My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Fall in love, break the curse.
Cursed by a powerful enchantress to repeat the autumn of his eighteenth year, Prince Rhen, the heir of Emberfall, thought he could be saved easily if a girl fell for him. But that was before he turned into a vicious beast hell-bent on destruction. Before he destroyed his castle, his family, and every last shred of hope.
Nothing has ever been easy for Harper. With her father long gone, her mother dying, and her brother constantly underestimating her because of her cerebral palsy, Harper learned to be tough enough to survive. When she tries to save a stranger on the streets of Washington, DC, she’s pulled into a magical world.
Break the curse, save the kingdom.
Harper doesn’t know where she is or what to believe. A prince? A curse? A monster? 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.
True love is not about romance. True love requires sacrifice. A willingness to place another’s life above your own.
A wonderful take on Beauty and the Beast. ACSDL brings a wonderful idea of a multiverse to its pages. The characters were wonderfully developed, the lands so beautifully described. I hope to see some form of map created for the sequel-what can I say, I’m a map/visual person. The chapters are split between Harper and Rhen’s perspective, giving the reader an inside understanding of their actions. I truly appreciated this because just when I am getting flustered with one character, the following chapter switches to their perspective, allowing me to develop an understanding and not hate Rhen or Harper for their frustrating stubbornness….
The character of Harper is so wonderful. She starts off the story appearing weak and hindered with her cerebral palsy to hide in her brother’s shadow and just help him along. She hates that her brother has do partake in mob-like activities for a boss to earn some money for their dying mother. When she steps in to save a girl from being what appeared to be robbed, she winds up in another universe with a medieval setting. She is the last hope for Prince Rhen to break the curse that the evil sorceress Lilith has cast on him and his kingdom before he turns into a monster forever. The only living member, besides the Prince, of the castle’s estate is Captain of the Royal Guard, Grey.
Grey has pure unwavering loyalty to the Prince. He has been charged with bringing a woman to their lat the start of every season to try to break the curse. Each time, the girl is unsuccessful and he must endure waiting out the Beast’s pillaging until he transforms back into the Prince. Harper was not his chosen woman to try to break the curse, but he is unable to send her home without ending the season so he helps her make the best of the season she is present in the kingdom. He teaches Harper how to hold her own defense, so that she doesn’t remain this shy and docile woman. He serves as support to the Prince to help him remove his guard and embrace each present moment with Harper. Likewise, he tries to help Harper see the good in Rhen.
The choices we get may not be the choices we want-but they’re still choices.
Rhen is guarded against falling in love with Harper as he understands her feelings of disgust. He doesn’t try to make her love him. But when Harper finds her strength and courage to tend to the dwindling people of his kingdom, he follows suite and reaches out a hand to support those that had previously lost faith in their monarchy. He has avoided such confrontations with his people in fear of giving them false hope to only destroy them when he transforms back into the beast. He lives with the memories of his slaughtered family and the staff that once roamed the halls of the castle. He is haunted by his destruction as the Beast by the ever annoying and evil sorceress Lilith. She consistently plagues him, following him when he has a small spark of hope, to torture him with the pain of the deaths he has caused. Saying I hate her is an understatement. She rates on the top ten villains along with Prof. Umbridge and Queen Mae. There were many time I had wished Rhen would stop being so guarded against developing at least a friendship with Harper, or trying to be so restrictive to her in the beginning. But as I said before, when you get to his perspective, you understand why he does certain things.
Harper grows into her character and becomes a symbol of hope to Rhen’s kingdom. She steps in as an acting princess from the royal kingdom of “Disi” even when these people should have no connection or concern to her. She is loving and shows true courage to want to stand up against Lilith. In the end, we see that yes, true love can break curses through sacrifice. But it doesn’t always have to be love in the form of romance, but also in friendship. ❤
I will not hide the fact that I cheered for Grey as he exacted his revenge against Lilith! I was not surprised to find he is the lost heir to the throne that the late king had let slip to the late king of Syhl Shallow, that is now ruled by Karis Luran. I also truly loved that Harper was able to “tame the beast” and they could defend Rhen’s kingdom from the small invasion of Karis Luran’s army. Clearly that conflict is not over and will probably have a huge impact in the sequel. Having Jake and Noah in this new world too will be cool. They both quickly get into a routine and find their own use for the people. You’re not the only one who’s read Game of Thrones. Noah amusingly finds the difference of the “healers” to the modern world doctors.
It is not the moment of passing that is most important. It is all the moments that come before.
I cannot wait for the sequel. It will be very interesting to see chapters told from Grey’s perspective now. There were quite a few funny moments in this book as Harper tries to make a story of herself to Rhen’s people, just enough for them to see her as a princess, but not enough for them to see the flaw in her story (leave that only to Karis Luran).
Harper trying to explain the “guard” in Disi, “People in the Secret Service can get married and have kids…” Evalyn, “Ohh…The Secret Service. Such a mysterious name.”
When the world seems darkest, there exists the greatest opportunity for light