and over again for all eternity.

This kind of retelling is like a drug. I start reading, and then I can't stop. In this case, the retelling also doubles as a wonderfully written, touching love story with a differently-abled protagonist, a complex prince who has a heart of gold beneath all the angst, and supporting characters who absolutely melt my heart with their dynamic personalities and fire that absolutely springs from the page.

We're all familiar with the story of Beauty and the Beast, but I absolutely love what Brigid did with it here. To have Rhen turn into a different beast every time is such a cool twist, and his dynamic with Grey was just...wow. I felt their relationship just as much as I felt his with Harper, which is saying something, because my god, I swear I spent half this book swooning. A few lines just gave me chills, like when Rhen and Harper are dancing in her bedroom:

"'It's not always this stiff,' she says. 'If a girl likes a boy she'll rest her head on his shoulder.
'Does this girl like this boy?' My voice is light, teasing like hers was, but my question is genuine.
Her blush deepens and her eyes sparkle in the light from the fire. She says nothing, but then she moves closer, until her body is against mine, and her head falls on my shoulder.
Lilith's torture has nothing on this."

Seriously...I just...I don't know how to convey the amount of emotion I feel even just thinking about this story. So I'm going to leave it at that and just say that this was the perfect mixture of fun and emotional, a roller coaster ride of emotions, an excellently-written romp, a swoon-worthy romance, and such a victory for showing differently abled people in roles that are not defined by their abilities. READ IT.

rubydn Apr 03, 2020

This book kept my attention from the first page to the last. I loved the way that the author changed the perspective from different characters throughout the story.

ArapahoeStaff26 Mar 10, 2020

This adventure story starts out with a great nighttime street scene where a teenage girl, Harper, sees what she thinks is a possible sex trafficker kidnapping a beautiful girl. Harper attacks the kidnapper with an iron bar and is suddenly transported to a medieval kingdom, Emberfall, in a parallel universe. Alternating chapters are narrated in the first person by Harper and the king of Emberfall, Rhen. There is a third character, Grey, a guardsman sworn to protect the king, who narrates the last chapter. Curiosity about the details of Emberfall and its surroundings and the evolving relationship between Harper and Rhen and Grey make this a page turner. Rhen is passive and defeated after five years of trying and failing to lift the curse on his kingdom; Harper approaches every situation with selflessness, courage, and imagination. It’s exhilarating to follow the action as Harper pulls Rhen out of his rut and they engage the forces of evil together.

View All Comments


Add a Quote

"May I make an observation?"
My hand goes still on my next card. '"For certain."
She looks across at me. "You just said 'victory'. You didn't say 'love'."
I'm not sure I have a response to that. My initial reaction is to ask why that matters.
My second reaction is to wonder why I ever thought it wouldn't.

ArapahoeStaff26 Mar 10, 2020

"Can't you do something?"
I look away, All my love for strategy is proving fruitless now. "I have nothing, my lady. Nothing I can offer..."
She swallows. "I know. I thought about that...Oh, these poor people."

ArapahoeMaryA Jan 31, 2020

My father once said 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 fate deals. The choices we face may not be the choices we want, but they are choices nonetheless.

Dec 04, 2019

“I am always surprised to discover that when the world seems darkest, there exists the greatest opportunity for light.”

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability
OPL_KrisC May 07, 2019

OPL_KrisC thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at OPL

To Top