The Assassin’s Blade Book Review (Spoiler Free)

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“If you can learn to endure pain, you can survive anything.” 

Author: Sarah J. Maas

Published March 4th 2014 by Bloomsbury Childrens

Pages: 448

Rating – 4.5/5

GoodReads

Hello everyone! I hope you all are having a great day! Today I will be completing a relatively spoiler free review of The Assassin’s Blade by Sarah J. Maas.

In regards to The Throne of Glass series, I was so determined to start it this year since so many people have already read this and with the overwhelming hype, I just couldn’t keep myself away from it. Now that the series has come to an end, I found it a perfect opportunity to binge read these novels without having to wait through the heartbreaking pain of waiting for the next book. (For those of you who have been reading the series as they were released, how did you manage with the ending of Heir of Fire????)

The Assassin’s Blade is a bind up of the novellas to the Throne of Glass series but it reads pretty much like a regular novel since it follows the story of 16-year-old Celaena in a chronological order. Having seen a couple of reviews on BookTube, some reviewers have stated that it would be best to read the novellas before starting Queen of Shadows. And since this was the next book I had to read, I took a trip down to Barnes and Noble and made sure to grab myself a copy of the novellas! AND I AM SO GLAD I DID!

Summary: 

Celaena Sardothien is Adarlan’s most feared assassin. As part of the Assassin’s Guild, her allegiance is to her master, Arobynn Hamel, yet Celaena listens to no one and trusts only her fellow killer-for-hire, Sam. In these action-packed novellas – together in one edition for the first time – Celaena embarks on five daring missions. They take her from remote islands to hostile deserts, where she fights to liberate slaves and seeks to avenge the tyrannous. But she is acting against Arobynn’s orders and could suffer an unimaginable punishment for such treachery. Will Celaena ever be truly free? Explore the dark underworld of this kick-ass heroine to find out.

Characters:

Celaena Sardothien – I loved the many sides we got to see with Celaena in this book. in fact, that was my favorite part of this entire novel. I think there are certain details about her character we seem to miss when we first meet her in the series but it was great to have this novel shine a bit more light in that aspect. I loved that she stood my her morals – she knew her limits despite her profession – she had empathy, she valued friendship and she was so much more relatable!

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Sam Cortland – I feel as though my face has become the heart eye emoji just writing about his character! I loved literally all the scenes with Sam and Celaena. I felt that they complemented each other so well! There were scenes which made me laugh and there were scenes which made me tear up and get wrapped up in all the FEELS! But he brought in a beautiful element to the storyline and valued his role in the series a lot more with this backstory!

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Arobynn Hamel – So it should come as no surprise that I don’t really like Arobynn. I used to think that I despised him enough in the original series BUT I despise him even more with this one. Yes, I hate him with passion LOL

Final Thoughts: 

Where do I even start? First of all, I appreciated Celaena and Sam so much more in this book since we dive deeper into their minds and receive so much more backstory of what they had endured and I found it to be an amazing collection of stories to accompany the original series. There were moments where I found myself relating to Celaena which I found a bit hard to do with the original novels (other than the fact that she loves to read). The small moments where we see her gush over a pair of shoes, music, clothes, perfume and of course food HAHA We always see her to be a fierce and fiery assassin but these small moments really made her seem more human.

Sam. Oh Sam . . . if you have read the first book of the series, then you are aware of this character since he is mentioned but having read his backstory and his growth within these novellas made me appreciate him more as a character. He is clearly an essential part of Celaena’s growth as a character and I loved seeing the growth of their relationship. It really does warm your heart . . . I got wayyy too attached to him!

In regards to the writing, it was done really well. It was addictive and had the right amount of details needed to bring you into the fantasy world without being too overwhelming. I loved her use of Celaena’s iconic sharp and sarcastic commentary, her banters with other characters and the description of action sequences. It pretty much resembled the writing of the original series and I thoroughly enjoyed it!

