Once Upon A Broken Heart #2

This is the second in a series and while there will be no spoilers for this one there may be for book one. Read my review of book one, Once Upon a Broken Heart, here.

The Ballad of Never After by Stephanie Garber

Publication Date: September 13. 2022

Summary from NetGalley:

Not every love is meant to be.

After Jacks, the Prince of Hearts, betrays her, Evangeline Fox swears she’ll never trust him again. Now that she’s discovered her own magic, Evangeline believes she can use it to restore the chance at happily ever after that Jacks stole away.

But when a new terrifying curse is revealed, Evangeline finds herself entering into a tenuous partnership with the Prince of Hearts again. Only this time, the rules have changed. Jacks isn’t the only force Evangeline needs to be wary of. In fact, he might be the only one she can trust, despite her desire to despise him.

Instead of a love spell wreaking havoc on Evangeline’s life, a murderous spell has been cast. To break it, Evangeline and Jacks will have to do battle with old friends, new foes, and a magic that plays with heads and hearts. Evangeline has always trusted her heart, but this time she’s not sure she can. . . .

ARC provided by Flatiron Books via NetGalley for an honest review.

Confession:

I am still having some mixed feelings about this series. I just feel like there is something missing in this one. I just don’t feel that same spark or connection to the characters that I did in the Caraval series. That said I did like this story, and there were some parts that I loved, but I just want to feel more for the characters than I do.

I continued to like Evangeline in this book, although I found her frustrating at times. She continues to insist that there is good in everyone and this belief sometimes gets her into a lot of trouble. She still strikes me as being quite naive especially when it comes to Jacks and some of the other Fates. She continues to make some very bad choices too, which just frustrated me.

What I really liked about this story is that we learned a lot more about the Fates and how some of them were created. There is a lot of focus on Jacks backstory which was wonderful, but I still have to know what the meaning of all of the apples he eats is. There are lots of stories woven into the main storyline which gives so much depth to the world and to some of the characters.

The story is very intricately plotted, even more than the first one, but there are some slow spots. Evangeline spends a lot of time hanging out in the library trying to find out about the Valroy arch and the Fates. The action scenes were very well done as were the descriptions of places and what people were wearing and even the food. I especially liked the inn where Jacks takes Evangeline to recover from some injuries. It was a very magical place and one I would like to visit.

The ending was not at all what I was expecting, especially as I thought this was going to be a duology. Even though I can not find any info that there is going to be a third book, there had better be, because that ending is just begging for the story to continue. I think though that I will reread both books before reading the next one. I think I might have enjoyed this one a bit more if I had done that this time around.

A beautifully written story that will please fans of the Caraval series. This is a must read if you are a fan of the Prince of Hearts as some of his story is revealed in this book. I hope to learn more about him and the other Fates in the next book.

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