A Heart So Fierce And Broken is here to leave you reeling.
This book wrung me through at least thirty seven emotions. At first, it left me unsure (the storyline wasn’t what I expected and had developments that hurt my heart) but though my initial gut-reaction was frustration…the more I read and slowed down and thought about the story, the more I appreciated what it was doing. The last 200 pages? Perfection.
spoilers apply if you haven’t read book 1; but no spoilers for this book!
📖 Review of A Curse So Dark And Lonely (Book 1)
And underneath it all, so tiny that I almost don’t acknowledge it, a kernel of pride that instead of magic bringing fear and torment, the way Lilith did, or pain and death, the way my sword would, my magic brought healing and trust, and that is not a small thing at all.
This is Grey’s story. I didn’t know it wouldn’t feature Harper and Rhen as much! They get a chapter each, but mostly the book is split between Grey and Lia Mara (the spare heir from Syhl Shallow). It follows Grey on the run and Lia Mara warring with her feelings of being unwanted as her ruthless mother grooms her youngest daughter for vicious power and everyone treats Lia Mara like…a royal sack of potatoes. The story has a lot of the good ol’ fantasy things you expect: roadtrips, unlikely allies, trips to prison, a sort of fighting pit, spot of torture, sword practising, a royal ball, people yelling. It’s focused on politics and travel. (I did miss book one’s focus on like…monsters and torture and Harper shouting at people.)
At first I did struggle 😭 But then I also couldn’t put it down. And I keep thinking about it — which is what I love books to do to me.
I’d utterly DIE FOR GREY. He is such a Hufflepuff, so doggedly stupidly loyal, but in this book he’s panicked, stretched to the limit, betrayed and cornered into becoming a leader when he’s always just followed. (ARAGORN VIBES.) He’s realising magic can be good, not just evil. He’s realising brothers can be evil, not just good. He’s broken, then rebuilt. I really really loved his whole arc!
We also meet Tycho (the utterly adorably loyal kid who would also die for Grey; you and me both, Tycho!!) and Iisak (a sort of monster creature who I loved just because he’s a monster creature) and there is a lot more Jake and Noah content too! Jake tries to drown Grey at one point and they bond. It’s really lovely. Bless.
And Lia Mara? At the beginning her chapters were ones I wanted to skip 😂 but by the end I loved her! Introducing new characters mid-way to a series is hard, but I enjoyed her realisation that she was MORE than a sack of potatoes. You go Lia Mara.
Wow, I had many feels. My attention waned at the beginning’s slowness, but by the end I was hooked. Grey and his storyline was captivating, his love and pain so visceral. I was intrigued by the budding magic system. But mostly? I loved how the book dismantled the toxic ideas behind “strength”. It put an arrow through the heart of the idea that women need to be pure viciousness to be “strong” and that men need to be unyielding and cold to be “strong”. It also pointed neon arrows towards the fact that FEAR MAKES PEOPLE MONSTERS. And I’m loving the deft way it handled that.
90% of the characters in this book are motivated by fear. It leaves us with a lot to mull over.
Downside was, because we weren’t in Rhen and Harper’s head…so their plot line felt frustratingly insipid. Rhen makes some unforgivable decisions, but not seeing his POV makes him a flat out villain. However, (1) I think book 3 will explain further, and (2)…I think that’s what the book wanted to do.
“Ah, yes, the most dangerous person at the party is always the girl sitting alone with a book.”
Honestly this was an emotional roller coaster, packed full of intrigue and betrayals and heartache. The title fits SO WELL after you’ve read it. I just want Grey to be okay and for someone to find out why Tycho is hurting and make everything better for him forever. Also I need more monsters!!! Hoping for more monsters in book 3!!!
Thanks to Bloomsbury AUS for the review-copy! A Heart So Fierce And Broken (#2) by Brigid Kemmerer releases in January 2020.
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?
have you read this series yet?? what do you think!! do you like when sequels have new POV characters?