Published by Bloomsbury USA Children's (1.29.2019)
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Format: ARC, 496 pages
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 eighteenth 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 Lacy. 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.
This is what a Beauty and the Beast retelling should be (side eyeing you, ACOTAR), and exactly what I want out of one! I recently read Hunted by Meagan Spooner and it gave me similar vibes, however this one was done a bit better (and definitely has a Beauty that is 10000% better).
The characters!!!! Ugh I love them so much! I think that was my favorite part. They were all perfect because they were perfectly flawed. I freaking L O V E D Harper!!! Oh my lord! She was a total badass – resilient, stubborn, determined…I love that she didn’t take any crap from anyone. She stood her ground and stood up for what she believed in, no matter what the cost. She was selfless, full of spunk and heart – I love that she was so quick to help others even at her own expense. She didn’t think about consequences, she just did because it was the right thing to do. She’s the kind of heroine you want to cheer for!
“Do I look like a princess?”
“You look like a queen.”
I loved Rhen too! I felt so bad for him because of the curse he was trapped in and all of the torture he’d had to deal with at Lilith’s hands. I wanted Harper to love him SO BADLY! I loved that despite being a BatB retelling, the romance doesn’t really take a front seat. What hint of it there is between them moves slowly and it has that lovely slow burn that I adore! View Spoiler »I am however quite sad that Harper still didn’t know if she loved him, even at the very end. Also I’m worried about the potential for a love triangle in the next book. Please no!! « Hide Spoiler
The only complaint I really have is about Harper’s disability. She has cerebral palsy, but the only effect it actually has on her is a slight limp in one foot that causes her mobility issues from time to time (which was rarely). And to be honest, for most of the book I completely forgot she even had it because it didn’t keep her from doing very many things. It was only a true issue maybe 3-4 times throughout the whole book. I have never heard of a case of cerebral palsy that didn’t require a wheelchair. I grew up with a friend in my Girl Scout troop that had CP, and she was not anywhere close to being mobile. She was wheelchair dependent, unable to walk without assistance. So maybe it’s because that’s the only experience I’ve had personally, but when Harper said she had CP I was rather confused because I instantly pictured a wheelchair and found it odd that she could walk with no assistance. Out of curiosity I did a bit of research; from what I could find, even in monoplegia (affects only one limb), it is most likely to occur in an arm, not a leg. I haven’t seen anything about it just happening to a foot. So, in my opinion it may be a bit of poor representation, and I feel either should have done a bit better or not at all. (If you know of anyone, or have heard of it happening that way, please tell me!)
“If one is not the dog, one is the master, and Grey is certainly not that. Which role do you play, girl?”
“Beats me, but I know which one you are.” I glare at her. “I have another word for it, though.”
GO HARPER GO
“I had no time to say goodbye. But she knew I loved her. I knew she loved me. It is not the moment of passing that is most important. It is all the moments that come before.”
“I am always surprised to discover that when the world seems darkest, there exists the greatest opportunity for light.”
Writing style: 4.5/5
Overall rating: 4.5/5