Series Review: Cursebreaker series by Brigid Kemmerer
Author: Brigid Kemmerer
Genre: YA Fantasy
Overall Series Rating: 4 Stars
Review of the Cursebreaker series with mini reviews for each book. I have tried tomake it mostly spoiler free though there are some mention to characters and their relationships that appeared in previous books.
A Curse So Dark and Lonely
I went into this book without any idea of what it is about, which meant I had so few expectations that I ended up loving it! I don’t know why, but I expected to not love it that much... maybe because it’s a Beauty and the Beast retelling and I generally find those a bit slow. However, this book had a great pace that kept me interested, with lots of captivating events occurring.
Harper was a hilarious character and I loved her from the start. She was relatable, strong, brave and her retorts and reactions never failed to entertain. The story went in a direction I hadn’t at all anticipated and I enjoyed learning about Emberfell and our two main men. I was unsure as to whether it was a love triangle situation, but I think ultimately it wasn’t as Harper always knew she had to try to love Rhen for the curse (it is a Beauty and the Beast retelling after all).
I loved the concept and the idea of how Harper got to Emberfell and enjoyed watching her grow into herself and watch others see her as strong and brave. She fitted into the world perfectly and played a vital role both with the curse and with helped the people of Emberfell. I didn’t love Rhen, he just was always quite arrogant and brooding, I like when he showed vulnerability to Harper and I liked him a lot more by the end but he still will never be a favourite character.
The ending was great but left some very big questions behind!
A Heart So Fierce and Broken
I jumped right into this one as the ending of the first book had me hooked and I needed to know what happened. The start of this one was a bit slower, but it really set the scene for the rest of the book.
The narratives changed to Grey and Lia Mara’s POVs. Lia Mara is the first-born daughter of Karis Luran the Queen of Shyl Shallow and Lia Mara was so kind and compassionate you couldn’t help but love her, her strength was shown throughout the book and I adored watching Grey and Lia Mara interact. I loved having Grey’s POV and whilst many of his decisions infuriated me, I understood why he made them. There was a moment in this book that felt like the point of no return for a lot of the characters and it changed the whole direction of the story. I loved seeing how this affected everyone and how it changed the course of action for Grey and his friends.
My favourite aspect of this book would have the be the group that was established on their travels, I wouldn’t have anticipated such a group coming together but the banter was hilarious and their development as friends and companions was wonderful. I really enjoyed seeing Jake fit into his role more in this book - he was a complete outsider in the first book but he really found his place in this one which I loved.
I also was so excited to get to see into the Shyl Shallow royal family and see how their city and monarchy works. Lia Mara was a great character with a complicated family but her development felt very right and the ending was perfect. Nolla Verin’s relationship with her sister was complicated but ultimately we saw the truth of their situation and I think the ending was the best situation for both sisters.
Rhen was despicable in this book, you really saw him unravel and go too far, which would be an interesting twist except for the fact Harper still stands by his side, so I’m interested to see how that relationship changes in the final book.
After reading this book I can safely say I’m firmly on the side of Shyl Shallow so I’m dying to see what happens in the next book!
A Vow So Bold and Deadly
Contains spoilers for Books 1 and 2.
This is the last installment in the Cursebreaker series and it gives us the conclusion we've been waiting for. This story is where all of their fates will be decided - all their experiences and growth comes to a head in this book. Will Grey be able to lead Shyl Shallow to battle and defeat Rhen? What torment will Lilith force Rhen to endure? All will be answered.
We get POVs from all four of our main characters – Harper, Rhen, Lia Mara, and Grey – which worked well since each pair had their own book, so it was great that the concluding installment focused on all of them. However, this did mean that we jumped back and forth from Emberfell to Shyl Shallow throughout the book, to see what was happening with each pair. I enjoyed getting to see both sides, but it was hard to stay connected and have to reconnect to each side every time we swapped. It wasn’t too regular but enough to be difficult to stay invested in either side.
Grey has really come into himself and his role. He knows how to lead and he’s no longer afraid of his magic, which I loved. His relationship with Lia Mara was beautiful and we get to see them rely on each other more. We also get to see Lia Mara as Queen in this book, and I enjoyed seeing the challenges she has to face however, she seemed to have lost a lot of her strength here – she’s unsure how to rule differently from her mother whilst still doing what her people need. I enjoyed her growth, but I would have liked to see her come into the role more.
Harper questions herself and her choices. She could have left with her brother and Grey yet she decided to stay for Rhen and for Emberfell. Was this the right choice? The tension of her relationship Rhen follows well with the who characters are and how their experiences have changed them. Rhen fears Lilith above all else and never truly has the chance to rule as he would want as he’s still under her control. His country is divided and on the brink of war. His relationship with Harper is full of difficulties but ultimately, he knows Harper is his priority.
As always, Lilith is the villain we hate, and she plays her role well. Her mischief causes a great deal of trouble, affecting all of our MCs. I felt as though this book had a perfect conclusion and it couldn’t have worked better any other way. The ending was sad but was what I have always hoped would happen. Ultimately the story is about two brothers and their journeys, and I loved that they both were always thinking of each other throughout the book.
Overall the book was a very enjoyable, easy read. a great conclusion to the series, it gave me everything I had hoped for, however, it was a little predictable and there wasn’t a huge amount of wow factor – still, the story was a lovely end to the series and the themes of friendship and family were wonderful to read.