High Fantasy, Young Adults
Cursebreakers, Book # 2
January 7th, 2020
April 20, 2021 April 29, 2021
Beat the Backlist, Library Love, The Backlist Reader, Virtual Mount TBR
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.
Rumored to be the heir, Grey has been 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 continues as loyalties are tested and new love blooms in a kingdom on the brink of war.
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.
About the book
A Heart So Fierce and Broken is the second book in The Cursebreakers trilogy. In this book we follow the point of view of one of the characters of the first book, Grey, guard of Prince Rhen and the one of a new character, Lia Mara, daughter of the queen of Syhl Shallow, a country that during Rhen’s spell tried to conquer Emberfall to open up an outlet to the sea.
Rumours have spread that Rhen is not Emberfall’s legitimate heir, there is another son and he also possesses magic, which is banned throughout the kingdom.
What I think
I liked this book less than the first. Now I’m waiting to read the third to give my full review, but following Grey’s point of you so far away from Emberfall didn’t make me happy at all. To say the truth, it seems another book, one that isn’t part of the same series as the first. Obviously, it can’t be read by itself, but I had the feeling that it was written by another author. Now, saying that, I still liked the two main characters even if not as much as the two main characters of the first book. The only thing that I didn’t like (well it isn’t the only one, but this is the one that I really dislike) is the fact that Gray is so stubborn and Rhen seems the evil incarnate here, almost bipolar (and if I compare this to ACOTAR as I did in the first book, here Kemmerer, too, follows in Maas’ footsteps, making one favourite character of the previous book evil just to make the other one look good. Al least here Harper is faithful and doesn’t run away with Grey). I’m not really able to understand how certain authors believe that if they make a good character, especially one who fought so hard to be good in the first book, evil just to make a good impression on the other male character, id a positive aspect of writing. Do they have no more ideas?
Chapters aren’t so long, there are Grey’s and Lia Mara’s point of view alternating, but the two are always together. The characters of the first book are non-existent if not at the beginning and at the end and this makes me wonder why? I really didn’t like this.
What made me wait to read this series was the fact that it was also set in our world and therefore wasn’t entirely a fantasy world. But here our world is not present so it is a point in favour of the book. But unfortunately there are also a lot of downsides.
I like Grey even if he’s a bit stubborn. In my opinion, he is wrong at the beginning, but I also know that if he had not refused to say who the heir to the throne was, we would not have the book… I must say, however, that he doesn’t seem the character of the first book. The friendship with Rhen no longer exists and that was what characterised the first book, which is also a negative side of the book. It may be that what happened to him at the end of the first book has a negative impact on his behaviour but I don’t see it explained so much or so well that I can accept it as the reason for his actions. Despite this, I like him as a character even if I don’t love him madly. He could have been better described.
Lia Mara is a pleasant character. Maybe too much. The only thing I like about her is her relationship with her sister. For the rest, she isn’t a character that stands out and she seems almost Harper’s copy without disabilities.
I also like Harper’s brother and here he is a little more present even if I don’t understand how he manages to leave his sister, even though I understand that if he had been at Emberfell castle he would not have had his arc…
Harper as mentioned is non-existent so the character with disabilities who did not let anyone put her down disappeared. She is still there, don’t get me wrong, she just disappeared from the current narrative and she will return in the next book. This is also negative. Focusing on characters other than those we admired in the previous book, was not good for my taste. Even though I was prepared, I knew that the points of view would be of two different characters. In addition, the few scenes she has, only serve to embellish the male character who in this case is Grey.
Now from here on it’s a bit of spoiler so read only if you’ve read the book or don’t give a damn about having a few more clues.
Now, we want to talk about Rhen, a.k.a. Tamlin 2.0? Although not quite the same, but it’s the character that the author made bad just to give Grey his arc. In the previous book he spent all his time trying not to become the beast of the spell and what does he do here? He becomes one, only he doesn’t have the excuse of the spell. On the one hand I understand him, that is, his intent (to understand who the magical heir is) but not how he wants to achieve this goal. It doesn’t really make sense what he does to Grey, well it does have one purpose and only one, just to have Gray discover his healing magic and transform him into Jesus Christ. Yes because that’s what happens, Rhen does one thing, Grey is a victim of this thing and days later he discovers he has the power to heal people and from here on, we have Jesus of Emberfall! But I was talking about Rhen. That he hates magic and that maybe he has a little bit of PTSD when it comes to magic is obvious. The problem is, Grey says why Rhen doesn’t want to know about magic but we don’t see it. We know what the enchantress did but was it bad enough to turn Rhen into a monster when he went through the entire first book, while undergoing Lilith’s torture, not to become one? And what would his character development be if he regresses instead of progressing? And what’s so special about him that Harper (the intelligent, free and full of initiative woman that she is) doesn’t leave him? Which, thank goodness, thank goodness! I would not have endured a new Feyra!
Now, I understand the period in which the novel is set, I understand that the rulers tortured and killed as they pleased and therefore I understand that what Rhen does is logical for the time (although I don’t agree with it eh! Don’t get me wrong.), but Harper was born in our world, she should have the ideals of the civilised and educated world (I mean, she’s American!) so how come she accepts what Rhen does not only to Grey but to his 15 YEAR OLD friend, without batting an eye? Have you lost your brain among the shifts between worlds? Because I really don’t accept this. As said I can accept what Rhen does, knowing the period of setting, while not sharing it, but I do not accept that a girl of today doesn’t say anything, instead what she says is “but I love him!” My girl, wake up…. (which wouldn’t have happened in the first book because the author didn’t have to push another female character who is better for Grey).
As said, I didn’t like this book like the first one, I often found it slow and it shows, since it took me 9 days to read it compared to 2? 3? of the first. Obviously I will also read the third to see how everything is resolved (especially for the small final twist) but if something doesn’t change I don’t know if I will like it. Obviously the overall judgement at the end. But don’t get me wrong, there are a few good things (a very few).
I really can’t understand how this book is the product of the author herself. And don’t get me wrong if taken alone the book is also nice, but not as a continuation of the first one.