I know I don’t read it or talk about it a lot, but urban fantasy is a great genre. I’m not saying that every UF book out there is amazing, but there are definitely some special ones! Last year, I was lucky enough to receive an ARC of A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer, which was a pretty stellar urban fantasy which actually ended up being more fantastical than urban! You don’t hear me complaining though!
This year I was lucky enough to receive an ARC of it’s sequel, A Heart So Fierce and Broken! I was very excited for this book because while I enjoyed the characters from book one, this book was going to star my favourite! That’s right my Grey-by! (Which rhymes with “baby” by the way).
A Heart So Fierce and Broken by Brigid Kemmerer
Pub Date: Jan 7, 2020
Find the heir, win the crown.
The curse is finally broken, but Prince Rhen of Emberfall faces darker troubles still. Rumors circulate that he is not the true heir and that forbidden magic has been unleashed in Emberfall. Although Rhen has Harper by his side, his guardsman Grey is missing, leaving more questions than answers.
Win the crown, save the kingdom.
Rumored to be the heir, Grey has been on the run since he destroyed Lilith. He has no desire to challenge Rhen–until Karis Luran once again threatens to take Emberfall by force. Her own daughter Lia Mara sees the flaws in her mother’s violent plan, but can she convince Grey to stand against Rhen, even for the good of Emberfall?
The heart-pounding, compulsively readable saga continues as loyalties are tested and new love blooms in a kingdom on the brink of war.
In the sequel to New York Times bestselling A Curse So Dark and Lonely, Brigid Kemmerer returns to the world of Emberfall in a lush fantasy where friends become foes and love blooms in the darkest of places.
GREY-BY! Yes, I still love him. I had my moments before reading where I doubted what I could ever truly like about him, but as soon as I read his first chapter all my doubt flew out the window! Now, I’m not saying my man is perfect, I actually wanted to slap him a couple times in the earlier chapters, but what I admire about him the most is his undying loyalty and his sense of honour. I know, I know–let’s be honest, most of the fictional dudes I like are morally grey (hehehe), but I like to think of myself as a loyal person so I really relate to that I guess. Other than that, he’s broody, secretly charming and does his best to work around the very intense political climate!
Lia Mara, was PHENOMENAL! I loved everything about her! On a personal level, I guess I related to her too. She was very booksy and not at all fiery like her sister (who was tough to swallow for several reasons)! But I think what I loved about her most was her compassion. I feel like people, in fictional worlds and the real one, are constantly trying to portray themselves as cool and tough, with an “I don’t give a shit about anybody” attitude to the world. It’s not exactly the best way to face the world and the book really shows how much compassion is missing in our lives. More importantly it shows how compassionate people see their most glorious trait as a weakness in society. Her journey to finding the strength in her compassion and empathy was truly amazing and I wish to see more of it in other YA books!
Others…Well, the few glimpses we got from Harper were alright. I just think that she was different from the first novel. I missed that sass that she had and instead got this kind of meh character and don’t even get me started on Rhen…I could not with him. And yeah yeah there are *reasons* but ahhh I could not with him. Jake was ugh Jake. I could do without him if I am being 100% honest.
The plot was very politically intense! There were lots of questions that were difficult to answer. Such as choosing the well being of your own nation over the devastation of another. The rift that mistrust causes between a leader and their people. The problem of wanting what’s best for your loved ones but having to go against them in order to achieve it. And most importantly, ignoring the value that you possess when you’ve locked yourself in this box that says you are useful for one thing only. It’s a complex plot, but easy enough to follow. The conflict between nations and people is well drawn out and I liked the suspense that it created between the characters!
The magic was also incredible. I’m still not 100% percent on its origins, but then again my memory is foggy from book one. I still think the exploration of the magic in characters and some special magical creatures was the most fun we had! It was not the most flashy kind of magic, but I really enjoyed it!
It’s a chunky book, but a speedy read. Don’t be intimidated by the size, I flew through this book! The writing is swift and smooth. I’m not saying that its simplicity makes it less fancy, but that is what exactly makes it entertaining. There is a lot of information to get through and Kemmerer doesn’t take up time giving us explanations we don’t need.
The ending was a banger! It hit all the sensitive spots, Kemmerer did not hold back! I totally see why this would be not work that well as a duology. I don’t know who the third book is going to star, but I am excited to find out. I mean, I have a feeling we are going back to Harper and Rhen maybe with some Grey mixed in, but it could also be two totally new characters!
I wouldn’t say there is anything totally terrible that made me knock off the star, but it just wasn’t the full five. I felt like there was something missing. I think it had to do with the magic. There is a lot of history there that is too mysterious. I don’t mind it having an air of mystery, but I am feeling pretty clueless right now.
Overall, I enjoyed this installment immensely, more than the first one. I loved these characters and everything that they stood for! I hope to see them again. If you were hesitant about continuing this series, I highly recommend you do! This book has a lot to offer and we’ve strayed away from the original B&B retelling, so it does offer a new and fresh story line with hints to the old one!
Rating: 4 / 5 Stars
Recommend: YES! It’s fun, fast with fabulous characters!
Let me know what you think! Have you read this? Did you enjoy A Curse So Dark and Lonely? Who is your favourite character? What urban fantasy books do you enjoy? (Let’s be honest though, this one was definitely more fantasy than urban!)