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Publisher's Summary

Bloomsbury presents A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer, read by Kate Handford, Davis Brooks and Matt Reeves.

A New York Times best seller!

In a lush, contemporary fantasy retelling of Beauty and the Beast, Brigid Kemmerer gives listeners another 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 18th 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. 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.

©2020 Brigid Kemmerer (P)2020 Bloomsbury Publishing Plc

What the critics say

"Has everything you'd want in a retelling of a classic fairy tale." (Jodi Picoult, New York Times best-selling author of A Spark of Light and Small Great Things)

"I couldn't get this creative, suspenseful take on 'Beauty and the Beast' out of my head." (Sara Holland, New York Times best-selling author of Everless)

"Absolutely spellbinding." (Stephanie Garber, number one New York Times best-selling author of Caraval and Legendary)

What listeners say about A Curse So Dark and Lonely

Average Customer Ratings
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Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

very well done!

couldn't stop listening! love the modern twist on beauty and the beast! well worth the time to listen.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Fun, easy listen

As I haven't listened to many audiobooks, I wanted to start by listening to something attention grabbing that would be easily accessible. This was a good choice for that- the narration was very strong, the story had just the right amount of fantasy, and although the plotline was simple and fell into a few YA clichés, I definitely enjoyed listening to this book.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Formulaic. The few innovations fall flat

This is a fairly unoriginal take on the "Beauty and the Beast" fable. Harper, a plucky, poverty-stricken waif with a heart of gold is kidnapped into an enchanted castle with a Prince (Rhen) under an annual curse (wherein he turns into a terrifying monster unless he can find love). The main "twist" is that Harper is from the future (or our dimension) taking her cellphone with her as she is kidnapped into the tapestry-bedecked fantasy palace complete with musical instruments playing themselves. For some reason Harper is simultaneously furious/outraged at being kidnapped, attracted to Prince Rhen, and captivated by the shy, heroic, handsome captain of the guard (Grey).
The plot is largely unoriginal, the dialogue noticeably painful, and the character reactions nonsensical. To this, the author bizarrely adds international diplomacy, a social realignment plotline, and threats of war. Brigid Kemmerer is a competent but unspectacular writer... the descriptions of the environs and characters are fine but unimpressive.
To her credit, there *are* a couple of novel features to this glaringly standard Fairy Tale, but they either make little sense or feel tacked-on for effect (e.g. Harper's Cerebral Palsy, her gay brother Jake back home, the contrived love triangle thing).

The strongest aspect of the recording is the narrator team. The performance is emotive and well-paced. Kate Handford, Davis Brooks, and Matt Reeves read the book - each taking on a specific character's perspective in alternating chapters. It's a clever way to tell the tale and works really well (though the growling monster chapters are chuckle-worthy silliness). The sound quality is excellent and these readers are considerably above average.

The Beauty and the Beast fable is well-loved and told in dozens of languages for a reason: it has undeniably entertaining elements and timeless moral messages. If you can suspend logic, I suppose this version of it merits 2 stars out of 5. But if you enjoy this kind of fantasy (I don’t - and won't be continuing to explore the Emberfall setting), Sarah J. Maas's stuff (the 'Court of Thorns and Roses' series) is quite a bit more clever.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

It was good

I really liked the book. I found the female narrator not as enjoyable to listen to but I still liked the story.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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A great reimagining of Beauty and the Beast

Loved this book; the author managed to maintain the fairy tale pacing and fairy tale language whilst giving it a modern twist and a great heroine! Definitely a fun listen. Off to purchase the next book.

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WOW

Major Acotar vibes. cannot wait to listen to the next one. I felt like I was right there in the story the whole time. great writing and amazing world building.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

so far best retelling of the beauty and the beast!

I really like it, just take in mind the first like 200 pages nothing to overly excited happens but you grow to love the characters, and not like the villan at all, and the ending was quite confusing but it's a good cliffhanger for thr next book, the narration I have to say could it be better since in the whole book they talk about accents and niether the female or male voice did this, but overall I recommend it

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent Book

A great retelling of a classic tale. It kept me on the edge of my seat the whole time.