Besides the three main characters I listed here, I have a feeling that the secondary characters are going to show up in some form in the future novels. I felt that Sarah did leave some loose ends with a few characters and I hope I get to see some of them. (Ahem – I don’t really want to see Arobynn though)

In regards to the overall plot and THAT ENDING, I am not going to lie – it broke my heart. The tears just started flowing. I couldn’t help it. With the extent of challenges that Celaena faces, you only wish the best for her but it did not quite end that way as we see in the start of Throne of Glass. Despite this, I am honestly glad that I decided to pick up these novellas and I will for sure be jumping into the Queen of Shadows ASAP!

Have any of you read The Throne of Glass series and The Assassin’s Blade? What are your thoughts on it?

Until next time, keep reading and I will see you all soon with another bookish post!

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Top Ten Tuesday – Books On My TBR I’m Avoiding Reading and Why

Hello everyone! It’s time for another Top Ten Tuesday! For this week’s prompt, we are going to explore the books on our TBR which we avoid reading. It could be for multiple reasons – they are intimidating, we fear it may not live up to the hype, it is not within our interest etc. As for me, I feel like it is a combination of the first two reasons.

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

Without further ado, let’s take a look at the list!

1-3) Serpent and Dove, Kingdom of Souls, There Will Come A Darkness

These three books might be the most anticipated releases of this year. Nearly all the early reviews have been positive and I think that is what is keeping me from reading it. I’m a little worried whether they will live up to the hype because there were cases where some books did not live up to the hype in the past and it was quite disappointing. Hmm . . . maybe I should just go into it with no expectations/ blank slate? LOL I feel that may be one way I can avoid running into this issue 🙂

4-6) Priory of the Orange Tree, The Name of the Wind, Kingdom of Ash

Have you seen how massive these books are? They are so intimidating! But I have heard nothing but great things about these books so I really want to try them out. I feel as though Kingdom of Ash I will have no choice to read because I am on the fourth book right now and it is so addicting!

7-10) Wicked King/Queen of Nothing, Children of Vice and Virtue, Escaping from Houdini 

Gahhhh sequels! I have such a love/hate relationship with them. I think one of the most intimidating aspects is answering the golden question – Will it be good or even better than the predecessor?  And this is probably why sometimes I avoid reading them unless I know for sure that it will be good based on other reviews or if it is a beloved series in the book community. Or I may end up reading it if there was a huge cliffhanger and I had to know what happens! 🙂

How about you? What books do you avoid reading?

Until next time, keep reading and I will see you all soon with another bookish post!

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Sorcery of Thorns Book Review (Spoiler Free)

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Author: Margaret Rogerson

Published: June 4th 2019 by Margaret K. McElderry Books

Pages: 456

Rating: 3.8 /5

GoodReads

This was pretty good for a fantasy standalone book. I think we tend to receive so many YA fantasy series and I never really found a book that fit within this genre and was able to deliver a story within 500 pages. Most of the time this is due to the intense amount of detail and world building incorporated into fantasy novels so if the world is not believable, then it falls flat. However, Margaret Rogerson was able to deliver with this novel with her stellar writing abilities and creative mind! While I did have some issues with the overall plot, I thought it was an awesome delivery of a standalone fantasy novel.

Summary (from GoodReads): 

All sorcerers are evil. Elisabeth has known that as long as she has known anything. Raised as a foundling in one of Austermeer’s Great Libraries, Elisabeth has grown up among the tools of sorcery—magical grimoires that whisper on shelves and rattle beneath iron chains. If provoked, they transform into grotesque monsters of ink and leather. She hopes to become a warden, charged with protecting the kingdom from their power.

Then an act of sabotage releases the library’s most dangerous grimoire. Elisabeth’s desperate intervention implicates her in the crime, and she is torn from her home to face justice in the capital. With no one to turn to but her sworn enemy, the sorcerer Nathaniel Thorn, and his mysterious demonic servant, she finds herself entangled in a centuries-old conspiracy. Not only could the Great Libraries go up in flames, but the world along with them.

As her alliance with Nathaniel grows stronger, Elisabeth starts to question everything she’s been taught—about sorcerers, about the libraries she loves, even about herself. For Elisabeth has a power she has never guessed, and a future she could never have imagined.

