A Curse So Dark And Lonely Readalong: Day 3

Gorgeous photo by @vibrantreads

Bonjour, good day!

Welcome back to the third day of this readalong! I’ve LOVED reading all of your comments in the previous days – it seems like you guys are enjoying this books so much and that makes me so happy! I’m finding it so hard to stop at the daily chapters each day, which means I am loving this book!

It’s time to discuss today’s chapters. Are you ready?

Please be warned, the following will include spoilers for A Curse So Dark and Lonely chapters 17-23 inclusively. Read only if you’ve finished those chapters!


Wow, SO MUCH happened even though they we stayed at the inn the entire time (and even though we stayed in one location for all of those chapters I didn’t get bored for a second). The end of the last chapters was really intense, and Rhen and Harper got into an argument when she snuck off to take food to the inn. Now, let’s go over everything that happened!

When they get to the inn, Harper thinks that Rhen hasn’t paid anything for the help and housing, but she founds out that Rhen paid Evalyn for 6 months worth of lodging and that surprises her. She expects him not to be considerate about that stuff, and I’m glad that he is. What kind of guy would he be if he didn’t? Rhen has been so sweet honestly.

All of a sudden, a group of men come to the inn and try to take over it and threaten to burn the inn down if people don’t leave. We recognise some of them, and they claim that the royal family is dead… but prince Rhen is right there. We learn that these men are from Syhl Shallow (where the queen is Karis Luran) and they are claiming land – we can definitely sense an invasion! And this is where things get interesting…

Harper steps up and says “You dare threaten the first daughter of Disi?”. I loooove the way this is going! Also, when she says that and Rhen looks at her like she’s grown a second head is just hilarious. Harper carries herself with such conviction and she totally comes across as a kick-butt princess! I LOVE the way that went down.

Rhen and Harper have a a great conversation at one point, and when Rhen puts her hair behind her ear she reacts badly saying she knows what he is doing, because she knows that he is good at seducing women. It’s such a good point because how can you trust someone that you know is needs a someone to fall in love with him? It could all be fake. I would have trouble trusting him too!

Grey and Harper have a knife throwing session where Grey teaches her how to throw knives (his dark humour is always fabulous) and at some moments I am thinking is something going to happen with Harper and Grey? But then Rhen comes along and you can just see that Grey is so loyal to Rhen. We also have another appearance from Lilith, and she always creeps me out!

So one of the key things we learn in these chapters is that Emberfall is at risk of an invasion. Rhen and Harper come to a deal and have an awesome heart-to-heart when they are playing cards (when she hugged him and that shocked him totally made my heart melt!). Harper is going to pretend to be the Princess of Disi and they are going to form an alliance and Rhen is going to try to get Lilith to take Harper home… which I can already feel will end badly because HELLO it is Lilith and she is awful! Lilith also tells us that she isn’t the last sorceress so I wonder how that is going to pan out?

I am SO excited to read the next chapters because Harper is going to be pretending to be a princess and this also means that Rhen and Harper are going to have to fake a sort of alliance and I LOVE the whole thing!

What did you think of these chapters? Are you as scared of Lilith as I am?

I cannot wait to read tomorrow’s chapters with you!

With Love,



35 thoughts on “A Curse So Dark And Lonely Readalong: Day 3

  1. So, who exactly is this Karis Luran character we’re hearing about? Guys, what if she’s the other magesmith that Lilith was talking about? I have a bad feeling that Lilith isn’t going to be the greatest evil we have to face in this book. ?
    I’m glad Rhen is on board with the whole ‘Save the Kingdom’ vibe now. I was starting to lose all faith in him, but he really does seem to care about his people. Maybe he just needed Harper to show him how much difference he could make. ?
    It’s so cool that they finally have a plan together, even if it is still in its preliminary stages. I can’t wait to see how all this plays out.

    I’m so worried about how this is going to end. I know Harper needs to get home to her mom and brother, but I really want her to stay in this beautiful kingdom, too. I don’t want to have to split any of these guys up! ?

