Fiction Books, YA Books

A Heart so Fierce and Broken by Brigid Kemmerer – ARC Review

Thank you to Bloomsbury for sending me an arc in exchange for an honest review.

I really enjoyed the first book especially as it wasn’t your typical retelling but had a much larger story arc but I was really disappointed by the sequel.

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Rating: 2/5

Synopsis 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?

*This review contains very mild spoilers*

I was really looking forward to seeing where the story would go next especially with the way Curse ended but I was left feeling really unsatisfied by this book. I was expecting lots of action and political tension with contrasting views between Rhen and Grey but we don’t get any of that.

Instead we get a whole lot of nothing really, during this whole book absolutely nothing of consequence happens. I found myself completely bored and not wanting to pick the book up for days at a time. We only see Grey’s and Lia’s point of view so we don’t even know what is happening outside of their small view as they spend most of the time on the run and in seclusion or trapped in a castle far from Emberfall.

While I do love Grey and I did end up really liking Lia I wish more had actually happened. I wanted to see more interaction between Rhen and Grey I wanted to see more of Harper. I also was not a fan of Rhen’s character development, or the lack thereof, he went backwards and I ended up not liking him at all in this book. He also very obviously has PTSD but this is used to make him a ruthless villain who even tortures a child at one point. I was so confused by this as Brigid did a great job showing Harper’s disability positively. I just wish the conversation was more nuanced.

I do love Grey and how much he cares for others and how kind and fair he is and we can see that he would become a great King, one that would actually help it’s people and I really liked seeing Lia interact with him. She was another character that while I did like did also annoy me at times. Though I did like how she has beaten down to the point that she doesn’t always trust her own judgement and ability because she would actually be a great Queen but not one that her mother wants her to be as she won’t be completely obedient to Karis. I enjoyed watching her learn to trust herself more and how Grey and Lia helped each other grow.

This is a very long book which had very little substance to it and felt like we didn’t really need much of the plot at all. It felt like a lot of filler information whereas the direction the story we were hinted at in Curse was one of brothers who become rivals with real consequences whereas we only see them have one conversation about the future of Emberfall in the very last chapter!

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