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REVIEW: A Heart so Fierce and Broken by Brigid Kemmerer

Updated: Jul 10, 2023

We follow our main characters after the events of the previous book in which Grey found out that he was the missing heir of Emberfall. This book mainly focuses on his journey to rediscovery and what it means for him. We do see glimpses from Rhen and Harper but this book focuses mainly on Grey.

Lady Lillith’s curse has been broken but Rhen is struggling with the aftermath of years of torture from her. Knowing that she may or may not be dead is not such a comfort, as he would have thought. He is showing signs of PTSD, as one would do after years and years of torture. What doesn’t help his case though is that there are rumours spreading of the missing heir and people are wondering who could it be. Especially since this missing heir has magical abilities. These rumours are weakening his claim to the throne and he will do anything to stop them and find the heir.

Meanwhile, we enter our newest main character, Lia Mara. Lia Mara is the eldest daughter of the Queen of Syhl Shallow, Karis Luran. Syhl Shallow chooses its heirs rather than just assuming that the eldest will be the heir and as such, Lia Mara is thrown to the side in favour of her younger sister, Nolla Verin. To try and keep the peace between the two kingdoms, Karis Luran and her two daughters travel to Emberfall to have an audience with Prince Rhen. Karis Luran offers an alliance and in return, Rhen will marry Nolla Verin. Rhen of course denies this as he is in love with Princess Harper of Disi. Disi being a fake kingdom has a fake alliance with Emberfall so if Karis Luran were to advance on the kingdom of Emberfall, there would be no more troops. Despite all of this, Rhen still denies Karis Luran and they are forced to travel back to Syhl Shallow. But deciding that something has to be done, Lia Mara goes back to Rhen to try and negotiate peacefully, but thinking he is about to be tricked, he tricks her instead and kidnaps her, killing her escort in the process.

Whilst this is happening, Grey has been captured in a small town and is questioned about his knowledge of the mysterious heir. He is brought to the palace and is questioned by Rhen when Harper realises that Grey is the heir. She tries to keep this a secret from Rhen but he catches on eventually. Lia Mara being imprisoned within the castle finds a way it move the back wall of the fireplace and enters the room on the other side, in the hopes of escaping. She finds Grey in the other room. She hides from him but he finds her behind the curtains. At first he doesn’t trust her, but when a guard comes in, he doesn’t give her a way.

Rhen fears magic so when he realises that Grey is the heir, he becomes fearful of somebody he once called a friend. Fearful of magic, he does the unthinkable and starts to whip Tycho, Grey’s companion, and Grey. Grey knowing that Tycho is blameless and is a victim in all of this, takes it’s toll on Grey and so his magic knocks everyone unconscious. Grey doesn’t know how he did this but knew that he was scared for his friend. But seeing this Lia Mara realises whom Grey is and helps them escape. Harper is in fear of what Rhen is becoming and so lets them leave in the hope that Rhen will overcome this fear. In return for Lia Mara helping them, Grey will give her safe passage back to her kingdom, and Grey will receive asylum when they are back in Syhl Shallow. She will reveal to her mother who he truly is.

The rest of the book follows Lia Mara and Grey throughout their journey in the kingdom. Overcoming obstacles that are put in their way including Rhen’s troops coming after them. They become close during this journey and find themselves becoming attracted to each other. Once they reach Syhl Shallow, Karis Luran tries to make a match between Nolla Verin and Grey in the hopes of uniting the two kingdoms under one rule but Grey doesn’t want this, in fact he doesn’t want to rule but finds himself in a difficult situation due to this. Lia Mara and Grey’s affections for each other grow stronger and find themselves infatuated. Karis Luran sees this and offers Grey to Lia instead, they agree and Lia is made heir. Unfortunately, at some time in this book Karis Luran dies and so Lia is made queen.

This book is full of surprises with twists and turns. It is full of magic and wonder that truly captures your heart. The only downside of this book is that we didn’t see more of Rhen and Harper. I fell in love with them in the previous book and wanted to see more of them, though I fell in love with Grey and Lia Mara too, I just wanted more of them in my life. Just like Harper, Lia Mara is determined and ready to do whatever she wants to get to her goal. Lia Mara is strong-minded and is the perfect match for Grey, just like Harper and Rhen are. Their stories are paralleled throughout the book and we can see that the two couples are each other’s endgames. Rhen, throughout this book is fearful and it’s surprising to see him in such a manner considering his actions in the previous book but bearing in mind he was tortured it’s no wonder that his PTSD is triggered. Brigid Kemmerer tackles this issue so beautifully but it’s such a shame that we didn’t see more of Rhen.

4 out of 5 stars.


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