Series: Once Upon a Broken Heart

BOOK REVIEW: Once Upon A Broken Heart by Stephanie Garber

BOOK REVIEW: Once Upon A Broken Heart by Stephanie GarberOnce Upon A Broken Heart (Once Upon A Broken Heart #2)
by Stephanie Garber
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Caraval, 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…

“I don’t think you and I have the same definition of hurt.” 
“Be thankful for that, Little Fox.” Jacks gave her a smile that was all sharp edges. A drop of blood fell from the corner of his mouth, and something godforsaken washed over his expression. “Hurt is what made me.”

Damn this book. Damn this stupid book that I didn’t even care about. Was it the heroine? Was it the storyline? Was it the way the words flowed so beautifully upon opening up the story? Could it have been the absolutely gorgeous cover? Or was it simply that I felt at home, at peace, just happy when I read it? Or, the scariest question of all-Was it Jacks?

He looked like a bad decision some unfortunate person was about to make.


And that’s the whole point-I truly cannot say why I liked loved this book so much. I was so blase about OUABH’s impending release, so meh, so whatever that I didn’t even know it was released until all the editions began pouring onto my doorstep. And isn’t that the kicker? I knew. Deep down my soul knew that I’d love this story. So, book hoarder that I am, I possess them all, naturally, before even having read the story and even believing I wouldn’t care one way or another for it. But, again, why? I still can’t even tell you.

“Heroes don’t get happy endings. They give them to other people.”

This book, to me, felt so different than the Caraval stories. It’s the same world, really honestly the same characters-so why was it so different? I think the thing is, it really wasn’t. Perhaps Garber has grown as a writer, maybe she simply wrote from a deeper perspective. I don’t quite understand how a writer can have all the same mannerisms, yet churn out a book that felt so wholly me when the others kind of failed to do so.

“She hates me,” Jacks said pleasantly. “So even if she likes you more, that’s not saying very much.”
“Are you certain about that?”

I loved Tella. I loved Scarlett. I adored Julian and Legend…And the stories were absolutely spellbinding, always wrapped in a haze of fairytale type enchantment. It was no joke when people said this felt somewhat like a fairytale-and I keep telling myself that was why I loved it so much. But if this was, in fact, a fairytale, it was certainly a demented version of one. And…there it is. I truly think that’s it: This was no fairytale . There was no happily ever after. It was my favorite kind of story, ripe with a sea of possibilities: Happily Never After.

She knew her story had the potential for infinite endings—and that belief hadn’t changed. There was a happy ending waiting for her.

Yeah, Evangeline will find it, sure. But the journey she took, the desperate attempts at creating love at first sight, at believing her one true love was within grasp at all times, the way she was so willing to love and trust and forgive and risk it all for both her kindness of heart and the idea of hope. Hope that someone else would do the same for her, hope that her one true love would be her knight in shining armor, hope that good would win over evil, always…I love that she didn’t just get that. I love that her journey is so rocky, deceptive, and convoluted. But, most of all, I loved the unpredictability-because there was literally not one moment (save, bad guys) that I could have predicted.

She just wanted someone to want her the way Jacks had wanted this girl. And she didn’t want it to be because of a spell or a curse. Evangeline wanted a real love powerful enough to break a spell.

Well…maybe I could have, but I’m not sure how. And, to be honest, part of that unpredictability comes from the hero (?What even is Jacks?) himself. I have never been anything but transparent when it comes to Jacks in the Caraval series: I truly do not remember a thing about him, but I remember enough I just didn’t care or get why anyone would root against Legend for Tella’s heart.

According to the myths, the Prince of Hearts was not capable of love because his heart had stopped beating long ago. Only one person could make it work again: his one true love. They said his kiss was fatal to all but her—his only weakness—and as he’d sought her, he’d left a trail of corpses.

Yeah, okay, bad boy with bad intentions and even badder actions who deserves good and sweet and adventurous girl-I get it, but come on. She loved Legend, end of story. BUT, that being said, this world? It was made for Jacks. And, truthfully, I loved Evangeline FOR Jacks. Remember that quote the Mockingjay, the one about her [Katniss] being fire and Gale being fire, as well, and Peeta was the dandelion in the wind? That’s Tella and Jacks-they just didn’t go. This book, while not wholly about Jacks himself, helped him to shine a little (duh, obviously). And, again, yeah I know-He is a main character therefore he doesn’t have anything else going on to really contend with, but this is also what I loved about Garber’s storytelling here….this book really didn’t throw Jacks all up in our face. Like…at all.

He was terrible. There was no other word to describe him—except maybe heartless or depraved or rotten. The way Jacks seemed to enjoy pain was absolutely staggering. The apple in his hand probably possessed more sympathy than he did. This was not the same young man who’d practically bled heartbreak all over the knave of his church. Something inside of him was broken.

Romances that aren’t really romances are my favorite kind-the tension, the unknowing protectiveness, mean pet names turning to something sweeter and kinder (Side note: This book is home to probably my favorite intimate little pet name I’ve heard in a while. I don’t know why, but Little Fox just really is my favorite thing ever. Every time I saw it, my heart just went berserk. Crazy. And, let’s be honest, if we’d have been stuck with him calling her ‘Pet’ the whole book, I might have raged. That, in tandem, is probably my least favorite pet name (and Woman. Who the eff wants to be called ‘Woman?’). No thanks. Hard pass), the jealousy. It all adds up to a million non-kisses and unplanned heroic acts and I am all here for it-and so was Garber because her book is riddled with so many tantalizingly sinful moments without even closely bordering smutty-barely restrained bites, caresses, touches, and-ahem-okay, I won’t say the last but *insert red face sweating emoji*.

