I was given an eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
This book is pure magic and I was so frustrated when it ended. It might be about to become my new favourite Stephanie Garner books. No one does magical details like her, and the world building and magic system is this book is a prime example of that. It’s set in the same world as the Caraval series and features a few cameos from the cast, but it’s mostly brand new characters and exploring a new part of the world. I think I should break this review into the two main characters.
Evangeline is our narrator for this book and I fell in love with her from the first page. She’s full of heart and unrequited love and bad decisions, a narrator unlike anyone else from your average fairy-tale. Her desperation for a happy ending leads her to make a bargain with Jacks, but she believes that it will turn out for the best. Her brief naivety and hope is something that I thoroughly enjoyed reading, mostly because it reminded me a bit of myself.
Jacks, the Prince of Hearts
Jacks is a character I fell in love with in the original Caravel series and couldn’t wait to read more about in the future. This man is everything I love in a villain, and I do have a soft spot for many: secretive, snarky, shady, with a softer side hidden deep down that we catch a glimpse of. His purpose is to cause problems on person, but there’s a moment where it seems like he still wants to find his true love and let his heart beat again. He’s using Evangeline for personal gain and we’re drip fed this storyline throughout the book and I was clinging on to every word.
I think my only downfalls for this book would be that the pacing felt a little uneven in some points: a slow begin and an ending that moved at the speed of light. Also, Evangeline and Jacks were definitely the most vivid characters in the book. The other characters were more there to fill a purpose than anything else. But this didn’t negatively impact my enjoyment of the book too greatly (except that cliff-hanger ending) because I was so in love with all the good points.
Overall, this is a book that is an experience like no other, not even the Caraval trilogy. It’s a spellbinding fairy-tale that swept me away and I was enthralled from the very first page.
Rating: ★★★★☆ (4.5 stars)