An instant New York Times Best Seller! In a lush, contemporary fantasy retelling of Beauty and the Beast, Brigid Kemmerer gives readers another compulsively readable romance perfect for fans of Marissa Meyer.
Fall in love, break the curse.
It once seemed so easy to Prince Rhen, the heir to Emberfall. Cursed by a powerful enchantress to repeat the autumn of his eighteenth year over and over, he knew he could be saved if a girl fell for him. But that was before he learned that at the end of each autumn, he would turn into a vicious beast hell-bent on destruction. That was before he destroyed his castle, his family, and every last shred of hope.
Nothing has ever been easy for Harper Lacy. With her father long gone, her mother dying, and her brother barely holding their family together while constantly underestimating her because of her cerebral palsy, she learned to be tough enough to survive. But when she tries to save someone else on the streets of Washington, DC, she’s instead somehow sucked into Rhen’s cursed world.
Break the curse, save the kingdom.
A prince? A monster? A curse? Harper doesn’t know where she is or what to believe. But as she spends time with Rhen in this enchanted land, she begins to understand what’s at stake. And as Rhen realizes Harper is not just another girl to charm, his hope comes flooding back. But powerful forces are standing against Emberfall . . . and it will take more than a broken curse to save Harper, Rhen, and his people from utter ruin.
I was looking forward to this book since I saw the blurb. It sort of reminded me of Enchanted meets Beauty and the Beast and if you know how I feel about those two movies this would be an MJ book…only thing is I didn’t really love this book.
It’s not bad. I like Brigid Kemmerer’s writing for the most part. Her contemporaries were some of my favorite reads of last years, this book just really drags on its feet and really the first 200-250 pages were a bit of a bore.
All it was was angst. And to be fair, that’s what a fair bit of the original fairytale is (angst). However, I really couldn’t care less for the angst of these characters.
Also, I couldn’t help think that these characters were only slightly different versions of the characters in Kemmerer’s contemporaries.
I did like the disability rep for whatever it’s worth. I’m not going to go into the particulars of cerebral palsy since I do not suffer from it, but I like how it didn’t define Harper’s character. It was just a part of her every day life that she dealt with. It wasn’t a huge part of the story, but at the same time it was a nice deviation from what you normally see in YA MC.
The mechanics of going back and forth between Emberfall and the real world didn’t work for me. In fact, Emberfall didn’t really work for me. The world building was sketchy at best. With YA fantasy, I really don’t have that high of expectations. It’s sort of sad really how low my expectations have gotten but that is the case.
Emberfall is pretty much your stereotypical YA fantasy minus the long lost princess bit. Oh, also besides turning into random creatures and being able to jump worlds the world building really is lacking.
There’s this whole takeover plot line that is very loosely done to the point where one of the big bad is pretty much a glorified plot point at best. It just doesn’t really work.
I also really didn’t care for Harper’s family. Her mother and her condition really were at best a convenient plot line to explain how Harper will stay in fairytale land. Her brother is a douche. His boyfriend is only there to connect them to the real world and provide conflict. In all, they were just real lame characters.
Yet, somehow this book was interesting enough to have me read it and intrigued by the sequel. Maybe in part because I found the character Grey to be a future intriguing lead and I want to know about his backstory. Maybe in part because I’m a sucker for Beauty and the Beast retellings. And maybe a part because I wanted to see the freaking monster and had to wait like 300 pages for that to happen.
And the monster was glorious, if a little too overpowered by the power of love…but isn’t that everything?
Overall, I don’t know if I’d recommend this one. I enjoyed it, but I wonder if I would really enjoy it if it didn’t feature tropes that intrigued me. At the end of the day, it’s fairly run of the mill. There is a couple of neat things thrown in it but I really did skim a bit which is probably why I was able to finish it in one afternoon.
Overall Rating: B-