12 new SFF books to help beat back the January blues

Photo: The Night Country by Melissa Albert.. Image Courtesy Macmillan Publisher
Photo: The Night Country by Melissa Albert.. Image Courtesy Macmillan Publisher /
2 of 13

A Heart So Fierce and Broken – Brigid Kemmerer

This second installment in Brigid Kemmerer’s “Cursebreakers” trilogy continues the story begun in 2018’s A Curse So Dark and Lonely.  However, A Heart So Fierce and Broken might not turn out to be entirely what you expect, so start preparing your emotions for that right now.

The first novel in the series was a fairly straightforward retelling of Beauty and the Beast, and followed the story of Harper, a girl with cerebral palsy who finds herself suddenly transported from Washington, D.C. to the Kingdom of Emberfall. There, handsome Prince Rhen is busy turning into a monster once a quarter, and in order to break the curse, he must convince a girl to fall for him. Stop us if you’ve heard this before.

But now that the curse is broken and Emberfall is free – what’s next? Well, more trouble, it sounds like, as Rhen and Harper must deal with possibility of another heir, and the threat that poses to the throne. The thing they don’t know? That heir is Grey, Rhen’s loyal commander who served at his side throughout the curse.

A Heart So Fierce continues the stories of all our favorite characters, but in a slightly different way than before. Harper and Rhen are no longer our primary POV characters and their relationship isn’t the center of the story any longer. (Sorry, shippers, but they only get a chapter apiece this time around.) Instead, the focus is squarely on Grey, and newcomer Lia Mara, the daughter of the queen of neighboring kingdom Syhl Shallow, and how their connection could prove to be the salvation of Emberfall…or its ruin.

The official synopsis has a few more details.

"Find 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?"

A Heart So Fierce and Broken will be available on January 7.