Note: This review is spoiler free (spoilers are all marked and have warnings)!
Book: A Curse So Dark and Lonely
Author: Brigid Kemmerer
Age: For readers 13 and up
Rating: 2/5 Stars
Out of all the books I’ve read in 2021, I think ACSDAL takes the title for “worst book I’ve read this year”. It was just so mind-numbingly boring and the same Beauty and the Beast retelling that has already been done like 20562754934 times. The only reason this book wasn’t a dnf was because I was forced to read it as my choice book for english class. The cringy dialogue, the boring plot, and the bland characters had me on the verge of falling asleep. There is literally no substance to this book.
What I hated:
“Most of the girls Grey drags from her world won’t touch a blade or bridal, and instead gravitate to finery found within the lushly outfitted wardrobes inside Ironrose Castle. This early in the season, the other girl would sit by the hearth and gaze at me over crystal goblets, while I’d pour wine and tell them stories with just enough devilishness to make them blush. If I’d put a crystal goblet in this one’s hand, she’d likely smash it and use the shards to cut me”.
Oh that makes PERFECT sense. So the other girls he kidnapped and forcefully took to his castle were totally fine with it! 😄 Yah because everyone is just dying to get kidnapped by hot and handsome Rhen 😫 Ugh please. 🙄 Having the other girls blush and swoon over Rhen is just to create an exaggerated comparison of how Harper is “not like other girls'' because she is more stubborn than them. But the way she acted after getting kidnapped by these two is not anything extraordinary. She was mad at them (rightfully so) but that didn’t seem like a far fetched reaction. I mean, if anyone was kidnapped wouldn’t they also be mad at their captors? Would ANYONE sit and blush at their captors?!?! This trope just grated on my nerves when I read cringe worthy lines like those. Rhen be like: OoOooOoo HaRpeR is DiFfereNt aNd SpEciAl BeCaUsE ShE AcTuAlLy AcKnOwlEdgEs ThAt I’m A DouCheBaG.
Here are some other cringy “not like other girls” lines. CAUTION: Read these at your own risk because you might die out of cringe. (Also the quotes might be considered a very very mild spoiler)
"Did you play cards with the other hundreds of girls?"
That surprises me. "Why not?"
He rubs at his jaw. "That is a complicated question, my lady. Likely for the same reason I never found need to face them with a weapon."
"She is interesting."
My eyes flick up. That's not a word I've ever heard Grey use to describe one of the girls. "Interesting?"
WOW! So SpEciAl and DifFeREnT.
2. Rhen: "I will not force myself on an unwilling girl." OH MY GOSH HE’S SO RESPECTFUL! So respectful he kidnaps girls and forces them to live in his castle for months! But that doesn’t matter because at least he won’t force himself on Harper! The bare minimum! What a kind guy! 🤠 👍
3. The Most YA Book Ever: This book has to be the MOST YA thing I have read in a while. It has all the elements to make the most horrific, juvenile YA book out there. I felt like the author treated this book as a potion and then added all the ingredients to make this book a typical, boring, enemies to lovers fantasy. There’s a love triangle, there is the “not like other girls” trope, there is “enemies to lovers” trope where the two are enemies for like two pages before they somehow fall in love. I’m telling you guys, this book is BAD.
4. The Romance: I refuse to acknowledge that this is considered romance. I’d like to call it hot trash instead. Typical enemies to lovers where they hate each other and then suddenly have one very very miniscule romantic moment that makes both of them love each other. Blah. This is why I’m starting to really hate enemies to lovers.
5. Plot: Plot? What plot? I don’t remember anything interesting happening in this book
What I liked:
Definitely avoid this book.
Red Flag #1: It is an extremely hyped book on Booktok and Bookstagram. That should already tell you how bad it is.
Red Flag #2: ANNOYING CHARACTERS
Red Flag #3: No plot whatsoever
Therefore, do not read this. You can thank me later. But if you still want to read a book where all the magic is sucked out of the Beauty and the Beast fairytale, then be my guest (haha get it? The Beauty and Beast song?)