Characters:

Elisabeth – Brave, Loyal, Optimistic – I absolutely loved reading this story through Elizabeth’s perspective! She is so different from the typical YA “Katniss-like” fiction leads and I found that to be so refreshing. Hearing stories from different voices and different characters are the ones which I find to be truly entertaining and enlightening. Elisabeth also has a fierce determination in her which I loved to read about. She does have her flaws, but thats what makes her character so genuine and relatable.

“What is the point of life if you don’t believe in anything?”

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Nathaniel – Sassy, Smart, Witty – Can I just say how much I enjoyed reading Nathaniel’s quotes in this book? They were so hilarious and utterly charming at times that I found it super entertaining. One of the best elements of this book is the characters. With both Nathaniel and Elizabeth, I found that they perfectly complemented each other and it was amazing to see their growth.

” . . I only turn girls into salamanders on Tuesdays. Luckily for you, it’s a Wednesday, which is the day I drink a goblet of orphan’s blood for supper.” 

percy

 

Final Thoughts

One of the best aspects of this novel was Margaret’s ability to provide a rich yet mysterious atmosphere that captivated your attention and pulled you into the story. She really does have a talent for creating beautiful imagery which transports you to another world. I think this is the main reason why this book was able to do so well as a stand alone. Typically, YA fantasy novels are usually told as series since it is quite dependent on world building and expanding on magical/ political systems which usually takes multiple novels to do. If a world is NOT well developed, then it makes it harder for a reader to fully immerse themselves into the world which can be disappointing. I found it to be the exact opposite for A Sorcery of Thorns. This was well developed – the setting, the world, the magic system and characters.

I think one of the main areas where I found some issues in the book would be the overall plot. While I found the concept to be truly unique and captivating, I found that the story could have been better. I loved the usage of the magical grimoires and this did peak my interest from the beginning. However, I didn’t find myself fully immersed and captivated by the storyline as the novel continued.

Despite this drawback, I still thought this novel was still a great read since it does incorporate a creative concept that book lovers will truly enjoy to learn about. Have any of you read A Sorcery of Thorns? What did you think of it?

Until next time, keep reading and I will see you all soon with another bookish post!

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Top Ten Tuesday – Settings I’d Like to See More Of

Hi Everyone! I hope you all are having a great start to your week! And since it’s Tuesday, it’s time for another Top Ten Tuesday post! This week’s prompt is regarding settings that we would like to see more of. I always view reading to be my escape from my normal life into alternate worlds of magic, intrigue and thrill and I feel that a proper setting can capture those attributes. For some reason, I was unable to come up 10 settings but I have managed to list my top 8 below:

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

And without further ado, LET’S GET INTO THE LIST!

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Carnivals

Ever since I read the Caraval series, I was amazed at what Stephanie Garber was able to build upon with a simple setting such as a Carnival/Circus. She added so many interesting plot lines, characters and magic which made the reading experience even more divine. I hope to pick up more novels that take place in this setting!

Asian/ African/ South America

Doesn’t diversity just add to the beauty of novels and reading in general? I absolutely love novels which are inspired by different cultures since it offers us so much more insight about the world around us and in addition, it makes for a great read as well. I was absolutely stunned with Children of Blood and Bone. The incorporation of African folklore along with an intriguing fantasy world made it such a more pleasure to read.

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Under the Sea 

I’ve always loved the water ever since I can remember and it seemed to be pretty obvious to people around me since my closest friends truly believe I’m part mermaid LOL I think the interest also expands to novels as well. Whether it be about a seafaring adventure, pirates, mermaids or sirens I know for sure that I will be immediately interested!

Schools

Harry Potter. Fangirl. School for Good and Evil. Truly Devious. Long story short – ever since I read these novels which were all in a school setting, I realized how much I loved these types of stories and only wanted to read more. It just creates a difference ambiance overall as compared to other novels and gives so much more room to explore different themes and plots.

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Space

I will admit it. I am avid lover of sci-fi novels! They are so interesting and have the potential to create such intriguing and gripping plot dynamics which are absolutely captivating. Ever since I read novels like Illuminae and These Broken Stars, I was stunned at why I never picked up books of this genre before. And eventually it lead me to series like the Lunar Chronicles and OMG my fervor only grew!

