Harper (18), who has cerebral palsy. lives in Washington DC in a family struggling to make ends meet. One night, when she tries to defend a stranger getting kidnapped, Harper is magically transported to Emberfall to be offered as a potential love interest for Prince Rhen, heir to the throne. Because an enchantress cursed the kingdom, Rhen must constantly relive his eighteenth year until someone falls in love with him. If Prince Rhen doesn’t find someone to love him in the next few months, he will become a beast permanently and destroy his kingdom. In this modern retelling of Beauty and the Beast, Harper must decide whether to save Emberfall from its impending doom or return to her family before it is too late.
BTSYA / Teen Reader (17):
I love all the characters, especially Harper. She is a strong protagonist who can take care of herself, tries to help others in any way possible, and doesn’t let her disability hold her back. The author’s writing style is entertaining and I never felt bored while reading. I was glad to find that this novel isn’t a typical love story where the main character easily falls in love with the prince. In fact, the book didn’t focus solely on romance. Harper’s relationship with Rhen developed slowly as they built up a sense of trust and understanding with each other over time.
My main issue is that it could have been more creative in its structure and more unique than the typical Beauty and the Beast retelling. I wanted to learn more about the enchantress who cast the curse, but her character wasn’t as well-developed as the others. Additionally, Harper and Rhen’s romance wasn’t very compelling for a story in which they were meant to fall in love to break a curse.
Still, this book was fun to read and its characters always kept me wanting to read more. I would recommend A Curse So Dark and Lonely for people who are 14 or older and are interested in fantasy or romance novels. I’d suggest getting this book from a library since it is good for a one-time read, but it is not necessarily something I would read multiple times.
Wonderful, engaging characters await readers who enjoy the dilemmas of curses, a bit of magic, and retellings of classic stories.
This is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast that reverses the premise: the prince must fall in love or be turned into a beast.
Enjoy this for fun. Ask your readers what they think. This version turns the original story upside down. Was it "twist enough" for them?
Teen STAR Review Team, Be the Star You Are!™ . Reviewer's Age: 17
Borrow. An engaging, fun retelling of Beauty and the Beast for fantasy and romance fans.