ARC Review: A Heart So Fierce and Broken

“Fear makes people act in ways we’d never expect.”

Rating: 2/5 stars
Format: e-ARC
Release Date: January 7, 2020

Thank you Bloomsbury for providing me with an e-ARC in exchange for a honest review!



42952728Find the heir, win the crown.
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.

Win the crown, save the kingdom.
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.

The Verdict

Kicking of 2020 with a 2 star review of one of my highly anticipated releases for the year was not how I imagined things going….but here we are. We’re just going to dive right into this one because whew Lord, I have a lot to say. If you have not read the first book then definitely read this at your own risk as there are some pretty big spoilers for A Curse So Dark and Lonely in this review!

What I Liked

📈 Transition and pacing. One of the things I can say that honestly did not disappoint in this book was the pacing. Sometimes fantasy novels fall into the trap of having a lull in the middle of the story up until the end but this kept me engaged when I was reading it…even if I didn’t actually like what I was reading. And the transition from book one to book two flowed super well in my opinion. The author does a great job of recapping book one without ever making it boring or redundant.

👯‍♀️ Sister love. I can’t say much without spoiling anything, but I really do love books with siblings who start off on not the best foot but admire each others strengths and come together when it matters.

And uhm yeah, that’s about it.

What I Didn’t Like

🤷🏻‍♀️ No point. My biggest reason for not liking this was because essentially…. it’s pointless. A Heart So Fierce and Broken basically takes the plot from book one and lights it on fire. Literally, the plot of this book makes the first one feel like everything Harper and Grey went through to help Rhen be “the good guy” was all for naught. Which brings me right to my next point.

👹 Rhen. Character growth? We don’t know her. Every ounce of growth Rhen made in book one is so far gone out the window that it’s not even funny, he was absolutely awful in this book. I get that his throne and people are all he cares about but the fact that he tried SO DAMN HARD to not be the villain in book one only to become the villain in book two….no ma’am. Not on my watch.

👑 Princess Harper of Disi. The one and only is NOWHERE to be found. A true tragedy. One chapter from her POV and then maybe five quick appearances? Are you kidding?! I understand that this is Grey’s book so she would be in it a little less but what I did not expect was for her scenes to be so scarce and the only time she’s really in the book she’s all “hey guys, I know Rhen is being trash right now but he’s scared and under a lot of pressure. So, I’ll help you guys sneak out of the castle but I’m gonna stay put with him.” Having Harper be the silent little puppy who trails along after Rhen instead of the fierce take no shit type of gal she was in book one was a pretty bad move in my opinion.

🤰🏻 The pregnant lady. So, this is basically a personal issue and maybe it won’t bother most people but it did NOT sit well with me given the events of my life this past year. Rhen obviously sends his guards out to hunt down the heir, and there’s one scene where Grey and his new group of friends are trying to get away from Rhen’s guards, however, in the midst of all that a pregnant lady gets stabbed directly in the stomach. And then Grey, a newbie to his magic, is miraculously able to heal her and everyone is all “THE BABY IS KICKING AGAIN!” after the knife is pulled out the ladies stomach. That was truly a hard no for me, like, did we really need to take it that far? Again, it’s a personal issue but like, break an arm or cut off someone’s leg for God’s sake. Okay, rant over.

🙄 Cliche. Book one felt like a good Beauty and the Beast retelling, this felt like too many fantasy tropes mashed together and spewed out on paper.

🛑 The end. Whew Lord, my blood boiled. After sitting through almost 500 pages of not liking it but trying to be a good sport and stick it out the ending really pissed me off. Just scroll back up and everything I said about Rhen is 100% confirmed, he is TRASH. At this point I’m not even sure if I want to continue the series come next year.

All in all, I think it’s safe to say that this was a fail for me. I think it suffered from whatever is worse than second book syndrome if I’m being totally honest. I know a lot of people are excited for this one, so I hope it works out much better for you than it did for me if you plan on picking it up!

Until next time,


17 thoughts on “ARC Review: A Heart So Fierce and Broken

  1. I didn’t read your review before of your spoiler warning. I think I have A Curse So Dark and Lonely on my kindle that I still need to get to. I am so sorry you didn’t enjoy this! I had when a book you are SO excited about ends up being do disappointing. I had this happen a few years ago. I was so excited for a new release and after I read it, I gave it 2/5 stars because it was so terrible. ):

    Amber @ Escape Life in the Pages


    1. It’s definitely a bummer 😔 but hopefully you’ll have a better reading experience with the series if you decide to pick it up!


  2. Ummm a pregnant lady stabbing is an automatic nope for me. I read a book last year where it was included because it was historical fiction, but I skipped that whole section completely when I realized what they were about to describe.


    1. There is really not much that triggers me but that was an absolute hard no. Granted, the part wasn’t long but it was long enough to really not sit well with me. I definitely think it any other type of injury would have sufficed in that scene to show Grey has magic.


  3. Okay look, I KNOW I said I wasn’t gonna read your review until after I finished it… but I just read the first 5 chapters and already low key fucking HATE this book, so I decided to go ahead and read your thoughts, and I’m about thiiiiiis close to just DNFing it and cutting my losses early. I hate Rhen’s attitude so far, the fact that Harper is barely in it? WTF, she’s amazing, why is she barely in it – and then the pregnant lady scene you described isn’t something I even feel like reading at all. So, I’m sorry we were both TOTALLY AND MISERABLY failed by one of our most anticipated 2020 releases, but I’m glad I read your review before I bothered continuing. 😐


    1. Okay, but if you really want to scream and talk about backwards development read the last page. I damn near threw my phone across the room because I was so MAD. I honestly, wish that I would have just DNF’ed this one too and chose to believe the first book was a standalone 😬 you probably ended up doing yourself a solid by putting it down!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. RIGHT?!?!? I was LIVID. I just sat there in shock trying to understand if I really read that correctly.


  4. Okay wow. I’ve not been excited about this book at all because I initially thought the first book was a standalone. If Rhen is going to go back to all kinds of horrible then meh moeh mah I don’t need this book. And that scene with the pregnant lady sounds horrible. 😦


    1. So did I! And then I thought okay, one more book won’t be so bad. But now there’s another book coming out next year and I honestly don’t even think I’ll pick it up. It might be better to just continue to tell yourself book one is a standalone!

      Liked by 1 person

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