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Library

I’m actually reading A Sorcery of Thorns right now and “Libraries” popped into my head and I just had to include it! I mean who wouldn’t want to visit a magical library? That’s the dream!

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Fictional Worlds

There is something magical and wondrous about traveling into worlds which are drenched in complete fantasy and are completely different about our own. It allows room for the cultivation of interesting political and magic systems which are so interesting to read about. Novels such as A Darker Shade of Magic, Six of Crows and An Ember in the Ashes are just a few which I have thoroughly enjoyed which transport readers into worlds of intrigue and enchantment. Fantasy is my weakness. Can you tell? HAHA

World War II 

Recently I have a strong interest in the historical fiction genre and although there are plenty of books which are in the WWII category, I have listed it here since this type of setting does peak my curiosity. Ever since I read the Prisoner of Fog duology,  I developed a strong interest in worlds within this time period so if you do know any good novels within this setting, please let me know! I would definitely check it out!

What are your favorite settings?

Until next time keep reading and I will see you all soon with another bookish post!

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Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag

Can you guys believe it is already July??? LIKE HOW?? I felt like the new year just began!! It’s crazy!!! Can time slow down for a second? Please have mercy on this poor soul . . .

Ahem. So since we are mid way through the year, I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to do this tag! Thank you so much to the lovely Jane @ BloggerBooks for tagging me! And please check out her blog, because it is absolutely amazing and I love all our bookish conversations!

This tag was originally created by ReadLikeWildfire and Earl Grey Books. Without further ado, let’s jump into the questions!

1. Best Book You’ve Read so Far in 2019

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Hunting Prince Dracula by Kerri Maniscalco

OMG. This was so far the best read of 2019. I loved everything about it: the plot, the characters, the setting, the banter, the character dynamics/ growth, etc. It was all done so well! This series definitely made Kerri Maniscalco as one of my favorite authors of all time! She is absolutely brilliant and if you have not picked up the series yet, I highly recommend it!

If you want to read my full review, you can find it HERE!

 2. Best Sequel You’ve Read so Far This Year

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Finale by Stephanie Garber

Another stunning read of 2019. GAHHH It did not take long for the Caraval series to become one of my favorite series of all time. Each book just got better and better! The world was so different and magical from any other fantasy book I have read and I loved the journey the characters go through with each book. I loved that the plot focuses on the journey of two sisters since this is something I can relate to since I have a younger sister myself. Just Brilliant!

If you want to read my full review, you can find it HERE!

3. New Release You Haven’t Read Yet, But Really Want To

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Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson

I am kind of bending the rules here since I am currently reading this but it still fits the category 🙂 The writing is exquisite!

4. Most Anticipated Release for the Second Half of the Year

There are so many upcoming releases for this year that its so hard to pick one. Even after attending BookCon, I was surprised to learn that there were so many new and upcoming titles so I have listed a couple here which I am eagerly anticipating!

 

5. Biggest Disappointment of the Year

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I don’t think I read anything this year which turned out to be a huge disappointment. The lowest I rated any of my books was probably a 3.5 out of 5. If I were to choose, I would probably say Girls with Sharp Sticks? While I did enjoy the plot, themes and twists, I was not a huge fan of the writing style and some of the characters. It was not a terrible read, but I thought it could use some improvements here and there.

6. Biggest Surprise

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Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson

Being a book in the mystery genre, I think this novel fits the question completely. I did see a few reviews for this book ever since its release and I never got around to reading it until early this year. I will say I was pleasantly surprised and it evoked my interest into the mystery genre. I can’t wait to read the next installment – I heard that one was even better than the first! AHHHH!!!

If you want to read my full review, you can find it HERE!

7. Favorite New Author (Debut or New to You)

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A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer

I recently just finished this novel and OMG it was absolutely brilliant. I was hesitant since I saw a couple of mixed reviews but I ended up loving it! I understand that Brigid Kemmerer might be an author that a lot of other book bloggers know, but I recently just discovered her with this novel. I am definitely looking forward to her next book in the series (especially with that ending!!)

