Author: Brigid Kemmerer
Audiobook Length: 12 hours 36 minutes
Face your fears, fight the battle.
Emberfall is crumbling fast, torn between those who believe Rhen is the rightful prince and those who are eager to begin a new era under Grey, the true heir. Grey has agreed to wait two months before attacking Emberfall, and in that time, Rhen has turned away from everyone—even Harper, as she desperately tries to help him find a path to peace.
Fight the battle, save the kingdom.
Meanwhile, Lia Mara struggles to rule Syhl Shallow with a gentler hand than her mother. But after enjoying decades of peace once magic was driven out of their lands, some of her subjects are angry Lia Mara has an enchanted prince and magical scraver by her side. As Grey’s deadline draws nearer, Lia Mara questions if she can be the queen her country needs.
As two kingdoms come closer to conflict, loyalties are tested, love is threatened, and an old enemy resurfaces who could destroy them all, in this stunning conclusion to bestselling author Brigid Kemmerer’s Cursebreaker series.
A Vow so Bold and Deadly is the third and final novel in the Cursebreakers series. I was nervous before beginning this installment as the audience is greatly split on their feelings for the ending. While I wanted to hope for the best, I went in with lower expectations. The novel continued being told through the four perspectives of Rhen, Harper, Lia Mara, and Grey. With a central villain tormenting Rhen, a war brewing between Syhl Shallow and Emberfall, familial and political discord, and relationships that need work, there were many plot lines to complete in this novel.
Grey continued to shine as a character and I loved how his development grew even more in this story. While his character was still likable and complex in the first installment, his likability grew over the course of the series as well as the dynamics of his characters. The romance between Lia Mara and Grey continued to be enjoyable, but as an individual, I felt Lia Mara was too passive of a character for me. She is not a weak character at all, but she just never quite lived up to the type of character I thought she would become by the end. For the romances, it seemed that Rhen and Harper were more dynamic and interesting in this story by comparison to Grey and Lia Mara’s. By no means was theirs bad in any way, but Rhen and Harper were just slightly more captivating considering the problems they were working through.
I previously compared this series to Caraval, since I read that first and it has a similar character set-up, and it had the same feel for me. The first novel focuses mainly on two characters and sets up the series to seem like it will be about them, but the second pivots to some secondary characters that now become the main conflict before bringing all four together for a finale. Cursebreakers did improve this format, for me, however, as all four perspectives were included a little more in the second compared to Caraval, which helped me in terms of continuity. Rhen’s character, unfortunately, was difficult to connect with as he makes many mistakes and goes through some growth, but there is not a lot of time for his character to fully come around. There is a lot of trauma and abuse that he is trying to work through and it affects those around him. While Harper’s character continued to be the star while reading, even though she still made mistakes and some questionable choices. I kept waiting for Rhen’s character to meet my expectations based off of the character presented in the first novel and it just never quite got there.
Overall, this was not quite as amazing for a series’ conclusion as it felt like there were so many unresolved pieces. Harper was used a few times as a device to show the readers that Rhen was decent when his actions may have shown otherwise. The writing just seemed to be missing the same heart as the first installment. While I am still on the fence about my feelings for the series as a whole, I am greatly looking forward to the companion/spin-off series, Forging Silver into Stars. While this series will feature other characters, it will take place in the land of Syhl Shallow, which was introduced in this series. Despite Rhen not quite aligning with my expectations, I did love his flaws as he was not automatically perfect after the curse was broken. He may not have been completely likable, but he has a nice complexity that is not included in other stories. I could see where the author was trying to go from point A at the start of the series to point B at the end of the series, but it seemed that some fluidity to get between them was lost. This was still an excellent series that was well worth the read and I look forward to trying out more from the author!