Even if someone paid me to read the second book, I don’t think I could finish it. I somehow managed to finish the monstrosity of the first book and still be alive. No way am I ever reading the second book.
6/26/2021 06:49:04 pm
Well written review. It was well done and gets the main points across without giving spoilers which is very much appreciated. Your review scale is super helpful!
6/27/2021 08:16:33 am
Thank you so so much! This really made my day :)
6/28/2021 05:30:43 pm
I completely agree beauty and the beast retellings have been done a million different times. While I was reading it, it reminded me a lot of ACOTAR. I also agree that there wasn’t really a plot. I feel like the ending was rushed.
6/29/2021 07:27:15 am
I've heard a lot of others tell me that this reminded them of acotar too! While I am an established acotar hater, I must admit that it was so much better than ACSDAL. At least the first book in the Acotar series was somewhat fun to read unlike acsdal lol!
6/29/2021 05:37:04 am
I agree with this. I think I don't have as much of an issue with the "not like other girls" trope, simply because that's kind of the point of a lot of these YA books--the heroine IS not like other girls, and that's why they're the main character. However, as you mentioned, I hadn't really thought about it in terms of every-girl-he-kidnapped-before-was-just-okay-with-it. That seems a bit sus to me.
6/29/2021 07:29:34 am
I agree that the heroine should be different but this book felt like it was boasting her "tomboyish" skills and made it seem like most girls are just ditzy idiots. Thats the problem I mainly had with the trope! Glad you agree about the part where all other kidnapped girls went along with Rhen's plans! :)
6/29/2021 08:12:26 pm
This is a very well written review. Back then I feel like I enjoy it more heheh, but the second book kinda let me down so I DNFed it. And for the retellings aspect, I fell like it such a fresh thing to do but definitely not my fav
6/30/2021 08:06:08 am
Thank you so so much! Yah I'm not even going to attempt the second book after reading the first one.
7/1/2021 06:13:21 am
Love ur review🥰🥰 and I completely agree about the romance. I mean I am a huge fan of enemies to lovers trope but this kinda a mess and barely having a chemistry😭😭
7/5/2021 07:11:03 am
Thank youu!!!!! And so glad you agree! Idk how anyone can ship Rhen and Harper when they have no chemistry and are sooooooo boring
7/1/2021 08:06:46 am
I agree with basically everything you said minus the plot. Rhen and Harper are super annoying but not the main main characters for the rest of the series. So it’s a severely ok prequel essentially to the moderately interesting duology of the rest of the series.
7/5/2021 07:12:36 am
They’re not the main characters for the rest of the series?! THAT’S AMAZING! I hate them as main characters... they’re so bland. Thanks for telling me!
7/5/2021 08:02:01 am
Great review! I agree with you on basically all the points; as much as I love retellings (even when they're similar to each othere) this one really didn't do it for me. There were some cool moments, but the rest was quite boring, and the characters where pretty much a mess. I don't think I'll continue the rest of series 😕
7/8/2021 10:54:16 am
Thank you so much! Glad you agree :) Yah this book and the characters was just not done well! It was disappointing because I was excited for this book!
7/6/2021 07:47:42 am
Your review made laught, I love it. I completely agree with you on how annoying it can get. I enjoyed reading it thought because of the general idea and because it was a light and pleasant read.
7/8/2021 10:55:36 am
Aww thank you! Glad I could put a smile to your face! Yah lol I was so annoyed with this book 😂
7/10/2021 08:46:30 am
I’ve read the series and I did enjoy it. Can’t say that it’s one of my favourite though. But to each their own right. And btw I really love your honest review. Many people don’t like Rhen and I can definitely understand that.
7/11/2021 06:28:08 pm
Thank you so much! Totally fine if you loved the series ☺️ I respect your opinion!