If you want to read my full review, you can find it HERE!

8. Newest Fictional Crush

LET 2019 BE THE YEAR I DISCOVERED THOMAS CRESWELL!!!! MWAHAHA

(I’m totally sane I SWEAR!)

9. Newest Favorite Character

Audrey Wadsworth – This girl is epitome of strength, intelligence and empowerment!

10. Book That Made You Cry

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Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas

Can we talk about character growth? THIS WAS PHENOMENAL! I was absolutely stunned at how well Sarah was able to showcase emotion, pain and struggle with this installment. After reading this book, I am really looking forward to read the next one ASAP.

If you want to read my full review, you can find it HERE!

11. Book That Made You Happy

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Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco

WAIT! I have my reasons for this one!

To be honest, I did not know which book to choose for this question. I have not read any comedic or light-hearted contemporary books this year so its difficult to answer. However, if I were to choose one book, I would most like go with the Stalking Jack the Ripper series. The banter between the two leads always put a smile on my face!

If you would like to read my review of the first book, you can check it out HERE!

12. Most Beautiful Book You’ve Bought or Received This Year

Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim

I mean take a look at this cover:

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13. What Book Do You Need to Read by the End of the Year?

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Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas

After marathoning the first three books (which were awesome), I had to step away from reading for awhile due to work/classes. I am finally at a state where I can read more books and spare more time diving back into this fantasy world so I can’t wait to see what happens next!

14. Favorite Book Community Member?

OMG! It’s really hard for me to choose one specific member within the book community as an answer. Ever since I joined, I met so many great bloggers who have been so supportive and inviting on this platform so I extremely thankful to each and everyone who have read my posts, shared their opinions and have showcased their support! Ya’ll are the best!! ❤

I tag these lovely bloggers:

Joanna @thegeekishbrunette

Becky @becky’sbookblog

Dini @dinipandareads

Kristi @Confessionsofayareader

Jennifer @sleepingsuburb

Jess @crowingaboutbooks

Macy @afictionreality

Grace @Sheheartsfiction

If I tagged you and you have already done this, so sorry! And if you do decide to do it, have fun! 🙂

Until next time, keep reading and I will see you all soon with another bookish post!

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Top Ten Tuesday – Auto Buy Authors

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Hello everyone! It’s time for another Top Ten Tuesday and this week’s prompt is all about our favorite authors and which ones we would most likely auto buy from. I will say that it was a bit difficult to come up with 10 authors since I only thought of 6; but nevertheless, I find their work absolutely amazing and I hope you enjoy reading!

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

Without further ado, let’s move on towards the list!

Marissa Meyer

The first author I thought of when reading this prompt had to be Marissa Meyer. Ever since her Lunar Chronicles series, I was absolutely addicted to her stories and writing style. I grew to be an even bigger fan after Heartless which was a backstory of the Queen of the Hearts and that was such an interesting take on fairy tale re-tellings since there is not a lot of literature which focuses on the villains. I am currently on the recent Renegades series and while it is not my favorite of her works, it is definitely one that I will be continuing on with.

 

Victoria Schwab

Now who doesn’t love Victoria Schwab? She is one of the authors I truly admire since she offers such diverse characters and intriguing stories/ worlds which we can’t help but drown into. Along with her writing skills and amazing story telling capabilities, it’s no wonder why she is so revered within the book community!

 

Stephanie Garber

The Caravel series by Stephanie Garber easily became one of favorite series of all time. The world is so different from anything else I have read and her themes of sisterhood, strength and love was beautifully interlaced throughout the series. Since this series has come to a close, I am so curious as to what project she will attempt in the future but I will for sure be picking up her next book!

 

Kerri Maniscalco

This series soon became a favorite of mine. After hearing many positive reviews about the first book, I really wanted to see what all the hype was. With the combination of amazing characters, hilarious banter and a thrilling plot line, I was completely hooked on this series and I can’t wait for the final book!

