Monday, December 9, 2019

A Heart So Fierce and Broken (Cursebreakers, #2)
by Brigid Kemmerer

Synopsis (via Goodreads): In the sequel to New York Times bestselling A Curse So Dark and Lonely, Brigid Kemmerer returns to the world of Emberfall in a lush fantasy where friends become foes and love blooms in the darkest of places.

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.
Rumored to be the heir, Grey has been 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?

The heart-pounding, compulsively readable saga continues as loyalties are tested and new love blooms in a kingdom on the brink of war.

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I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. My thoughts and opinions are my own. Any quotes I use are from an unpublished copy and may not reflect the finished product.

Throughout A Curse So Dark and Lonely, I was hardcore shipping Harper and Grey. I know she was there to break Rhen's curse, but it was Grey that first offered her friendship and kindness. He understood her on a level Rhen never did, and I really wanted that to go somewhere. Rhen might care about his people, but he's not above being selfish and playing dirty to get what he wants. I was really upset when A Curse So Dark and Lonely ended the way it did, and was thrilled to discover the second book was about Grey. Grey is honorable and determined to do what's right, even if that means giving up everything he cares about. I hated that he was willing to sacrifice so much, and Rhen couldn't trust that he had his best interests in mind.

The first chapter of A Heart So Fierce and Broken is from Harper's perspective, and the final chapter is from Rhen's. The rest of the book alternates between Grey and Lia Mara. Lia Mara was a wonderful addition to the story, and I was cheering for her despite my previous feelings from the first book. Harper made her choice, Grey made his, and I still think they have a solid friendship despite their circumstances. I admired Lia Mara's tenacity and her willingness to do whatever it took to keep her people safe. She was also concerned about the residents of Emberfall, which was a lovely surprise that made me like her even more. She's a queen's daughter, but she never demands anything from anyone. Lia Mara fought for herself and others, and she never hesitated to help when she could. She balanced Grey out in a way Harper never could.

I also enjoyed watching Grey learn to trust people, and accept the help they freely offered. He's been a guardsman for (what feels like) an eternity, and he's used to shutting down his emotions to do what's necessary to protect the Crown. I really liked Grey in the first book, but I love the person he became over the course of this one. He has friends! He learned to trust people! He was sweet, gentle, and affectionate! Clearly, this was the man Grey was meant to be, and it was great watching him find himself. Jake, Noah, Lia Mara, Tycho, Iisak -- they helped Grey in ways he never anticipated.

All of the secondary characters were phenomenal, and the new additions are some of my favorites. I don't want to spoil anything for anyone, so I'll let you meet them yourselves. They all have a past, and we learn very little about their histories over the course of this book. I hope Kemmerer elaborates on these characters more in the next book, because I think exploring their pasts will enlighten certain aspects about the present. Especially where Tycho and Iisak are concerned. I also really liked where Jake landed in this book, and think he's finally found a purpose for himself.

I really tried to savor the experience of reading A Heart So Fierce and Broken, but I couldn't stop once I reached a certain point. Kemmerer makes me care so deeply for her characters, and the world-building is incredible. It's like I've lived in her world my entire life, and sword fights are a common occurrence. If you haven't read anything by this author, or haven't started this series specifically, you're missing out! This book was an emotional roller coaster, and I cannot wait to see what Kemmerer does next.

I'm giving away an ARC of A Heart So Fierce and Broken in my 2019 End of the Year Giveaway! Just click on the link and follow the directions to enter. Good luck!

16 comments:

  1. I am so excited for this one, I can't wait! I loved Grey as well so I can't wait for more of him. So glad you loved this!!

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    1. If you loved Grey, this book is going to be a blast for you! ;) I really enjoyed going on Grey's journey, and seeing how he responded to situations without Rhen's influence. He's never really had the chance to be his own person, and now circumstances are forcing him to claim a role he never imagined. It was fantastic!

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  2. You've got me excited to read this!!

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    1. I hope so! Have you read the first book? A Curse So Dark and Lonely? If you haven't, I recommend reading it before starting this one. It's such a good series! <3

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  3. I also thought book 1 seemed weirdly triangle-y. And I liked Grey a lot too. So I have mixed feelings about reading this. (I had the same problem in Lunar Chronicles, because Cinder and Thorne's bantering was so good that I wanted them together.)

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    1. Okay, so there's no love triangle! Lia Mara THINKS Grey has feelings for Harper, but they clear the air in this book. Grey admires Harper and everything she's been through, but he also says there's no one more perfect for Rhen. Grey and Harper definitely care about each other, but they also survived the curse together. Grey was a her friend long before Rhen showed affection for her. It's all so complicated right now! However, Kemmerer does make it clear that there's no triangle, despite how much I wanted Grey and Harper together.

      I never considered Cinder and Thorne! I did enjoy their banter, but it was always her and Kaito in my head. I do like where everyone ended up in that series. <3

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  4. I need to dive into this story! I love that the secondary characters also shine. I'm so excited to start this soon! Great review!

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    1. You'll have to let me know what you think! I only know a few people that have read it, and I really want to talk to someone about what happens at the end. MUST. DISCUSS. ;)

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  5. I'm so glad this one held up so well! None of the dreaded second book/middle book syndrome. And now the wait for the next book begins. :)

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    1. None of the dreaded second/middle book syndrome! Yay! I think I enjoyed this one more than the first book, and I really loved A Curse So Dark and Lonely. I was happy to have a book with Grey's perspective since he was my favorite character from book one. The wait might kill me! ;)

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  6. oh I can't believe I haven't started this series yet!!! (sobs)

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  7. I haven't read this author but this sounds good and I love the colors on that cover.

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    1. Kemmerer is fantastic! This series in particular. ;)

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  8. I have the first one on my Kindle and need to get to it one day.

    Karen @ For What It's worth

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    1. Yesss! I'm trying to picture you reading it, and I honestly have no idea if you'll like it or not. ;) This will be interesting, haha. Definitely let me know once you start reading it!

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“Stuff and nonsense. Nonsense and stuff and much of a muchness and nonsense all over again. We are all mad here, don't you know?”
― Marissa Meyer, Heartless