“I am crying because you are a prince,” I say softly. “And I …” I let out a breath. “I am not a princess.”
This was one of my most anticipated releases of 2020. I loved A Curse So Dark and Lonely (admittedly I was late to the party with reading it), but it was fantastic. I had extremely high hopes for this one. And to a degree, I am so chuffed to say that they were met! I hadn’t read anything about this book before I read it, not even the blurb, so I was going in blind with the impulse that I liked the 1st book, so why wouldn’t the sequel be just as good? I was excited to see where the story was going to go.
Firstly, I love the cover on this thing. I mean, it’s vivid, the title is in keeping with the previous, it’s melodic, there is so much shiny sparkle! A big 10.
It became apparent fairly early on that this novel was not going to go the way I expected. As I realised that Harper was getting very little book-time, I was gutted. She was my favourite character last time – why is she omitted to such a high level this time?! But then Lia Mara came onto the scene. WOW. A power-protagonist if ever I saw one. She is fierce. I love her as a female heroine and central member of this book team. Well sassy. Well strong. Girl power! The book jumped between 2 main perspectives, Grey and Lia Mara, which all in all was super sweet. Sometimes this makes the story hard to follow but Brigid Kemmerer is a natural at this. Really outstanding. As our two main protagonists who are new to one another, it really helped to understand their individual turmoils and monologues around their experiences and their discoveries of power, self-worth and independence. And it made it really cute to see how they both viewed one another and their peers.
Rhen is rubbish in this. I understand why Brigid did this; to begin the deeper exploration in Grey’s character arc and his storyline, reasons for fleeing, reasons for discovering is magical ability, blah blah. But it was poor show, no?! Rhen was a real life Prince Charming last book, and this time he was an ARSEHOLE. What the heck. Why is he acting like this??? Grey was the definite male lead within this instalment and I really connected with him. He is obviously facing an identity crisis after finding out he is the long lost heir and that his family were not who he thought they were. It’s heartbreaking and powerful at the same time. I really enjoyed his development and the fact that Brigid did not confine him to the frequent ‘macho male’ boundaries; he was incredibly sensitive and struggling when confronted with issues of the heart and mind.
A big portion of this book was spent roaming around forests. I’m all for this, it’s the best place for romances to bloom. But the world building was a bit lack lustre and when we did finally see a castle – it was assumed that the reader knew what a castle would be like. For the record, as someone who is Scottish and works within the tourism/heritage industry, I DO know what castles look like. It’s my number 1 hobby to look at castles. I get bought castle-based gifts. Despite all this, I think that when reading a book you should be provided with enough information about the characters’ surroundings to entice your imagination to form images in your head. I felt I wasn’t provided that with this.
The romance within this was lovely, however, and for that – THANK YOU! I love romance. I love fairytales. To be expected within a book series that began with a fairytale retelling, a budding romance became apparent within this. Although Rhen was acting proper weird and I still don’t understand why his character was depicted to be so horrible, I started to become concerned that Harper and Grey were going to get together. But alas, they are just besties. Phew. The real romance was between Grey and Lia Mara and I just adored it. It was not the ever-so-frequent instalove that occurs in novels but a romance that seemed incredibly organic and built on respect and admiration. There were indications of each finding the other attractive but this was not the basis of their attraction and romance. Really, truly well done.
Out of 5, I’m giving it a 4. I would recommend this for definite but with a solid push to others to read the 1st book in the Cursebreaker series first! 1) It will greater develop your understanding of the characters and their motivations but 2) you will get to see Rhen for actually being a nice guy, not as awful as he is depicted in this series (majorly).
I bought this and the previous books on Kindle but I will definitely be investing in hard copies for my bookcase. They are too pretty to not.
What did you think of A Heart So Fierce and Broken?