7/11/2021 04:24:39 pm
You said it perfectly that Rhen is “bare minimum”. I couldn’t quite describe what I felt BUT he was just “bare minimum” in respect, in character, in actions. I wanted to be swooned but he was forsure barley reaching the marks.
7/11/2021 06:26:52 pm
Thank you so much!! Glad you agree with Rhen! He literally was so annoying and praised for the littlest things 🙄🙄
7/12/2021 05:13:51 am
First off, thanks for stopping by my Instagram!
7/15/2021 08:01:30 pm
UGH thank you!! The not like other girls trope was getting on my nerves and I’m glad you agree 💕 And for sure! The representation in this book was the only good thing about it!
7/12/2021 06:32:55 pm
I have not read this one yet but this is a really well written review! You made some great points on some bad tropes in the YA genre.
7/15/2021 08:02:23 pm
Thank you so much!! For real! I’m so tired of the same tropes in all ya books
7/15/2021 12:43:01 pm
I agree with everything you said!!
7/15/2021 08:05:03 pm
Thank you!! I was literally yawning the entire book lol 😂 And I agree! Alina, even if she is kind of boring at times, is WAYYY more interesting Harper!
7/15/2021 02:19:23 pm
These points are completely valid, I will say though, those girls that Grey kidnaps are supposedly drunk when he takes them. So, I’m assuming their not thinking clearly at all.
7/15/2021 08:10:18 pm
Ok good point. But still the way Rhen talked about them it seemed like they never got angry during their entire stay (which would be around 2 months). By then they wouldn’t be drunk anymore and should have been angry at being kidnapped.
7/15/2021 04:56:35 pm
I agree with you about the absolute cringy parts of this book and it took a while to actually want to read, however i think the main reason i kept reading was because of the world i thought it was very nicely built.
7/15/2021 08:07:43 pm
Haha glad to see someone agreeing with how cringy some of the scenes were in this book!
9/3/2021 08:04:37 am
I actually loved a curse so dark and lonely however I dnfed the next book in the series. I thought a curse so dark and lonely was well written, entertaining and like you, I loved the cerebral palsy representation and how it wasn’t the main aspect of Harper’s character. I did think the second book was unnecessary though, and Brigid was creating problems to write more books when she could have tied it up nicely and had a great fantasy standalone.
10/1/2021 07:46:45 am
I also agree! This series really should have ended at the first book. I couldn't even get through ten pages of the second book lol
12/8/2021 07:53:33 am
Wow! I see why you didn’t like it-
3/3/2022 06:33:48 am
Hey! Your review is great! I loved how you mad your points clear but still managed to not sound disrespectful!!👍🏻 Props to that! Although I quite enjoyed the book I think you stated several valid aguments! And I do agree that it wasn’t the best book either😅 I was especially confused by the “love triangle… until the very end I could not for the life of me ge behind who the actual love interest would be😂 I always thought… well maybe there’s a twist and she ends up with The guard (can’t remember his name sorry😅)
3/6/2022 07:24:21 am
I see your points, but I personally loved this book. I think since I love fairy tale retellings, I just enjoyed the story. I'm currently reading the second book and enjoying it.
I did really enjoy this book because it was like junk food, hah. And the whole kidnapping thing is nuts but here’s a different viewpoint. Spoilers:
3/31/2022 04:18:05 pm
Oh I agree with so many of this, yeah! The 'not like other girls' thing was especially frustrating for me. I personally liked some of the stuff they explored and some parts of the second half (butalso I know I'm slightly biased because of how much I didn't like the other two, personally, so I tend to look at this with rose-colored glasses), but yes a lot of this? Yeah.
4/1/2022 10:04:39 am
I love how you've written this. I enjoyed the book (not my fave overall but made me laugh, I didn't DNF, & I didn't hate the prose-how I judge books) , but I think it's for the exact reason you listed: it's the most YA book. It hits *all* the tropes, even the bad ones.
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