From Stephanie Garber, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Caraval, Once Upon a Broken Heart is the first book in a new series about love, curses, and the lengths that people will go to for happily ever after.
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…
Publication: September 28th, 2021
My Favourite Quote: *subject to change*
All stories are made of both truths and lies, she used to say. What matters is the way that we believe in them.
Received an Advanced Reader’s Copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!
So, this is my first book by Stephanie Garber and I genuinely had no idea that this series was a spin off of the Caraval series. I didn’t know until I was talking to a friend and they mentioned it was. I was worried after finding out, if I would feel like there were missing puzzle pieces to the story and because of that I wouldn’t feel all that I should.
So there are two answers to this: yes and no. Yes, it definitely did feel like to me that I wish I had read the Caraval series because there felt like there was so much more to Jacks’ pain to feel and the real impact of it may come with all the prior knowledge of the Fate. Also, no, because it doesn’t feel like we’re lost in the story because the protagonist like the new reader doesn’t know Jacks’ history either which only increased relatability on that front for me. Ergo, there are benefits to both kind of readers!
I wish the book was longer! So, the world building happens at a comfortable pace and I don’t feel like I have too much to complain about on that front. However, just as I felt like I understood what was happening the book ends. For me personally, the cliffhanger didn’t feel all that devastating. It was more like “Huh..aw.” But I would’ve definitely loved the book to be a little longer.
This brings me to the next part, the parts I wish were longer. So, I do feel like on the writing front while it was super easy to get into and comfortable to read, it missed out on some key details while a situation is happening. When these said situations play out they do so with, what felt like to me, a slightly jerky style—where nothing is questioned—and later on in the book it’s explained. But there wasn’t enough content in the beginning for it to feel like a mystery or a thread we’re curious to follow. It felt a little like a sentence broken off midway, rather than a question I should remember as a reader and wonder about.
The characters. So as a new reader I don’t yet feel like I know Jacks too well. Outside of all the pain, games and secrets, the Fate’s personality is still shrouded in mystery and confusion (not in a bad way). I’m however not yet crazy about Jacks yet given that I don’t really know too much about him and there was always too much happening to have time to explore the character. Evangeline (her name felt like a real mouthful though I won’t lie) was definitely a grey character. Or more like she becomes a grey character due to a set of several unfortunate events. It’s hard to not pity the character a little and hope she figures things out as well. I also did notice some retelling trope here and there, but I’m not wholly sure if it was meant to be such or I’ve just found similarities coincidentally. Whether or not it’s a trope doesn’t affect the reader’s experience either way.
The plot to me (like I’d mentioned earlier) felt like it was just beginning to unwind when the book ended, however the book keeps you interested and guessing throughout. I could never predict what was going to happen next which for me is always a plus. The only down side was those small issues I had that I mentioned earlier which sadly pricked some holes in my reading experience and made the plot feel less than it was.
However, I stayed with the book throughout and I certainly don’t know what Stephanie Garber is going to bring to the reader with the next book. But whatever it may be, I’m sure to want to be a part of it. Four stars! ❤
Happy reading and stay safe!