    1. i never thought of that Karis being like Lilith that would be scary

    2. Lol I agree, I don’t want Harper to leave Emberfall and I kind of wish she didn’t have family back home :/ I understand that there needed to be some kind of urgency, plot wise, for her to want to leave Emberfall (and break the Curse), but tbh I’m not feeling the whole family-in-trouble back home thing, as it’s a constant distraction from the great dynamics developing between Harper, Rhen, and Grey. (am I making sense xD)

    3. Holy moly! I hadnt thought of Lilith not being the big bad. Wowza that’s scary!

  2. I love the castle setting but there’s something so cozy about the inn that is allowing better and more important communication. I still don’t see Harper with Grey (what’s wrong with me!) However I feel like there’s some kind of serious foreshadowing happening with Grey teaching Harper these defense skills with the dagger and now the knives. Is she going to have to use these new skills to save her family back in DC? Also, I need more info on this mysterious queen and the beast time. How long is he a beast. Is he really violent or is he bewitched to be violent? Why can’t you look him up right before the change until it passes?
    Also, is this book a stand alone? I have no idea how we are going to fill in all the missing pieces and tie up all th loose ends by the end of this book!

    1. This is not really a standalone. There will be a sequel more centered on Grey and it will take place right where the first book ended. This is what I learned and saw on Goodreads.

      Also, I don’t ship romantically Harper and Grey too but they have a great friendship!

  3. Okay. We keep hearing of Karis Luran but we know nothing of her or Shyl Shallow. I wouldnt be surprised if Lilith was working with Karis Luran to take over Emberfall in exchange for something. Or maybe Lilith is Karis Luran. Her magic is powerful. Shd could change her apperance if she wanted. I seriously hate Lilith. She reminds me of Amarantha so much.

    I love this whole plan they are formulating. It makes the story more interesting and dynamic. Definitely intriged to see how Harper plays her Princess role. I also liked Rhen more. He is opening up bit by bit and he appears more human and vulnerable. More sincere in his words. I am liking their small moments. But I am also liking Grey and Harper’s moments. I really can’t figure out who I want her to stay with!!

    Its interesting Lilith reveals there are more mageshifts in the world when we thought it was just her. Would perhaps we see them later? Are they evil? If they are in hiding, would they eventually help? Maybe they are afraid of Lilith as well. Or what if Harper is a mageshift? The surviving one (or ones) travelled to the human world and transferred their magic.

    I am loving this book more and more!!!

    1. *magesmith not mageshift

  4. These chapters seem to fly!

    New theory Rhen fell in love with one of the girls to break the curse but she fell in love with Grey. Now Rhen is kind of protective of Harper so it doesn’t happen again.

    I still think a Grey is hiding a big secrect. There is just something about him that does not seem honest to me.

    Roll on tomorrow’s chapters!!

  5. I am having trouble connecting to any of the characters except Lilith. But I really enjoy the dual perspective in this book. This readalong keeps me going and I like reading everyones thoughts! ?

  6. just love everything I have read in this book, though I think it could have just a tiny but more intrigue to make it perfect.

  7. Hey Anissa! Hey awesome nerds! ?

    Spoiler alert, I finished the book last night (but basically today because I went to bed at midnight) and I absolutely ADORED it! Even though I had already read the ARC.

    Nonetheless, on what comes to today’s chapters, I loved how smoothly the romance between Harper and Rhen is escalating, and how Grey becomes such a good and loyal friend. I feel like he’s one of my favourite characters in this book, not only because his witty and funny and an honourable man, but because he gives such excellent advice!

    The land and the princess of Disi are absolutely hilarious! Though, let’s not forget that the queen of Syhl Shallow wants to bring Emberfall to its knees. Luckily, Grey brought her soldiers to theirs first! ?

    Now the action truly begins and I can’t wait to share my thoughts and feelings about tomorrow’s chapters with you all!

    Have a nice evening, dearies!

    P.S.: There’s a chance I’ll start rereading it for the third time pretty soon! ?

  8. Ah so Harper sees Rhen as more manipulative and Grey as simply more down to earth and live for now then move on.

    Ha. Had to laugh that Harper got shown up a bit when she finds out Rhen already compensated the innkeeper. She is quite judgemental (as we all have a tendency to be).

    The fake kingsmen turn up at the inn.

    We find out Rhen’s full name and it’s Vincent Aldrhen. Vincent. Like Ron Perlman’s character in the B&tB tv series!!!!!!

    Harper’s dealings with loan sharks and bluffing comes into play here. I love how impressed she is with Grey’s knife flick and how Rhen quickly catches on and goes with her con.
    And then he says he will be joining her in her room. The scandal.

    He picks up on her having noticed his snub. He has a little spark of hope.

    The hair tuck ? and then her “you’ve had three hundred girls to practice on” ?. He really is in awe of her tho and I can see why. I felt for him then. So intrigued why Grey is so loyal though. What’s the sitch?

    Who is Karis Luran? Queen? Anything to do with Lilith? Ah of Syhl Shallow another country. And she’s pretty ruthless too. Gulp.

    The scene with Scary Grey in the stables and he says As you Wish. ? swoon. He does the pool table move!

