*I received an ARC at BookCon. All quotes are taken from the ARC and are subject to change.*
Overall: 4/5 Stars
Plot and Themes: 4/5
Awesomeness Factor: 3/5
Review in a Nutshell: A Heart So Fierce and Broken is, overall, a great read, but some aspects left me conflicted.
“There is no path here. I feel as though the curse never ended. The players simply changed.”
// Content Warning: Violence, Death, Torture, Anxiety, Suicide Mention, Self Harm Mention, Rape Mention, Animal Death, War Themes, Mental Illness, PTSD //
Release Date: 1/7/2020
Page Count: 491
A Heart So Fierce and Broken is the sequel to A Curse So Dark and Lonely, this focusing on Grey, Rhen’s loyal guard who is on the run, and Lia Mara, the daughter of the queen of a rival kingdom.
“Choices are never easy. There are good or bad options, but the most dangerous is not to make any choice at all.”
Read more for all of my thoughts on A Heart So Fierce and Broken!
“I have walked into your palace with nothing, but that means I have nothing you can take from me.”
This gives me major Jude from The Cruel Prince vibes
Writing & Setting
Brigid Kemmerer’s writing style continues to be perfect for this world she has created. It’s easy and fun to read while still feeling like a high fantasy novel. Speaking of the world- this book further expands the world Emberfall finds itself in, dealing with the politics of not only the kingdom we all know and love, but a rival kingdom- Syhl Shallow. I really loved seeing more of this universe and getting to understand it, and the magic within it, even more.
”If you believe you can place a crown on my head and wield me as your puppet, you are very mistaken indeed.”
If you’ve read the first book, then you might be wondering: why is this a series? A Curse So Dark and Lonely could have been a standalone. It’s story was perfect, and everything felt wrapped up well enough, and the few loose threads that remained were bearable. At first, I thought A Heart So Fierce and Broken was unnecessary, but it does expand on the first book, in ways you may like, or may not (I’ll get more into that later), and is clearly gearing up for a grand finale that I’ll definitely be reading. As for the plot itself, it’s very well paced, with plenty of twists and turns. And oh my god, after that ending, I need book 3!
“I spent an eternity serving Rhen. She can try her best, but I doubt she’d come close to the nonsense I’ve endured.”
I really just want a novella of the seasons before Harper arrived, with Grey just barely putting up with Rhen
Now to where I get a little conflicted. First- the good things. I loved that we got a book on Grey, because he totally deserved one. I also really liked Lia Mara. I was a little nervous at following a new character when I love all of the old ones so much, but she really was an amazing protagonist. I especially loved how the book shows her relationship with her sister! Also, this book includes some new side characters that I loved, as well as bringing back some old favorites that I was so happy to see and learn more about!
Okay, now for the less good stuff. I’m not gonna lie. I spent a lot of this book worrying about Rhen. His decisions and development stressed me out so much. But let’s rewind.
To begin with, I was sad this book wasn’t going to be following Rhen and Harper. I really found myself invested in them by the end of A Curse So Dark and Lonely and I wanted to be able to spend more time with them. But that definitely did not happen. Instead, this book features them as brief cameos, and those brief moments undo so much of their development they worked so hard for in the previous book.
Now that I’ve finished A Heart So Fierce and Broken, I understand why these choices were made, but it was still so hard to read. That said, I am glad Brigid Kemmerer included a fairly accurate depiction of PTSD in this book, and it wasn’t just ignored. I really hope in the next book that the PTSD is recognized even more and that the character suffering from it actually gets some help or support, instead of falling even deeper into villainy.
“You made me realize that I am no longer a weapon to be wielded by another.”
[ Related: 19 Best Debut Novels of 2019 (Recommendation Nation) ]
Pros- Great new characters, love seeing more of this world
Cons- I’m still stressed about the old characters, and kinda bitter about their backwards development
Overall- 4/5 stars.
A Heart so Fierce and Broken expands on a fantastic world and characters, and is clearly building up to an epic finale that I can’t wait to read. I just hope it doesn’t hurt me as much as this one did (let’s face it- it will).
“Fear makes people act in ways we’d never expect.”
whenever I’m afraid I just find a corner to hide in and panic, so fear really just makes me more predictable
If You Liked A Heart So Fierce and Broken, I’d Recommend:
- Ruined (Ruined #1) by Amy Tintera – [ Review ]
- The Kiss of Deception (The Remnant Chronicles #1) by Mary E. Pearson
- The Orphan Queen (The Orphan Queen #1) by Jodi Meadows
Are you excited for A Heart So Fierce and Broken?? What’s your most anticipated sequel coming out this year?
(I’m currently dying for Blood & Honey, We Free the Stars, and Ruthless Gods!)