Book Review: A HEART SO FIERCE AND BROKEN by Brigid Kemmerer

A heart so fierce and broken.png
Genre: Fantasy
Age Range: YA
Star Rating: 4.5 stars
Series: yes - second book



a heart so fierce and broken

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.

Synopsis taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here.


The highly anticipated sequel to CURSE was worth the wait! I loved it much more than the first book (which I really like). I think it was because this book isn’t a retelling and has a character’s emotional journey to die for.

This book is dual POV from Grey and Lia Mara. The first chapter is from Harper’s perspective and the epilogue from Rhen’s even though the synopsis would imply that Harper has a larger role. She doesn’t. That’s the only complaint I have about this book – I’d have liked to see Harper’s POV and perspective on what Rhen’s doing. All we get is Grey’s perspective on the downward spiral Rhen’s in due to fear. What does Harper think of it? How is Rhen reacting to his failures and the news of who Grey allies with?

Of thee two POVs, Grey was my favourite by far. Lia Mara is interesting, but I already knew Grey from the first book. Mainly I loved his chapters so much because of his emotional arc.

He was a loyal, obedient guard who’s discovered he’s heir to the throne. He’s struggling with that loyalty, working out why he’s loyal and what that means for his path. I loved it. It was the upending of his life and a relationship that had been the basis of an eternity. It was so well done.

Yes, occasionally I wanted to shake Rhen and Grey so they would talk, but it doesn’t fit their stoic characters. And it did take a bit of time for me to understand why Rhen was doing what he was because it was a very different face to his POV in CURSE. I think that is where a Harper POV would have helped, because it was so filtered by rumour and speculation in Grey’s. However, that’s a minor thing, and the arc was riveting.

Lia Mara is a good foil to Grey, who thinks more (rather than fighting her way out of situations). Their romance is the slowest slow burn ever (though he’s a 20 year old who feels much older. I can’t remember how old she is, but she felt older too, but not that old).

The world is expanded well beyond the first book – heading into Emberfall’s enemy – Syhl Shallow – and also more remote, outlying towns. I loved seeing more of the world – and also the magic and Grey learns what he’s capable of.

I got to the end of the book and then text-screamed at a friend “how am I supposed to wait a year for the next book”, because the ending is such a cliff hanger. The characters’ emotional arcs are satisfactorily concluded, but the plot of the next book is going to be amazing.

Read my reviews of other books by Brigid Kemmerer:

Cursebreakers (this series):

Forging Silver into Stars (chronologically after this series):

Defy the Night:

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