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It’s not at all a stretch to say that Once Upon a Broken Heart was probably my most anticipated read of this whole year. The Caraval series was one of the first I read when I joined Bookstagram and it continues to hold such a big place in my heart.
So for once I had absolutely no fear going into such a hyped up book- I just knew Stephanie Garber would pull it off, especially when it came to Jacks (quite possibly my favourite morally grey character of all time).
Ahh, I just loved this book so much so let’s not wait any longer- I’m going to tell you all about it!!
“Evangeline Fox was raised in her beloved father’s curiosity shop, where she grew up on legends about immortals, like the tragic Prince of Hearts. She knows his powers are mythic, his kiss is worth dying for, and that bargains with him rarely end well.
But when Evangeline learns that the love of her life is about to marry another, she becomes desperate enough to offer the Prince of Hearts whatever he wants in exchange for his help to stop the wedding. The prince only asks for three kisses. But after Evangeline’s first promised kiss, she learns that the Prince of Hearts wants far more from her than she’s pledged. And he has plans for Evangeline that will either end in the greatest happily ever after, or the most exquisite tragedy…
A new series about love, curses, and the lengths that people will go to for happily ever after.“
I was obviously incredibly excited going into this book, and, to be honest, I have very little to complain about at all.
Almost everything was absolutely perfect- the only problem is, I now have to wait even longer for the next book!!
Stephanie Garber completely captured the magic of Caraval that I’ve been missing so much and returning to this world and these characters was just so amazing.
Ok, so… the character that’s on all our minds: Jacks was his usual self and lost none of his signature snarkiness. But, his cool interior gradually melted throughout the book. Ugh my heart!! He was so sweet and so broken.
I was dubious about Evangeline (our MC) at the start because she came across as a little average, but she quickly attached herself to my heart. She was smart and clear headed and didn’t constantly make questionable decisions. We honestly don’t see that enough in female MCs!
She grew so much throughout the story and from about the 50 page mark, I became so happy being in her headspace.
Evangeline and Jacks are really the central two characters, but I would have liked Evangeline’s sister Marisol to have been developed a little more. Everything we learnt about her was from Evangeline’s point of view (even when Marisol was actually present) but I’m pretty sure she’s going to be developed a whole lot more later in the series.
It was so amazing to return to the magical Caraval world– I’ve missed it so much!! The magic was interlaced throughout and Donatella and Scarlett even made a little appearance.
If you’re wondering about whether you need to read the Caraval series first, I would recommend it. It definitely isn’t absolutely necessary but there are a lot of references that you won’t understand otherwise. Basically, it’ll be a lot more fun if you read Caraval first (and the series is so good, why would you want to miss out on it??).
We follow Evangeline in a pretty similar position to Scarlett at the start of Caraval. After initially meeting Jacks during an initial subplot involving her sister marrying the man she loves, Evangeline travels on behalf of Scarlett and Donatella to an overseas royal wedding, and quickly becomes embroiled in his schemes once again.
The pacing is fast. Initially, this felt a little weird, like we were speeding through the story from the first page, but then I really got into it. This book is very much blink and you miss it but that means it NEVER gets boring for one second.
Do not sleep on this one- there’s a reason why it was so highly anticipated and it did not disappoint one bit. And it’s going to be a series!! Ah so exciting!