This story has two separate worlds, modern Washington DC and Emberfall a land of kings and a terrible monster. Harper lives in DC with her mother and brother. Their father is no where to be found after taking loans from untrustworthy sources and now her and her brother must find a way to pay for his debts while tending to the care of their dying mother. Life is very difficult for Harper in DC, but all that changes when she is abducted by Gray, a loyal solider sworn to oath to Prince Rhen the heir to Emberfall. Rhen, and taken to their home to break a curse. Rhen is a handsome prince and seems to have everything anyone would want in a prince but he has fail season after season to find someone to fall in love with him to break the curse. He must find someone to love him and all of his troubles to evaporate and he can live his life just like any other prince. Harper represent Rhen’s last chance to save himself and his kingdom if he doesn’t convince Harper to love him he will remain cursed forever. Part of Rhen’s curse is transforming into a horrible monster that destroys families, including his own, and within his kingdom. All know about this monster and it haunts their dreams but they do not know Rhen is the monster and how he killed their king, queen and princess, all he is what remains to inherit the kingdom. Rhen must break the curse and save his kingdome from the latest threat from Queen Karis Luran from Syhl Shallow. Her army has been evading Emberfell and killing their armies. Rhen has a lot to achieve and time is running out. Harper is a feisty young lady that isn’t easily persuaded, but she quickly adjusts to life in Emberfell and convinces the people that she is the princess of Disi and forming an alliance to Emberfell through Rhen. It is all an illusion to trick Karis into beliveing their army is strong, but will it all work? Time is running out for Harper’s mother who is on her death bed with cancer. She wants to spend her last days with her but will she leave Emberfell and Rhen who will be cursed forever if she leaves? Will Harper fall in love with Rhen and decide to stay? There are many dilemmas to work through this story.
It took about 100 pages to really enjoy this story. I LOVED A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas and I thought it was similar but not quite as captivating. This book ties in modern books and culture with this fictional land of kings and curses. However what I appreciated was the portrayal of Harper, a girl with cerebral palsy. Harper has always been protected by her brother but in Emberfall she becomes her own even with a slight limp to her gate. She was a typical teenage girl with a bit of sassy attitude but confident in a way that was entertaining to read. I didn’t love this book but I can see many students enjoying the story escpailly the combination of modern world and Emberfall. It is a fun twist that adds for some humor in the story when it comes to soical customs in Emberfall. How would you like to be called “Lady Harper” when you have been just Harper or “Harp” all your life? I would like to thank Bloomsbury for sending me the ARC and I appreciated the opportunity to preview this new release. I will have a student read and let me know their feedback before I decide whether to order a copy for the library or not.