Author: Brigid Kemmerer
Audiobook Length: 13 hours 28 minutes
Find the heir, win the crown.
The curse is finally broken, but Prince Rhen of Emberfall faces darker troubles still. Rumors circulate that he is not the true heir and that forbidden magic has been unleashed in Emberfall. Although Rhen has Harper by his side, his guardsman Grey is missing, leaving more questions than answers.
Win the crown, save the kingdom.
Grey may be the heir, but he doesn’t want anyone to know his secret. On the run since he destroyed Lilith, he has no desire to challenge Rhen – until Karis Luran once again threatens to take Emberfall by force. Her own daughter Lia Mara sees the flaws in her mother’s violent plan, but can she convince Grey to stand against Rhen, even for the good of Emberfall?
[A Curse so Dark and Lonely (#1) Review]
A Heart so Fierce and Broken is the sequel in the Cursebreakers trilogy. Since this is a continuous series, it is best to read the novels in order to avoid spoilers. After the ending of the previous story, Rhen and Grey are separate and there is an exploration to see if they can reunite. There is a lot of tension between them due to an introduction of political turmoil towards the end of the first novel. In addition to Grey’s disappearance, Rhen is also coming to terms with the fact that he is not the true heir. While the initial installment had me rooting for Rhen during his growth, he seemed to take a huge 180 in this story. A lot of his character growth seemed to be non-existent in this story, so I hope there is a way to bring everything back together in the next novel.
Lia Mara is introduced in this story as the daughter of the queen of Syhl Shallow, which is the kingdom north of Emberfall, and becomes the love interest for Grey. While there was a love triangle hinted at in the first installment, it was nice for Grey to have someone else aside from Harper. Lia Mara and Grey balance each other well as Grey shows her that there does not need to be as much violence and she helps him accept himself. With their relationship developing, Rhen and Harper took more of a minor role in the story compared to the first. Harper’s brother, Jacob, also has a larger role along with his boyfriend, Noah, so it was great learning more about their characters. While Rhen and Harper are still featured, Grey and Lia Mara are the main protagonists by comparison.
The setup of this series seems to be similar to the Caraval trilogy where the first focused on one set of main characters, the second focused on the others, and the third will most likely bring them all together for the finale. All the main characters are present throughout the entire series, but the focus changes for each installment. Due to this setup, this book did not suffer from “second book syndrome” as it focused more on Grey and Lia Mara. The world was expanded on a lot in this story as the characters travel around, so it was nice to further picture the setting. There are a few twists, including one towards the end, that were both surprises and hinted at through the story. Overall, this story was enjoyable, although I personally enjoyed the first one a little more. This novel does make me eagerly anticipate reading the finale, A Vow so Bold and Deadly, and I cannot wait to try it!