 

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Sabaa Tahir

The Ember in the Ashes series was an auto buy for me. I loved the first novel and as soon as I read it, I couldn’t wait for the next installment. She is amazing in developing plots where there are high stakes, danger and never ending twists and turns. I am eagerly anticipating the release of her final book to this series and I will for sure be picking up whatever future project she plans to do.

 

Sarah J. Maas

Ever since I picked up the first book of the Throne of Glass series, I was automatically hooked. Sarah is absolutely brilliant in building her world, creating stunning characters and writing addictive plots which we can’t help but be consumed by. I do understand that there is some controversies with her novels which she tried to correct with her latest releases but as a whole, I do think she is amazing in crafting superior fantasy worlds.

Hope you all enjoyed reading! Who are your auto buy authors?

Until next time, keep reading and I will see you all soon with another bookish post!

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A Curse so Dark and Lonely Book Review (Spoiler Free)

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“I’m always surprised to discover that when the world seems darkest, there exists the greatest opportunity for light.” 

Author: Brigid Kemmerer

Published: January 29th 2019 by Bloomsbury YA

Pages: 484

Rating: 4/5

GoodReads

Ok. That ending had me shook! OMG!! It’s going to make an interesting set up for the next book and I will definitely be reading the sequel! It took me some time to get used to the characters, but after a few pages, I found myself glued to the book eagerly anticipating what’s going to happen next. If you have not picked this one up, I highly urge you do because it was an awesome twist on the classic Beauty and the Beast fairy tale!

Summary (from GoodReads):

Fall in love, break the curse.

Cursed by a powerful enchantress to repeat the autumn of his eighteenth year, Prince Rhen, the heir of Emberfall, thought he could be saved easily if a girl fell for him. But that was before he turned into a vicious beast hell-bent on destruction. Before he destroyed his castle, his family, and every last shred of hope.

Nothing has ever been easy for Harper. With her father long gone, her mother dying, and her brother constantly underestimating her because of her cerebral palsy, Harper learned to be tough enough to survive. When she tries to save a stranger on the streets of Washington, DC, she’s pulled into a magical world.

Break the curse, save the kingdom.

Harper doesn’t know where she is or what to believe. A prince? A curse? A monster? 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.

Characters

Harper – Expressive; Compassionate; Strong; – What can I say? I really enjoyed reading Harper’s perspective. She is a strong character but I liked her since she was different from the typical YA leads since she exhibits a balance of strength and emotion. She loves her family – her brother and mother  – and is persistent to find them. Despite having Cerebral Palsy, she is still a determined individual and that’s what makes her so inspiring.

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Rhen – Strategic; Disheartened; Trapped – Rhen was just the sweetest. In the beginning we see him to be a tortured soul whose glimpses of hope are constantly being depleted and we can’t help but feel for him.

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Grey – A character who slowly grew on me. Initially, it was hard to discern his qualities due to his stoic personality; however, as time went by he slowly started to reveal layers of his character and it made me appreciate him even more.

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Final Thoughts 

I will admit that it took quite some time for me to get into this novel. I am not sure why but it did progress quite slowly in the beginning. However, within the 100 page mark, I noticed a lot of interesting dynamics and plot elements being introduced and this caused me to grow more intrigued. Since this book was described to be a Beauty and the Beast re-telling, I already had preconceived notions on how the plot would play out but I was surprised to see the different elements which were being introduced into the story. I found it to be refreshing since it offered a new look into a world which was build within this fairy tale backdrop.

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I also appreciated the hilarious banter between the characters! It brought a lighter atmosphere to the novel’s dark ambiance. The novel also intertwines the themes of inner strength and resilience against the most overwhelming and gruesome tribulations. It was amazing to see these characters go through this incredible journey to become the best version of themselves. The romance was a slow burn and I loved seeing the progression of their relationship and how they grew to be bit more open with each other. It made everything quite believable. The only reason why I could not give this book a complete 5 star rating was because I ended up questioning a few plot details here and there and I did have a couple of questions on certain issues. But overall, I really enjoyed it and I personally think this is the best Beauty and the Beast re-telling out there!

Have any of you read A Curse so Dark and Lonely? What did you think of it?

Until next time, keep reading and I will see you all soon with another bookish post!

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