Book Review: A Heart so Fierce and Broken by Brigid Kemmerer (ARC)

Hi everyone! Today is FINALLY the release day for one of my most anticipated releases! I have been waiting for A Heart so Fierce and Broken since I finished savoring the last few pages of A Curse so Dark and Lonely last year.

That being said, if you have not read A Curse so Dark and Lonely, do NOT proceed with this review. The synopsis alone contains spoilers for Curse!!

A Heart so Fierce and Broken

Author: Brigid Kemmerer

Publication Date: 07 January 2020

Genre: Young Adult – Fantasy

Pages: 464

Publisher: Bloomsbury YA

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.

A Curse so Dark and Lonely was one of my top reads from last year. I loved how fierce and independent Harper was. I also enjoyed watching Rhen’s metamorphosis while he was falling for Harper. However, I was left wanting when it came to Grey. I wanted more of his story. A Heart so Fierce and Broken delivered a heart-pounding and beautiful tale of love, friendship, and loyalty.

Now that the curse is broken, the people of Emberfall should be celebrating their freedom from the reign of terror that the monster unleashed every season. However, with rumors of a true heir who is also a magesmith spreading across the country, the people are questioning Rhen’s authority and Emberfall is on the brink of collapse. In order to regain control and reunite his people, Rhen is determined to find this magesmith no matter the price and put an end to magic in Emberfall.

After defeating Lilith and discovering his identity as true heir, Grey fleas Ironrose in order to protect both Rhen and Harper from discovering the truth. Grey has no intention of claiming the throne, so he chooses a life of hiding instead. Unfortunately, with Rhen’s army gaining traction on their hunt for the magesmith, Grey’s days in hiding are coming to a close.

Lia Mara is the eldest daughter of the fierce and brutal ruler of Syhl Shallow, Karis Luran. Due to Lia Mara’s disdain for violence and brutality, her younger sister Nolla Verin has been named heir and successor. Although Lia Mara won’t be queen, she is determined to unite the kingdoms of Syhl Shallow and Emberfall without bloodshed. However, when Lia Mara tries to peacefully negotiate with Rhen, he refuses to be fooled again as imprisons her. Lia Mara’s only hope for escape is to enlist the help of Grey.

The story alternates between Grey’s and Lia Mara’s POVs. We asked and begged for more Grey, and Brigid Kemmerer beautifully delivered. I loved Grey’s character development as he transitioned from Rhen’s yes man bound by honor and duty as Commander of the Royal Guard to a man who finally follows his own head and heart to do what is right. I wasn’t sure what to expect from Lia Mara, but by the end, I couldn’t root for her enough. I admire her unwavering determination to find a peaceful solution even when it means making herself a target. Watching the relationship that unfolded between Grey and Lia Mara was utterly addicting. If there was a TV show that centered just around these two, I would gladly binge watch it in a heartbeat.

The pacing of the story was spot on. I found myself tearing through the pages as the new adventure unfolded. One thing to note, if you go into this story thinking that Rhen and Harper are the major players again, you will be sadly disappointed. While we do have a few interludes in the story where they make an appearance, this part of the story really puts Grey and Lia Mara front and center. I honestly preferred that more because we also got to experience a more desperate side of Rhen when it comes to his fears associated with magic, which Grey alluded to in ACSDL but we didn’t really get to witness.

Overall, A Heart so Fierce and Broken is a beautifully crafted sequel to A Curse so Dark and Lonely that makes me even more anxious to see how this trilogy will ultimately come to an end.

Thank you to Bloomsbury YA for providing a copy for review. This did not influence my review. All opinions are my own.

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