The Cursebreaker series: full of magic and monsters

A curse by an enchantress nearly destroyed the magical world that lives opposite to ours and was saved by an unlikely heroine along with two unlikely princes.

The Cursebreaker series: full of magic and monsters

Emily Cardinal, Staff Writer

In a world that lives parallel to ours, called Emberfall, lived a prince. Prince Rhen was the only surviving member of the royal family left, and Commander Grey the last soldier. An enchantress named Lilith vowed the downfall of Emberfall as revenge for her own bloodied past. Just when victory seems near, a teenage girl from D.C with cerebral palsy seems to change the fate of the kingdom.

Brigid Kemmerer is the author of the Cursebreaker series as wells as Defy the Night, Letters to the Lost, Forging Silver and Stars, and more. For the Cursebreaker series, she had ample inspiration. As she was growing up, Brigid Kemmerer had a friend with cerebral palsy. Kemmerer and her friend Erin grew up together riding horses. Much like Erin, Harper the main protagonist in the first book of the Cursebreaker series, also loved horse riding and took much joy in it. Kemmerer said Erin was willing and did help with Harper’s character design and they were both very excited to have a book that brought representation to cerebral palsy.

A Curse so Dark and Lonely is the first book in this riveting trilogy. Prince Rhen was cursed by Lilith on his eighteenth birthday, which he is cursed to repeat until he can convince someone he is worth being loved. At the end of every season if he fails, the season restarts. Before the restart of autumn he is turned into a beast that terrorizes his people. Commander Grey does what he can in order to contain the damage, but the dead don’t return each season like Rhen does when he tries to end the season.

A Curse so Dark and Lonely is a modern Beauty and the Beast retelling. Brigid Kemmerer loved Beauty and the Beast but always wondered what happened to the people. Kemmerer wanted to know who was ruling the people and how the people were fairing when there was no one to rule them while the curse was in effect. To do this, she had Harper escape from the enchanted castle and explored possibilities on what had happened to the people of Emberfall. It was clear the people needed their prince and helping them became engrained into the story.

Harper is a strong protagonist who initially only helps Prince Rhen because of how badly she wants to get home. Her mom is dying and her brother is working with bad people in order to make ends meet. She is smart despite not finishing high school and managed to figure out what part of Rhen’s curse was without him having to tell her. Brigid Kemmerer said that while she was creating Harper, she “wanted to look at the idea of curses, and how sometimes what seems like a curse to one person might not be a curse at all to someone else.”

The trilogy takes an interesting turn when in the second book, A Heart so Fierce and Broken, it is told from Commander Grey’s point of view. Some of Rhen’s actions are very shocking and makes the reader question the change from the first book to the second. At first it appears there is a drastic change in Rhen’s character. Despite this initial impression, it does fit his character and shows how the events of the first book affected him in the second book. No matter the intentions, Grey now has to live with the choices and actions of the people around him and find a way to survive while doing what is right. Grey struggles to determine if he should do what is right for himself, or his kingdom. There is amazing character development that happens with Grey’s character that is present throughout the three books.

The final book of the series, A Vow so Bold and Deadly, Grey and Rhen reunite in very tense circumstances and find themselves left with choices that will either make or break the kingdom. The characters change a lot from the first book, but for the better. In this book you can see the effects of the curse and the current circumstances on them all.

The Cursebreaker series is fast paced, had intriguing characters, and great representation. There is depth to many of the characters and each has their own story. The Cursebreaker series is easy to read, and worth it. Seeing several points of view in each book as well as the second book taking on a new protagonist is interesting and provides a more intriguing read. The idea of the curse in A Curse so Dark and Lonely felt a little generic and had some overused tropes, but the quality and added perspectives in the book make up for it. There isn’t much thinking that needs to be done in order to read this series and the writing was the type of reading that would be seen in a coming-of-age book. For a while, I was unsure if this series was young adult or not, but there are a lot of darker aspects of the book. Ultimately, this was a great series.