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • Marisa J Machado
  • 2020-02-24

I felt nothing

I had a hard time feeling for the characters in any way. All of the characters would just randomly changed how they behaved without any warning or real understanding. The take on a classic tale was interesting, but that is all this book has to offer.

7 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • S Wilson
  • 2020-08-25

Enjoyed

I really enjoyed this book. It was a total distraction and really occupied my stressed out mind during the PHE. It provided a mental vacation from reality. Much of the story was enjoyably predictable but the very end caught me off guard.

3 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Andrea
  • 2020-08-01

There is a major error

Some of the chapters under Monster at the end of the book are missing. All you hear is breathing and gasps. Please look into this problem.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Nichole
  • 2020-02-02

Not Beauty and the Beast...BETTER!

This book was fantastic. It starts quick and exciting however there are moments in the middle where I want more detailed emotion and interaction from Ren and Grey and Harper. That’s just me. This book is fabulous! The readers could have had a bit more emotion hence the 4 and not 5. Regardless love love love and on to A Heart So Fierce And Broken. Thank you Brigid

2 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • 🎧AudiobookFiend
  • 2020-08-15

Universal. Unique. Unbelievable.

I know I’m late to the party, but I’m always hesitant to read a series until all the books are out. And this fabulous series is a classic example of why!

⚖️ Plot: I was hesitant to read another retelling of beauty and the beast, but I’m sooo happy I did. And that ending!!! I haven’t read such a good twist in an epilogue in such a long time!

🗺 World: With this starting out in DC and our time, it was easy to relate to. If there was one thing I wish there was more of was more surprise and shock when shifting to Emberfall. I was too seamless and unquestioned to be believable. This would also have been the perfect opportunity to elaborate on the details of the setting and the world.

💑 Characters: This is also probably the best budding triangle I‘ve ever read. Although Rhen was in the lead for most of the book for Harper, there’s just something untouchable about Grey. And I’m dashing over to the next book to find out what!

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Jéssica merco
  • 2020-07-18

really annoying protagonist

I really couldn't simpatize with this main girl, she's kinda stupid and slow to catch things, besides even though she is not in her home/world anymore she keeps acting reckless and doesn't seems to think at what the things she do can bring as a result.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Hanna
  • 2020-06-01

Great story, predictable ending

This is a fairy tale retelling, so the plot isn’t anything new. It was an interesting retelling and I throughly enjoyed it. The writing style is very accessible. I love beauty and the beast retellings and this was that!

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Mary McClannahan
  • 2020-05-23

enjoyed listening

I wouldn't call this a page turner, and at times the pacing of the story was off, but I did enjoy listening to it. the author did a good job of putting enough of a twist on the classical Beauty and the Beast that I was not rolling my eyes at cliches. The female lead is a fighter and doesn't fall into the young adult mold of no personality. I had hoped that her having a disability would be a larger part of the story, but it did seem to be forgotten from time to time. I'll definitely give the sequel a listen down the line to see where the author takes the story.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 2020-02-28

Finally! A Book I Won't Exchange

I've read a great deal of Beauty and Beast retellings and this one is the best one I've ever come across. The title of this book really suits it's content. The story is very new and refreshing to read and makes a whole lot more sense with the creative liberty of the Author. She excutes this story almost flawlessly and it never loses that magical spark Beauty and the Beast is supposed to have. The characters are very complexed. You never know if something will go very wrong or very right. They act like real people with relatable flaws and they mope over real problems!

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Lindsay
  • 2020-01-25

Fast paced

At first, I thought this was going to be a Beauty and the Beast rip off. But it quickly became clear that the story had many of its own elements and I quit comparing it. It was fast paced and held my attention. I loved that the main characters had a relatively healthy relationship with each other - I don’t feel like I see that as much in young adult novels. Will be recommending this for sure!

Unimportant spoiler- at one point the reader misread a characters name by reversing the first two letters so Keris Lorin (spelling??) became Karen Loris and I found this quite comical. It had no bearing on the story :-)

1 person found this helpful