    Lilith shows up and goads Rhen some more making him even more jealous of Harper and Grey. She knows about the invasion but does nothing. She lets on she senses other magesmiths exist. Could one break the curse? Is Grey one?

    She teases that she will keep his monster theme on a leash. Definite Amarantha vibes there.

    Then comes up with a plan for Grey to train up a fake guard. Grey thinks it’s because Rhen is jealous of him and Harper – he has a point but also Rhen has motivation again to care for his people. Harper has pulled him out of the castle. Whoever said love of his people might break the curse may have a point.

    I forgot how ill Harper’s mum is. That must be so tough for her knowing that time is limited. She also sees that the loan shark threatened her to get Jake to do what he wanted. She screams as the battery dies and Grey comes bursting in and then Rhen finds them and they go outside to have words. Harper’s emotion builds and she directs her hate at Rhen slapping him then locking him out. Oops.

    Grey gives him the cards and says to try asking. They bond over their love and loss of family. She hugs him. He’s like. What is this. That’s such a Jude/Cardan moment.

    She pushes him to consider if he came close to loving/being loved by any of the other girls, and shows him immediately why not.

    She is desperate to go home and asks for them to bargain with Lilith. I can’t see that going well.

    He tells her his plan of keeping her ruse up to save his people and she agrees. He gives his word to let her go home if Lilith agrees that. Freya is going to become her lady in waiting.

    How much danger is ahead?

    1. “In awe of her” that’s a great way to describe his view of her!

  9. So many interesting things happened in these chapters! I love that Harper threatened those soldiers and bluffed her way through the entire encounter. It is awesome that Grey backed her up when none of that was planned.

    The knife throwing in the stables was interesting and I like that we are getting to know more about Grey’s background too. It would have been interesting if his POV would have been included to but it makes sense that it is kept to just Harper and Rhen.

    It seems like Harper might have a crush on Grey. It is hard to read him but I don’t think he reciprocates them although I think he would definitely like being friends with her. I can also she the small hints that both her and Rhen are starting to fall for each other.

    The part with the dying cellphone and then her talking to Grey about her family made me cry! I am so sad that she has to be separated from her family this way. I hope that when the story is over, she can bring her Mom, Jake and maybe Noah to Emberfall to live. That would keep them all safe from the debt collectors.

    I like that Harper and Rhen end up playing cards together. It is a nice way for them to bond and talk through some of their frustrations. I like this plan they came up with too! I feel like on this tour of Emberfall they will end up becoming closer. I am concerned about what Lilith will request in payment for sending Harper home. I just don’t think it will be worth it and I think it will likely be a trap.

    Can’t wait to see what happens next!!!

  10. It is always so so hard to stop myself from reading any more chapters…
    I have to say so far I don’t really see a romantic relationship between Grey and Harper but I do love the relationship the have and that he gets to feel useful and teach her all those things. I bet she’ll need it later.
    I also loved the moments we got between Harper and Rhen and the conversations. It broke my heart how he reacted when she hugged him…
    I love the plan Rhen came up with and I am glad that we get to see that he does care for his people and that he is willing (or able, I don’t know) to do something.
    Harper is just the best, I love her more with every chapter. The way she stood up to those guys at the Inn was fantastic. I love the idea that Lilith has something to do with Karis Luran. So curious about what she has planed.
    One thing is for sure this book is so not good for my work… I don’t look at the time during my lunch break and did take breaks that were to long this week just because I wanted to keep reading and after my lunch breaks I constantly think *is the day over yet, can I read the last chapters of the day? I want to continue reading*

  11. This book is so good! I am hooked. I don’t really see Harper and Grey as a couple. He might have feelings for her but I think she is drawn to Rhen. And Grey is so loyal to Rhen. It’s retelling of Beauty and the Beast after all. She has to fall for the beast. ?

  12. I loved these chapters and I’m so glad that we get to see more of this world with Harper being a fake princess. I’m really excited to see where this goes. I feel like Rhen and Harper understand each other a bit better now and I’m excited to see how their relationship progresses. I don’t know who I ship Harper with though because I love Rhen and Grey equally at the moment and honestly won’t mind either guy as the love interest. Can’t wait to read on!

