A Heart So Fierce and Broken by Brigid Kemmerer – 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
FIVE. YES, FIVE. Once again, Brigid Kemmerer smashes expectations by putting out a sophomore sequel that, in my opinion, is far away even better than the first book. 😍
For an even better book than the first (AMAZING), for an MC you’ll love even more than before, for exploration into elements of the world only hinted at in the first book
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. 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? The heart-pounding, compulsively readable saga continues as loyalties are tested and new love blooms in a kingdom on the brink of war.
If you looked at the map in the fist book you knew some of this had to be coming. And I’m one of those people who STUDIES the maps when they’re given – because then I know there must be some reason that the ice forests were included in the map, right? It’s like the theory in a play where if a gun is shown, at some point it must be fired. If a map has a location, at some point it must matter. And the introduction of the scraver? LOVE IT. New favorite character, with ease.
After being pretty lukewarm on Rhen, I am delighted to get to know Grey better. Lia Mara was an unexpected addition, but I’m alright with her. Her character feels very similar to Harper, though, especially in the way they are both the one who’s expected to be useless and works to prove people – and themselves – wrong. I still enjoyed her, but she felt like more of a foil to Grey. I was decidedly against having to see more of Jacob, but by the end I was more or less ok with it. The “overprotective, stubborn brother” characters generally annoy the crap out of me, so I’m glad it was toned down as the story progressed.
The mentality and gray areas given to each person is done astonishingly well, so no one is ever portrayed as just evil and cruel – there’s always the empathy of why they are that way, even if it’s still inexcusable. This creates complex characters with human motivation and internal conflicts. You have to bob back and forth between loving and hating each of them, as you condemn them at one moment and console them the next.
One plot point towards the end resolved in what felt an aggressively obvious way, which was kind of a let down. It seemed like the characters had been painted into a corner, and then just turned around to find there was actually a huge hole in the wall the hole time that they could just stroll on through. Did I lose my analogy a bit? Basically it just felt like I was being hit over the head with the obvious solution to what was supposed to be a huge problem. I was willing to forgive this though, because the overall experience of the read was thrilling, truly, and waiting for the final book is going to be very very difficult after reading the first two in quick succession.