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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that A Heart So Fierce and Broken is the sequel to Brigid Kemmerer's dark, thrilling Beauty and the Beast adaptation, A Curse So Dark and Lonely. It follows the meeting -- and growing attraction -- between Grey, the heroic guardsman of Book 1, and Lia Mara, the studious, kindhearted daughter of a queen who pretty much massacres people for fun. And power, of course. Grey and Lia Mara will need all the courage, self-sacrifice, and wisdom they can get as they go up against a villain so vile that in one scene she tortures and maims a man, forces a character to heal him with magic, and then tortures and maims him yet again. The main and supporting characters are complex and compelling. The evil forces they're up against, and their violent ways, are almost over the top. An innocent bar patron is run through with a sword, and that's just the beginning of the hacking, slashing, blinding, and more in this gory tale. There's a lot of romantic tension leading up to an intense kiss and a night of strong bonding but no sex. Adult and teen characters drink wine and ale at meals and social gatherings. Strong language is limited to "silver hell!" and kicking someone's "ass."
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What's the story?
A HEART SO FIERCE AND BROKEN belongs to Grey, the faithful friend and diligent guardsman who, in Book 1, snatched teen Harper from Washington. D.C. to the magical (and cursed) kingdom of Emberfall. But, as Prince Rhen, freed from the curse, is struggling to keep his kingdom together, and Harper is increasingly troubled as he grows more desperate, Grey returns to the kingdom. He keeps to himself the knowledge that the missing heir Rhen seeks to capture and kill is Grey himself. Fleeing Rhen's murderous attack, Grey unexpectedly meets Lia Mara, daughter of the viciously murderous queen who's adding to Rhen's troubles. Only Lia Mara is quiet and kind. Overwhelming forces conspire against these two, but as love grows between them, so does the discovery that they have unexpected strengths.
Which Emberfall sorely needs.
Is it any good?
Compelling characters, ethical dilemmas, budding romance, and thrilling adventure abound as heroes battle dark forces in the kingdom of Emberfall. The spotlight shifts here to guardsman Grey, returning from self-imposed exile to help longtime (and formerly cursed) Prince Rhen while concealing the fact that he's actually Rhen's elder half-brother. For good reason, because although Grey wants no part of being king, Rhen's getting more and more unhinged trying to find and kill the unknown heir -- and that's just one of the fraught, complicated relationships in this adventurous, imaginative page-turner.
A Heart So Fierce and Broken's heroes are often overwhelmed by the shocking level of vicious, cruel violence the villains dish out, and readers with a low tolerance for gore will be right behind them, even as they're cheering for Grey and Lia Mara to somehow beat the odds. A cliffhanger ending leaves new trouble brewing and much in doubt.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about stories like A Heart So Fierce and Broken that revolve around royal characters who, for one reason or another, don't want anything to do with the family business. Why do you think this is a popular theme in storytelling? What other examples have you read?
One theme that crops up in this series is cultural expectations, and how they sometimes cause people from different cultures, who mean well, to offend each other by accident. Has this ever happened to you? How did you deal with it?
One of the things that makes the villains here so creepy is their fondness for torturing and killing people's loved ones (and/or threatening to do so) to terrify them into submission. Do you think it's worse to have your loved ones in danger than to be in danger yourself?
- Author: Brigid Kemmerer
- Genre: Fantasy
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Princesses, Fairies, Mermaids, and More, Adventures, Brothers and Sisters, Friendship
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Bloomsbury
- Publication date: January 7, 2020
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 13 - 18
- Number of pages: 450
- Available on: Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
- Last updated: April 23, 2020
Our editors recommend
For kids who love magic and romance
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