Review by Colleen W

“Ah yes, the most dangerous person at the party is always the girl sitting alone with a book.”

*Note: This review will be spoiler free until otherwise indicated later on 🙂 

*Note on that note: There will be spoilers for A Curse So Dark and Lonely so just so you know

I actually got a copy of A Heart So Fierce and Broken before I heard about A Curse So Dark and Lonely. The synopsis of the ARC drew me in, and as soon as I realized I only owned the sequel, I slipped some hints to a friend and received A Curse So Dark and Lonely for a birthday gift.


Beauty and the Beast retelling? Check. Enemies to lovers romance? Check. Awesome fantasy world? Check! This book promised me all of my favorite tropes so I was beyond excited to start it. I flew through the novel, and while I had my ups and downs with it, I’m here to talk about A Heart So Fierce and Broken. If you want to read what another Teen Press member thought of A Curse So Dark and Lonely, click right here 🙂

I had mixed feelings going into A Heart So Fierce and Broken after the events of the 9781681195117previous book. I was anxious to continue to follow Harper and Rhen’s journey together and see how the aftermath of breaking the curse, lying to a kingdom, and having more ‘D.C. realm’ characters stuck in Emberfall affected the events of the story. However, when I discovered this book centered itself around Grey, I changed my romance and wartime politics mindset to an open mind about a lonely swordsman. 

I ended up with similar feelings as I had with A Curse So Dark and Lonely. I sped through the story and felt addicted to the world and the characters. But small moments and mishaps had me pulling myself out of the book every now and then, questioning certain aspects.

I liked most of the characters in the story, and they all seemed to have distinct personalities, fears, and desires. The character interactions played a huge role in the story development, and while most moments played out nicely, some scenes fell a little short, and I found myself wishing for even more conversations and connections made amongst the crew we follow in this book.

Aside from the characters, I really enjoyed the amount of exploration we get in this book, allowing us to learn more about Emberfall and other countries in this world, as well as experience the story from a perspective outside the castle walls. 

If I’m being honest, my only downs in this book were small pieces of dialogue or actions by characters that just felt out of place for them, or plot points that felt a tad rushed. All in all though, my main drawback was seeing so little of Harper and Rhen, essentially skipping much of their development to the point where I felt detached from them when they did show up. However, the second perspective in this book reminded me a bit of Harper so I had fun learning about Lia Mara and more about Grey. 

That being said, I enjoyed A Heart So Fierce and Broken overall. It’s not my favorite, but it was entertaining and exciting nonetheless. If you liked the first book, or if you like unique fantasy worlds, magic, adventure, and romance, I definitely recommend this series! It’s worth picking up the second book, even if you’re a diehard fan of Harper and Rhen. 

Here are some quotes that stuck with me:

“Ah yes, the most dangerous person at the party is always the girl sitting alone with a book.”

“It is not weakness to wish for peace.”

“Do not fault yourself for choices you believed were right in the moment. It is not princely.”


Here are a few of my spoilery thoughts… 

  1. First of all, THE ENDING?! Oh no Rhen, what have you done?
  2. I’m still slightly off put by the fact that Noah is totally okay with staying in Emberfall. His family and career were big aspects of his life and now they’re simply out of the picture. The gap between realms bugged me a little in this book. 
  3. Where was feisty Harper? I felt like we left her in A Curse So Dark and Lonely and now she just hangs by Rhen and looks sadly at Grey. 
  4. I liked Lia Mara! She had a strength I admired. And that scene where her sister kneels before her as queen was one of my favorites in the book. 
  5. Syhl Shallow was a fun new setting and I hope the third book spans across both there and Emberfall.
  6. Protect Tycho at all costs!!

I’ll be picking up the next installment in this series as soon as I can! I hope the books continue to get better as I go and I can’t wait to see how the characters’ stories unfold in the future. I’ll talk to you about it then 🙂

Get a copy of A Curse So Dark and Lonely here:

Get a copy of A Heart So Fierce and Broken here: