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Book Review

Publisher's Note:

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. 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. Grey may be the heir, but he doesn't want anyone to know his secret. 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 continu…

Overall Book Review:

What a wild ride!  I didn’t think the first book of this series could be outdone.  It was masterful in its retelling of the Beauty and the Beast story…. but then I read the second and I have been blown away.  I am anxiously counting down the days until the third book is available.  And desperately hoping I don’t have to wait long.

All the favorite characters are back in this book, but we spend much more time on characters that were more minor in book one here in book two.  The detail given to character development continues and while a few new players are added to the mix, they are so well done in keeping with the rhythm of the book that they feel like they were part of the story the entire time.  A new female character is introduced, and a love story begins to unwind throughout the book.  However, if you are looking for sappy romance you won’t find it here.  This is more of a well-developed respect that morphs, and it is flawless.

The novel is structured that each chapter is told from a different perspective.  Sometimes, I feel that the story lines in books written in this style can feel very repetitive as you see the same scenes from different angles over and over.  This book really doesn’t follow that pattern.  There may be a few sentences of overlap so you can get the feel for the shift in perspective, but the timeline continues marching forward which makes the shifting perspectives seamless to the reader.

While the first book felt like a varied spin on Beauty and the Beast, this new installment goes so far beyond the fairytale and really lofts the series to new heights.  Lots of action, adventure, intrigue, twists, turns and a plot twist that will leave you going WHAT?!?!?!

This should definitely be on the top of any fantasy reader’s pile but grab the first if you haven’t read it yet.  Or, if you can stand to sit on the edge of your chair, hang tight for the third one and binge through all three with breathless abandon! 

Review of an Advance Reading Copy

This book was sent to Compass Book Ratings for review by Bloomsbury USA

Content Analysis:

Profanity/Language:  22 mild obscenities; 1 derogatory name; 2 anatomical terms.

Violence/Gore:  10 verbal threats of death or harm; bloody bite or scratch to arm from creature; 2 instances of crossbows or knives being pointed at people or held against throats; father and daughter shot and killed; 5 instances of play/practice sparring with and without injuries; man stabs creature for sport; 5 instances of punches to various body parts; sword driven thru chest killing man; broken ribs from horse kick; 4 multiple page depictions of graphic battles/fights with bloody injuries, graphic depiction of injuries and death including one with graphic depiction of dagger in pregnant woman’s abdomen; man pins a woman against a wall; 4-page depiction of brutal whipping of man and boy with graphic depiction of bloody wounds; magical abilities lead to unconsciousness of crowd; stag killed for food; men wrestle and one attempts to drown other; man is graphically gutted by creature with multiple pages with depictions of grizzly injuries; eye is removed as form of torture; reference to past genocide; woman kills another with throwing knives with blood pool depiction.

Sex/Nudity:  9 instances of kissing; 5 instances of hand-holding; embrace/hug; hand on man’s chest; 3 references to sex; couple in book is same sex; 6 instances of caress of face; fingers to lips of another; hand on arm; 3 instances of being held by waist; man is shirtless.

Mature Subject Matter:

Social conflict, death of family and friends, war, gambling, abandonment, ethics, murder.

Alcohol / Drug Use:

Characters of various ages drink spirits, ale and wine.

Overall Book Rating

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About the Reviewer

I am a full-time mom, full-time wife, and overtime reader. I have been an avid reader for as long as anyone can remember. It must run in the family because both my mother and grandmother are also voracious readers and often pass books back and forth. Almost any genre can spark my interest, but I often go in streaks, reading a bunch of books from one genre, then switching to another for a while and back again.