A Heart so Firece and Broken by Brigid Kemmerer
“Ah yes, the most dangerous person at the party is always the girl sitting alone with a book.”– Brigid Kemmerer
Book: A Heart so Fierce and Broken
Author: Brigid Kemmerer
Published: 7th Jan’2020
Genre: YA Fiction, Fantasy Fiction, Fairy Tale
Series: The Cruse-Breaker #1
My rating: 2.5/5
Blurb from Goodreads:
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.
“When a man no longer deserves your loyalty, it is not a failing of yours!”– Brigid Kemmerer
I only picked this up because I read the first part of the series and I was intrigued enough to find out more. I had no expectations whatsoever.
Initially, I was indifferent to it but slowly warmed up as the plot thickened. I actually didn’t see why people didn’t fancy the book as much as they did the first part because this clearly felt much better and clever than its prequel.
Then came the epilogue! With those chapters, it felt like I was taken high above the mountains promising a beautiful scenery but it was all a ploy to kick me off of it.
Yes! I am severely disappointed. Even more so, given that I actually was in love with the plot and wanted to keep reading and not stop. I wish I’d have stopped. Now, it only feels like it’s a forced extension to the story.
A Heart so Fierce and Broken brought in a lot of fresh characters and a fresh side to the story. The foolish teenage warriors were still a part of the story but so were a lot of other clever and well written characters. It even had a better plot given that the antagonist was much stronger and acceptable than the one in the previous book which lacked a proper motive.
We mostly hear the story form Grey and Lia Mara’s point of view and it was a good one. They speak of peace above everything else and value life of their people more than their own power. They are willing to sacrifice their love and themselves if it means that the people will rest without fear.
This felt like a redemption to my hatred for the stupidity in the first book and I was happy I picked this up. It was such an indulging read and a page turner.
While I give it to the author for serving us a good amount of twists and precious moments, there were moments which I felt were historically inaccurate. But giving them the freedom of creating a fictional world of her own, I decided to let go of that.
But, Princess Harper of Disi was a survivor of Cerebral Palsy and she only suffers with a crooked leg and a limp? That was very hard for me to digest. Also, I felt like a few diseases were just randomly thrown in because of the presence of the modern aged doctor turned healer – Noah!
All of this aside, I was into the book until I read the last chapters. I will talk in detail about why I let one chapter dictate my rating of the book in the spoiler section of my review.
I rate it 2.5 because of the plot that had me hooked.
“It is not weakness to wish for peace.”– Brigid Kemmerer
Coming to why I am so disappointed is the same reason why I didn’t fancy the first book as much as I thought I would – Lilith and her poor reasons to terrorize Emberfall and it’s people!
Why the hell did Lilith have to come back! And why now? I hate that she’s back not only because she’s an antagonist without a good story line but also because she’s back and using Harper to lure Rhen against Grey. I do not think Rhen would have yielded immediately anyway because he didn’t want to join hands with Shyl Shallow. Its as if she only came to make us feel a little better about Rhen. Poor Rhen, he is only fighting Grey to save Harper form Lilith!
Apart from that, the other parts of the story with the new characters and the fresh alliances and blooming relationships made the story a manageable read. If only the ending would have been different!
Coming to the characters..
Lia Mara: The elder daughter but not the heir to the throne of Shyl Shallow, Lia is a very kind and opinionated young woman. She is also brave and chooses peace above all else. Initially, she assumes that she wasn’t named heir because she wasn’t strong enough to be cruel but with the help of Grey she discovers that she is so strong that she doesn’t need to be cruel to prove it. That and her inherent ability to question her mother’s rudeness is why she wasn’t chosen as the heir and she loves her sister, so much so that she willingly forgoes her feelings for Grey in order to see her succeed. She kills her mother and voila… Queen Lia Mara of Shyl Shallow is born! She is like the female version of Mahatma Gandhi! Ahimsa is her weapon.
Nolla Verin: A young princess pushed into the never ending trials of pleasing her mother and never disobeying her. Always working towards getting her mother’s approval above all else, Nolla was an immature kind girl who lived for her mother. I had hopes for her to redeem herself though. The way she embroiders a pillow case for her sister that says – ‘2 sisters, 1 heart’ was proof enough for me to have trust in her. I thought she would be the one to kill her mother though. I love how she finally gets to live out what’s left of her childhood after Karis Luran dies.
Tycho: He is just a boy who was looking for someone who would love him as his own. The blind trust he shows in Grey and the way he preferred dying to revealing his secret were so endearing. I’m so happy that he found a friend in Iisaak and may be a lover in Nolla.
Scarver: He was the king of Scarvers in search of his long lost son. His name is Iisaak and he has more capability of being loyal than anyone else in the book. I got Rhysand vibes from him and I loved it. Hopefully, he learns more of the where-abouts of his son in the next part.
Karis Luran: I thought she was only cruel because of her upbringing. Turns out she was also born with the cruel genes and was not just influenced by it. She orders to harm anyone who betrays her which is alright but she orders Grey to kill Lia Mara to prove his loyalty to this stupid cause that they were fighting for. We also learn that Lia and Nolla are step-sisters because the Queen doesn’t need a king by her side to rule and that she can chose her mate based on the qualities she liked. She’s dead so, I’m glad it’s over. She definitely was a very strong character!
Grey: The true heir to Emberfall! The mage smith who is yet to embrace and grow into his full power! Grey is so loyal that he goes into hiding just to protect Rhen. But with the PTSD that Rhen has from how magic terrified him, Rhen doesn’t let go and starts losing his people to his obsession of finding the heir. In that process, he also manages to get a glimpse of Grey’s power by triggering him through violence guided towards Tycho. But Grey is a good man. Unlike Rhen, he wants this to be over. He goes from not wanting anything to do with the throne to now wanting to claim it to safeguard the people against further violence. I especially love the simple but precious moments he steals with Lia Mara while going through the ordeal. I would read the next part to see how he grows into his complete powers and destroys Lilith for good and then maybe Harper and Rhen could rule Emberfall and Grey and Lia could rule Shyl Shallow while the people would rest in peace. Until then, someone kiss me as passionately as Grey kisses Lia! Pretty please?
What I liked about it:
1. Seems to redeem itself from the poor antagonist of the previous book
2. A page turner with its fair amount of shocks/surprises
3. A good story with introduction of better characters than the first installment of the series
4. Unlike the previous book, this one has a strong enough plot
5. Lgbtq plus literature
6. Speaks of peace as a better way of life than war
1. I kind of hate one of the main characters and I find him to be foolish
2. The disability that cerebral palsy causes has been very lightly taken
3. Honestly, not a very well researched or well placed book with things that would hold true to certain centuries
4. Not a fan of the writing
5. The ending spoiled it all for me. I’m disappointed!
“This one is for you, my dear reader. Look in the mirror. You’re a cursebreaker. You’re strong. You’re amazing. You are changing the world by just being in it. And I am so very proud of you.”– Brigid Kemmerer