Title: A Heart so Fierce and Broken
Author: Brigid Kemmerer
Series: Cursebreakers #2
E.S.C.A.P.E Score: 33
(see below for breakdown)
Find the heir, win the crown. Win the crown, save the kingdom.
Harper has freed Prince Rhen from the curse that almost destroyed his kingdom. But all is not well; rumours are rife that there is a rival heir with a stronger claim to the throne and that ‘Princess’ Harper of Disi is nothing but a 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
This was a little underwhelming for me. In the First book (See my review), I really enjoyed Harper’s perspective and Grey as a character but in this instalment both of them fell rather flat. For those hoping for more of Harper’s sassy back talk and strong will you are reading the wrong book! She hardly appears within this novel and when she does she is subservient and weak which was not the same character I enjoyed in the first book of the series. In fact most of the pre-existing characters seemed wildly different from there initial incarnations. For some this made the story really interesting, one character I sympathised with almost became a villain which was a very interesting choice.
We follow Grey a lot more in this book which was something I was initially excited about and he started off really strong. He is one of two main perspectives we follow within this book. I loved how his story line had evolved but then as the book went on I just kind of got bored. We learnt a lot about his back story and his feelings about the events of the first book. I liked the bonds he had made within his new home. One thing that stood out it how he read a lot older that he appeared. This was a great subtle bit of writing as he matured alot during his hundreds of relived lives during the curse so while he appears young he is not stupid.
However, as we got into new areas for him he lots a lot of the charm, he became rather repetitive and a little boring. I felt the opposite for our new perspective Lia Mara. Initially, i didn’t like her and her perspective felt a bit one note but as her story expanded I began to enjoy her perspective much more than Grey’s. As we follow her half of events she grows into what we are missing with Harper’s absence she just grows from strength to strength and becomes a very interesting character.
Another disappointment was the romance in this book was so boring! there was no passion to it at all and no tension. The world-building was ok. We got sweeping descriptions of Castles and landscapes but not real depth into the magic system so it was a bit of a mixed bag. There just wasn’t a lot to hold on too. Initially with Grey’s perspective I could picture a lot about his life and his surroundings but again that sort of faded away with him.
What was this books saving grace and what pushed it up into the three star category was its pacing! The first half of the book set the scene but then the second half just turns the tension up and up to the conclusion. The choice to make a central character from the first book into almost the villain of this one was a fantastic move.It left me torn about who to side with and that was great. Their actions were almost shocking and that made the second half of this book exciting, as I really was torn about who and how I wanted them to suceed. The ending was also fantastic. The epilogue had a bold twist that actually made me go from "hmm I am not to fussed" to "oh I am reading the next one" and that is what really moved this book from mediocre to alright for me.