Title: A Heart So Fierce and Broken
Author: Brigid Kemmerer
Release Date: January 7, 2020
Publisher: Bloomsbury YA
A Curse So Dark and Lonely: ★★★★
ARC provided by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.
“Choices are never easy. There are good and bad options, but the most dangerous is to not make any choice at all.”
I love Beauty and the Beast retellings, and I really enjoyed A Curse so Dark and Lonely, so I was definitely anticipating the second installment! I ended up giving it 3.5 stars, which was a little bit of a letdown, but not completely.
AHSFAB picks up right where we left off in ACSDAL. The curse has been broken, and Harper, Jake, and Noah are living at the castle with Rhen. The castle has been returned to it’s former hustle and bustle, and Rhen’s no longer alone. Lilith has not returned – but neither has Grey. Not knowing what happened to the former guard Commander is eating at them both.
But Rhen may have bigger problems. Rumors are circulating that he is not the true heir to the throne, and that the real King has magic in his veins. As the kingdom becomes more and more unsettled, Rhen holds on to his throne tighter and tighter… especially when he finds out that the man rumored to be the heir is no other than Grey.
Grey is on the run, and has no desire to the claim the throne as his own. At least, he didn’t, until Karis Luran and her daughters offer an alliance with Rhen. When he refuses, war threatens on the horizon. It may be that the only way Grey can save his kingdom is by claiming his place as rightful king – and overthrowing Rhen himself.
“The world is full of men who underestimate women. Men who undermine them. I cannot rule from a place of weakness. Id o not have the luxury of mercy and sympathy.”
Ok, let’s start with what I DID like. This book is a total page-turner. I read it in just about two sittings. It was action packed from cover to cover, and the pacing was right on point. And I got what I was desperately wishing for in book one: GREY’S POV. In ACSDAL, I loved Harper, but I was not super sold on Rhen. But Scary Grey? SWOON. I loved Grey in the first book, and I loved him in the second. And I looked forward to every single one of his sections. I also really enjoyed watching him come into his own. He made a great guard for Rhen, but following orders doesn’t allow for a lot of character growth. When he started having to make his own decisions, I fell even more in love with him.
And now for what I didn’t love so much. Remember how I said I loved Harper? Still true. But she was hardly in this book at all! And remember how I said I didn’t love Rhen? Also still true, only so much worse. I feel like whatever character growth he made in book one was…reversed in this one? He regressed and become this power-hungry, terrible, cruel king, and Harper, who in book one was a total BAD ASS, just stood by his side and watched him do it. As for the new characters that were introduced…I didn’t love Lia Mara (one of Karis Luran’s daughters). She just didn’t endear me to her as much as Harper did. I guess I’ll just always be shipping Harper and Grey no matter what happens…
I still think this book was worth reading, and I’ll still read the next book. I’m excited to see where the author takes this story, and to see my favorite characters – now on different sides of a huge brewing conflict – come back to the same storyline. I loved the writing, my favorite characters still felt like my very best friends, and the pacing was fantastic. I hope you enjoy the next installment in this magical retelling!
*Quotations are taken from an ARC and are subject to change prior to publication.
A Heart So Fierce and Brokenwas released on January 7, 2020.