A Heart So Fierce and Broken by Brigid Kemmerer
Goodreads rating 5 stars *****
I haven’t figured out a rating system for my blog yet so we’ll just go with 5 stars and then some right now!
Obviously, there are spoilers ahead! I start by talking about the ending so just tread carefully!
This was my second attempt at reading this book since the first was interrupted by anxiety issues! **
To be really honest, I’m still processing this book emotionally and this is a
second third attempt at writing a review for this so bear with me!
In that respect I just have to flail about the ending for a moment!
I can’t quite believe that despite the fact a lot of Rhen’s reaction to Grey comes from fear of magic that he’d actually agree to another deal with Lilith! I can’t believe that Harper will agree to this when she finds out in book 3 (and she will find out). My thoughts when reading that part was basically along the lines of internal screaming and shouting “Rhen……NO!!!!”
I adored Curse from the start, and I love it more each time I read it (full disclosure, I have now read Curse 3 times this year) but Heart is just taking me more time. Maybe it’s because it’s focused on Grey and Lia Mara instead of Harper and Rhen; maybe it’s because Rhen is so utterly horrible in this book. I just want so much more Harper and Rhen to be honest, at least I know that Vow will be from their perspectives at least in part.
There’s just something in me that can’t fall in love with a book that puts Grey and Rhen against each other, which doesn’t really bode well for Vow, and I still have like 3 months to go before I can read it!
Before I go on with my flailings about the rest of the book I need to take a moment to talk about Harper again.
As with book one I adore Harper, she isn’t in this book much but every time she is, or when Grey thinks of her properly she manages to just be everything I needed to hear when I was younger and that honestly, I still need to hear.
I remember the day she first asked me to show her this, how the very act of learning weaponry seemed to be an act of defiance. At first, I thought it was against Rhen, but it didn’t take me long to realize she’d grown up thinking she could never learn to defend herself. The defiance was towards herself. Or who she’d thought she was.
I know that Brigid Kemmerer doesn’t have CP herself which makes it all the more incredible that she manages to get right down to the core of what it feels like to grow up with CP well, what it felt like for me growing up with CP. It shows how incredible a writer she is, and how deeply she has researched everything. It makes me love and respect her as a writer even more.
Ok, on with the rest of the book!
I really liked Lia Mara and how she holds herself. She is so often wracked with self-doubt and often seems to have zero self-confidence but she is determined and honest and believes in what is right so strongly that no matter what, she can’t be dissuaded – despite the way Karin Luran treats her.
I do love Rhen but can see why Lia Mara thinks he’s an asshole because this is the persona he presents during this book. I can imagine how much it must have cost him to whip Grey AND Tycho. Even Grey can see and understand why Rhen is acting this way, maybe that’s what makes the idea of them going to war against each other even harder. Grey is clear he doesn’t want to go to war; even after Karis Luran is killed. But I have to believe Rhen doesn’t want to either.
I like Jake a bit more in this book but I’m still not 100% on him really. It annoys me that he dislikes Rhen so much, and that for a lot of the book he dislikes Grey too, only going with him to make sure he kept his promise to take him and Noah home.
Yes, he eventually decides to stay so he can stay with Harper but he’s still just – I don’t know, I can’t properly articulate it; he just doesn’t seem to trust Harper’s decisions or Grey’s or anyone except his own. Even though his past decisions weren’t exactly always stellar. And we know from book 1 that he just doesn’t trust Harper. Maybe that’s why he wants to stay, to just keep an eye on her, to just judge her decisions.
I knew from vague little spoilers that book 3 was going to be a battle between Emberfall and Syhl Shallow but I wasn’t prepared for the book to be Grey versus Rhen
It’s heart-breaking that Grey and Rhen are now enemies essentially, that going to war is the only way through this, how am I supposed to choose a side in this?? Especially as it seems Jake and Noah will be on one side and Harper on the other. If you were to just read book 2 you wouldn’t be able to understand why Harper stays with Rhen instead of running with Grey and her brother. If you were to just read book 2, maybe you’d have an easier time picking a side since Rhen is so cruel in this book.
I like that pretty much everything Grey does is out of loyalty – he’s still Scary Grey and still loyal to Rhen; at the start of the book he ran when he found out the truth, he gives Rhen a chance at the end too because he doesn’t want to invade; it’s shown every time he flinches when Rhen says commander – because he still thinks of himself like that, because he still wants to protect him – or when Rhen admitted that they should have been friends seasons ago. I love that he cares so deeply for Harper too, that he wonders what it would have been like to allow himself to fall for her like Rhen did even though they are so much better as loyal friends. I hate that he’s going to be pitted against Harper too!
I really like Isiak though, and I’m excited to see him in book 3, he is as mysterious as Lilith without all the evil. He challenges Grey the way he needs to be challenged, the way Rhen needed to instead of running scared. I hope he gets some kind of happy ending, whatever that will end up being.
I feel like I need more from Tycho before I can decide. I need to find out more of his past really, before I can tell what his vow to Grey really means for him.
This is more of a musing ramble than a proper review. All I can really think is how heart-breaking book 3 is going to be. After everything I do love this book, I love Emberfall and the world that Brigid Kemmerer has created. I guess I want a happy ending and right now I can’t envision how Vow is going to give us one. I foresee death and tragedy, and to be honest I’ve fallen in love so much with these books that it’s upsetting to think about it. I guess because these books mean more to me than just engaging fiction now, I don’t want to be left heartbroken.
See you in the future! ♥
**This happens on occasion and has really nothing to do with the book itself or what is happening with the global pandemic, it just seems to be something that happens that I just need to ride out.