A CURSE SO DARK AND LONELY
I'm not always a fan of retellings, but this one was good. Modern-ish Beauty and the Beast with a heroine who has a backbone.
Prince Rhen is cursed. Cursed to repeat the same season over and over again, while the rest of the kingdom moves on, until he finds true love. Should be easy for a prince, right? Except for the part where he turns into a monster that tears apart his family, friends, and village people. Now, Prince Rhen is cursed and haunted by the horrible atrocities he's committed as a monster but can't remember.
Harper's life is anything but easy. Her mom is dying of cancer. Her dad ran off leaving behind insurmountable debt with a loan shark, and now her brother is an enforcer for the loan shark just to stay alive. When Harper tries to help an unconscious girl on the streets of DC who looks to be in trouble, she's transported to a magical realm she can't believe is real, brandishing a crowbar and willing to fight for her life.
Except...she doesn't need to fight for her life, not really. Not after getting to know Grey, the commander of the Royal Guard, who's compassionate under that stony face. Or Prince Rhen, who cares so deeply about his people that he'd kill himself over and over just to try to help them. But life is full of choices, and Harper faces the hardest one: help the kingdom of Emberfall and maybe fall in love with prince, or return home to her family who needs her too?
I'm having a hard time reviewing the book and I think it's this: the book was good, I'll definitely finish the series, but I wouldn't say it blew me away. I liked how fiery Harper was and how she stood up for herself and others. She had a backbone and didn't let her CP define her or hold her back, or more importantly, let others' perceptions of her CP hold her back. Rhen wasn't a complete shitbag (like the beast in other retellings are) and Grey was an okay character, too. But...that's about all I feel about it. It's written well, it's captivating enough, and it's an easy read, but that's about it. But that could also be because it's a version of Beauty and the Beast, it's the first book for the series, and the next one will be completely new and not based on another story? It doesn't inspire any strong feelings either way, so we'll see what happens with book two.