  13. hi all
    I didn’t write in the comments yesterday because I wasn’t feeling well and didn’t manage to read all the chapters. But I am now up to date.
    I am really loving this book. Harper as a princess is a great idea. I love how close she is getting with grey I can see them being really good friends which will be great.
    Is this the romance starting with Harper and Rhen the heart to heat the has was heartbreaking hearing about both there family’s maybe it will bring them together trying to fight for the kingdom. Lilith oh my she scares me she hasn’t just put the curse on him she is also making his life hell. Poor Rhen
    going to start reading tomorrows chapters now 🙂

  14. I looooved Harper’s attitude in this section! I feel like she’s really coming into more of her own!

  15. Ahhh i cannot believe he is going to set up a meeting with Lilith! This is not going to end well.. I think he is going to have to sacrifice something (what little he has left) for that to work.

    I agree something is up with Grey his mom worked in the castle maybe there is more there.

    Karin luran? Why after 5 years is she trying to conquer emberfall.. why now?

  16. I’m loving everything so far (except Lilith, obviously)… But is it just me or is anyone else MISSING THE BEST PART OF THE (DISNEY) BEAUTY AND THE BEAST STORY… THE ENCHANTED FURNITURE?!

    I mean… We already know there’s enchanted instruments in this retelling! Is it really that far off to expect (*hope for) more life in the castle, in the form of courtiers/servants bewitched to look like objects? If they were there, it probably would have been mentioned by now, but a part of me is just hoping it’s either something Rhen’s still hiding from Harper OR something he doesn’t even know about (Lilith could have added something new to the Curse for the sake of this being the final season? 😉 wishful thinking)

    Ugh I am so eager to continue reading, but once again it’s past my bedtime. This is what happens when you pick such addictive books @Fairyloot!

    1. I had actually hoped that when Rhen killed people they came back as enchanted furniture but there is no sign of this.

  17. Can’t wait to read the next chapters!

    Love the strategy side of Rhen and the moment between him and Harper. Seeing their relationship growing is great. And the moment Grey x Harper is also really pleasant to read.

    I’m so sad for Harper being far from her home and the ones she loves. To know maybe you can’t say goodbye to someone is frightening, such a horrible feeling. I really hope she can be reunited with her family and see how they’re doing.
    Also, Grey is being so nice in a particuliar manner and I love it.

    Lilith… She’s is really awful. I don’t see her like a intriguing character anymore but she is still so mysterious…. Ugh!

    A curse so dark and Lonely may be one of my favorite reads and my fav for this month if it’s going to become even more interesting!

  18. I was starting to think that Lilith and Karis Luran were one in the same but then Rhen asks her and she denies it… She could be lying but I’m not sure.

    I really loved the knife throwing scene with Harper and Grey, I really like them together! Again, sorry Rhen!
    I do like how we see Rhen’s reaction to them when he is watching them, it’s a real sincere moment and for him he to realise that his feelings weren’t the same as the other girls that have come before Harper.

    When they are playing cards, there is so much foreshadowing but I really like the way they made up and the hugging and the planning was all really lovely.

    I’m confused about Harper’s feelings towards both Rhen and Grey. I firmly believe she doesn’t have romantic feelings for Grey (I wish she did though), but she was still conscious about how close she was to him. Taking a breath would put her against him.
    And with Rhen, one minute she wants to hate him, the next she blushes all over the place. Her feelings are obviously conflicted but she is still sure she won’t fall in love with him.

  19. I read today’s chapters and I didn’t stop. I tried, not very hard I’ll admit but I love everything about this book. I couldn’t put it down.
    The hug 》 right in the feels.

  20. Enjoying how the relationship between the characters is progressing. While I think Harper and Grey are more believable together currently I really like how Rhen is portrayed. He has spent years living under this curse because of his previous bad choices and I love how his care for his people now and his hyper-analysis of situations. I also like how Harper is spurring him into more action and out of his analysis-paralysis. 🙂

  21. Oh yeah, I want to kick Lilith’s butt so damned bad…
    I kind of feel sorry for Rhen, he may have been stupid in the past but there he was being honest and she only thinks badly of him.

  22. Another great evening of reading. I am starting to get into this story more, as I go along reading the chapters. I find each chapter I read we learn more about our characters. About their backgrounds and their personalities, while their friendship and trust start to grow. This story has gotten interesting with another kingdom trying to claim the land, yet now Rhen is starting to do something about it. Even though I have a feeling that something may go wrong with this plan, I feel like they will somehow succeed in some way. I also think that Rhen and Harper may build a relationship, but if not them then I feel Grey and Harper would be a great couple ?
    I laughed when Harper opened the bedroom door and slapped Rhen, I was shocked but was in stitches. I could picture his reaction when that happened, and if Grey was so formal I think he would of burst out laughing.
    I loved the little heart to heart that Harper and Rhen head about each other’s family. To me if feels that even though they both live in two completely different worlds that are in a similar boat. It did crush my heart when Harper’s phone died, I felt for her because if I was in the same situation I would in the same state.
    I’m not liking how Lilith can just show up out of the blue and torment Rhen, and finding out that Grey defended him which put him in the same boat as Rhen was shocking. But, knowing that they are going to try and work together to break the curse and to get Harper home made me smile. I do have a bad feeling that something bad is going to happen, but I just know that they will find a way somehow.

