A Heart So Fierce and Broken by Brigid Kemmerer
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Publishing Info: January 2020 by Bloomsbury YA
Star Rating: 3/5
Back Cover Summary:
Harper has freed Pronce Rhen from the curse that almost destroyed his kingdom. Bit all is not well in Emberfall: rumours are rife thatthete is a rival heir with a stronger claim to the throne and that ‘Princess’ Harper of Disi is nothing but fraud.
Grey has fled the castle carrying a terrible secret. When he is discovered by soldiers and returned to Ironrose by force, Grey’s allegiances begin to shift. And as he grows closer to an enemy princess, he is forced to decide whether he will stand against Rhen for the crown he never wanted …
A Heart So Fierce and Broken is the anticipated sequel to Brigid Kemmerer’s A Curse So Dark and Lonely, which was one of my favourite reads of the year so far. I had high expectations for this book and while I enjoyed it, I didn’t love it quite as much as A Curse So Dark and Lonely.
While the first book is told in the alternating perspectives of Harper and Rhen, the sequel focuses on the POVs of Grey and Lia Mara. Grey is such a great character so I was excited to get to see his perspective, but I didn’t feel like he developed enough in this book considering a lot of the focus was on him. Lia Mara is a new character, daughter of Karis Luran, the queen of Syhl Shallow. I did like her, but didn’t connect with her as much as I did with Harper.
I liked getting to know some characters from the first book more, such as Jake, as well as meeting new characters like Tycho and Nolla Verin. Harper was my favourite character from the first book, so I did miss her in this one. She only has, I think, one POV chapter and pops up a couple of times but that’s all. Although the first book was told from Harper and Rhen’s perspective, I still felt I got to know Grey through their POVs. Whereas in this book, I felt very disconnected from Harper and Rhen. Also, Rhen seemed really different. I know a lot happened in book one, and I always liked that he was a bit of a grey character, but he was portrayed essentially as a villain in this one and that shift was kind of strange. I think the book would have benefited from including more chapters from Harper and Rhen’s perspectives.
By the end I just felt like not much had happened. I wasn’t as captivated by it as A Curse So Dark and Lonely. It takes us away from the setting and characters we know from the first book, which can help freshen up a sequel, but I didn’t feel that in this case. The change in direction is a bit jarring. It’s an unusual way to write a sequel, which could have been interesting, but it didn’t feel quite right.
This sequel seemed like a transitional book, a bridge between the first and third. Middle books are hard to get right, and although I did like this book, it didn’t quite hit the mark for me.
While I enjoyed this book, I didn’t quite connect with it as much as A Curse So Dark and Lonely. Since I gave A Curse So Dark and Lonely 4 stars, it therefore made sense to give A Heart So Fierce and Broken 3 stars. I just didn’t click with it.
The final chapter does provide an interesting twist and I’m interested to see what happens in the third and final book, A Vow So Bold and Deadly. I have a feeling this series is going to leave me heartbroken!