HomeReviewsYoung AdultReview: A Heart So Fierce and Broken

Review: A Heart So Fierce and Broken

A Heart So Fierce and Broken

Title: A Heart So Fierce and Broken
Author: Brigid Kemmerer
Genre: YA Fantasy
Page Count: 496
Published by: Bloomsbury YA
Date Published: January 7, 2020
You can find it here: Bookshop.org

Note: This review will contain spoilers for those who haven’t read A Curse So Dark & Lonely as the central storyline of this novel is revealed in the final pages of book one. If you haven’t read ACSD&L, beware.


Picking up fairly recently after the conclusion of ACSD&L, A Heart So Fierce & Broken switches perspectives and follows Grey, the former loyal guardsman to Prince Rhen.

Grey has disappeared and is assumed dead. The kingdom is divided. Rumours that Prince Rhen is not the legitimate heir swirl, threatening to topple Rhen’s precarious rule.

With the knowledge of the true heir threatening him at every turn, Grey is on the run. He doesn’t want to fight Rhen for Emberfall, he wants to disappear. When the heartless and brutal Karis Luran makes a move against the throne, Grey emerges from hiding. Partnering with a cast of old friends and new, unlikely alliances, he may just be the only one who can unite Emberfall. But will it mean declaring war upon his former friends?


Let’s talk Sequels:

Sequels of a beloved series opener have a tough job. Being that ACSD&L was one of my favourite YA Fantasy reads of 2019, I was very nervous going into this one.

I’ll be honest, I didn’t love this one as much as book one. It wasn’t because it went in a completely different direction from the series opener, nor was it the fact that Harper and Rhen have very little appearance here … it’s that the characters I really enjoyed and their progress from the series opener were just cast away in this sequel. SPOILER: Rhen is pretty damningly changed and in doing so cuts off Harper’s character arc. This may be redeemed in book three, but it seems unlikely. I knew we’d be following Grey, but I didn’t anticipate losing all other characters’ progress from book one.

Let’s talk Characters & Leading Ladies:

For a book that followed my second favourite character of this series, I’m a bit undecided about him in this one! The central conflict within Grey got a little exhaustive. This could just be a personal pet peeve of mine, but continuous back & forth inner turmoil within a character for hundreds of pages just irks me. I need a character to be working toward a goal, something needs to be driving them … otherwise they are just left floating in a circular character arc, and it is annoying as a reader to follow.

So … Harper 2.0 … I mean, Lia Mara. The daughter of Karis Luran, Lia Mara is an intelligent, empathetic born leader (but is not heir to the throne because she is not evil enough) and was the bright spot here. For the same reasons I liked Harper, I liked Lia Mara. She is strong, she is brave, she is conflicted, the voice of reason, and the kick-in-the-ass to Grey that he so desperately needed throughout this sequel.

Of course, we already had an excellent character like this who was cast aside, but it will be really exciting if Lia Mara and Harper can exist together in a future novel.

Let’s talk the fact I did like this, even though this review is sounding negative:

I did! I really did enjoy this! I found the middle to lag heavily under the weight of Grey’s continued inner turmoil, but the characters are just as dynamic, just as strong, and the new characters are excellent additions.

This takes us on a grittier, darker path from ACSD&L and I really enjoyed that. The plot moves along quickly for a 500 page novel and builds us to a cliffhanger ending that has me quite curious to see where book three takes us. I really hope we can get these amazingly strong leading ladies together … maybe they can just overthrow the men and rule the kingdom together? I vote yes.

Overall Thoughts:

A sequel that doesn’t suffer from Sophomore slump! I didn’t enjoy where some character arcs were taken and therefore didn’t enjoy this as much as A Curse So Dark & Lonely, but it is still an excellent fantasy. A darker, grittier sibling to its predecessor, A Heart So Fierce & Broken introduces us to some excellent characters, expands the kingdom, and sets up for what could be a pretty dynamic & heart wrenching conclusion.

TBR Ranking: High

For Fans Of:

Serpent & DoveSerpent & Dove

Written by Shelby Mahurin

Published by HarperTeen

Full review HERE.

You can find it here: Bookshop.org



A Court of Thorns and RosesA Court of Thorns and Roses

Written by Sarah J. Maas

Published by Bloomsbury Publishing

You can find it here: Bookshop.org




The Wicked KingThe Wicked King

Written by Holly Black

Published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

You can find it here: Bookshop.org




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