    I can’t wait to read tomorrow’s chapters and read on to see if their plan starts of great. I hope that after all this over that Harper’s brother and mother are fine, and then Rhen can start rebuilding his kingdom again.
    However, I do have an idea. What happens if Harper does get a chance to go home but she wants to stay with Rhen? Would she want to leave her family behind? Or will she ask to bring them to his world? Or will she go back home explain everything to her brother and mother, who then tell her to go back to him? Or Rhen could follow Harper into her world and they live there?
    There is so many possibilities that could happen, but I am sure we will find out as we go along through the story x

  23. I enjoyed these chapters but didn’t feel the need to continue reading like some of you have. Loved the scene with Harper and Grey, the scenes with Rhen feel a bit to forced for me. Harper pretending to be a princess feels like a stupid idea and a lot could go wrong since they don’t have real guards etc. Also the why now after 5 years? But we shall see what happens! Enjoy reading!

  24. Bit late to writing up some thoughts, but I ended up reading ahead without even noticing!
    Now that I’ve started to read ahead, I don’t think I’ll be able to stop – this book really has me hooked.
    I’m loving being able to see more of the dynamic between Rhen and Grey, and want more. I feel like there’s so much more here to start digging into.

    However, I don’t seem to be as hooked on Lilith as everyone else? She just seems a bit… generic-villainess to me.
    Sort of intimidating, but nothing too interesting? I do wonder if that will change up later on though.

    My current theory too… maybe it’s less about Rhen getting a girl to love him, and more about him falling in love with the girl?
    Or maybe even… him learning to love or forgive himself? He seems pretty down and out at the moment, and though was arrogant in the past, doesn’t mean he was necessarily his own best friend?
    Just a thought!

  25. Hi all!

    This is getting even more interesting… So, Lilith is not the only one of her kind, could it be Karis the other one? I don’t like them. But finnally Rhen has a plan to try to save the kingdom!! We’ll see how that goes… So, I like Grey a little bit more than Rhen *.* I loved hat knife throwing lesson!

    Can’t wait to read more!!!!

  26. So I don’t dislike this book and feel that I could read it in one day, yet it feels like it’s missing some sort of wow factor. I’m not fully connecting to it or feeling invested in the characters, even though I like the characters and the relationships between them, mostly. It is possible that it’s just my current mood (tired and brain dead) at the moment that’s effecting how well I’m connecting to the book so it might be worth a reread at some point. Now, please read on for some unconnected paragraphs (because I’m lazy) around my thought on these chapters.
    I am enjoying the conversations between the characters, there is some good relationship building there, although maybe a little quick for my liking with the relationship building between Harper and Rhen.

    I’m not sensing romance between Harper and Grey but that may be because my brain is staying true to Beauty and The Beast (the knife throwing scene could indicate blossoming romance but I don’t get that impression), and because I’ve had enough of love triangles. I would actually love Harper and Grey to end up great friends as I think YA needs more brilliantly strong m/f friendships. But I guess we shall see as the story progresses.

    I do get the idea that it’s not just about Rhen getting a girl to fall in love with him but also for him to fall in love. The idea mentioned the other day about getting his people to love him is a really interesting one, and I wouldn’t be surprised if that was also part of the way to end the curse.

    So, during the season which Rhen has been told will be his last we see the start of an invasion from another kingdom. Now it could well be that this has been going on for a long time and it’s just not been known because Rhen hasn’t been leaving his castle, but the two story lines could also be linked in some way (Lilith maybe). Another option could be that the storylines are coincidently fitting neatly together as they often do in fiction.

  27. I reaaaally loved these chapters but I think the highlight is Harper pretending to be a real princess. She was so badass!!!

  28. Catching up!

    Rhen is showing some honesty and vulnerability, which is a nice change to the stand-off-ish arrogance. I think there is hope for him yet.

    Harper slapped him!! Did not see that coming. I don’t think it was entirely deserved though, seemed a rash reaction.

    I really don’t like the name Lilith. A more original evil name would have been better. Like Lilith incorporates all evil. Seems like a cop-out character name to me.
    Though, I mirror what others have said, I think she’s up to something, maybe in cahoots with the other Queen (can’t recall the name).

    Onto next chapters!

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