“Do you stare at everyone like that, or just me?” Jacks looked up.

Evangeline reached out to Jacks in a moment of desperation, so they started out as tentative allies, turned untrusting partners, turned actual allies, to somewhat friends. The addition of Jacks only being able to kiss his one true love without it resulting in death? Umm…yes please. Bring the tension. I THRIVE on sexual tension. Bring on ALLL the tension. Who needs kisses when you can have…other things.

“I’m curious about a lot of things. I’m curious about you, but I don’t want you to bite me!”
The corner of Jacks’s mouth twitched. “I’ve already done that, Little Fox.”

Evangeline’s naive view of life and quest for her one true love, her selflessness and willingness to help those around her that she cares about is perfect for Jacks’s hard-nosed Fury self who is cynical, heart-broken, and cold as stone-she is the yin to his yang, she will slowly break down his long-built up barriers and crumble his resolve as he saves her time and again, as he continues to play games and use her in his quest for something Fate-ish and top secret and realizes she really does mean something to him. We saw so many wonderful moments where we got tiny fractures in his exterior, moments where we saw flares of vulnerability…and only more will come. I lived for these far and few between moments, losing sleep long into the night daydreaming and aching for more, all the while knowing that I was getting exactly what I love most, romance wise, yet still pining for so much more and knowing it will be a year before we get any gratification.

“I didn’t think you cared.”
“I don’t. But you still owe me one more kiss, and until I collect it, you’re mine, and I do not like to share.”

Some books have crazy endings, amazing epic awesome cliffhangers….and some have subtle ends, subtle chaos, but cliffhangers all the same. And, I’ll be honest, the books with subtle cliffhangers, such as this one? They are far more likely, in my opinion, to have an epic final book. An author can write a crazy end, and I get SO excited as they are my favorite thing ever, but I’m always willing to wait because I’m so nervous that the next book won’t be worth the wait, that it won’t hold up to those monumental final moments. But with endings like these, I can’t help but feel helpless, as if I’m drowning, because it’s as if I can’t breathe knowing I have to wait until literally next year to see what type of story Jacks and Evangeline are going to get. How (notice I did not say if) he will eventually crumble and break and (omg I HOPE) profess his love for her (Fates tend to get kind of obsessed, don’t they??), how he will protect her at any cost…I just, I can’t wait. I seriously cannot wait. It makes me ill to think how far away it is-but that’s my fault, isn’t it? Giving into the urge so quickly? So easily? Well, shame on me.

Hope is a difficult thing to kill, just a spark of it can start a fire.

Basically this review is a horrible non-review with very little in way of what I would normally write, but I had no direction because I have no clue what worked and why it hit me differently than the Caraval series did. I absolutely ADORED Caraval-I did-but there was just something so wholly satisfying about a non romance littered with a girl who dreamed of a fairy tale romance that I couldn’t help but to be dazzled. Easy romances are boring, period, and this was and will be anything but. The promise of something so much greater, grander, magnificent than just a normal romance might be what excites me most-the idea that Garber could literally take this story anywhere. But, perhaps the most promising of all, is the notion that Jacks will slowly lose his mind, will become jealous of any other person who seeks Evangeline. The idea that he will do anything to protect her, even though he says he wouldn’t and doesn’t care, that she is and will be a more guarded, less doe-eyed girl who only wants her happily ever after-its going to be a cacophony of chaos and heartbreak and destruction (PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE LET THERE BE CHAOS AND HEARTBREAK)…it sounds like a pretty dark book to me. Now, if only I didn’t have to wait.

****

Guys…this one just got me good. I don’t even know why…it just resonated deep within me, and I’ll be honest when I say I never really cared for Jacks. Now, I haven’t been able to stop thinking about him. I picked this up expecting to simply tolerate it, and instead walked away enthralled, obsessed, and more than upset I didn’t get more from Jacks and Evangeline. No clue what to read next, but I’ve always been a sucker for fairytale type stories and this somewhat quenched that thirst-Nothing will really touch my mood now.

So, if it’s not obvious, I literally cannot wait to write this review.

BOOK REVIEW: Once Upon a Broken Heart (Once Upon a Broken Heart) by Stephanie Garber

BOOK REVIEW: Once Upon a Broken Heart (Once Upon a Broken Heart) by Stephanie GarberOnce Upon a Broken Heart (Once Upon a Broken Heart #1)
by Stephanie Garber
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

How far would you go for happily ever after?

For as long as she can remember, Evangeline Fox has believed in true love and happy endings...until she learns that the love of her life will marry another.

Desperate to stop the wedding and to heal her wounded heart, Evangeline strikes a deal with the charismatic but wicked Prince of Hearts. In exchange for his help, he asks for three kisses, to be given at the time and place of his choosing.

But after Evangeline’s first promised kiss, she learns that bargaining with an immortal is a dangerous game—and that the Prince of Hearts wants far more from her than she’d pledged. He has plans for Evangeline, plans that will either end in the greatest happily ever after or the most exquisite tragedy….

Review

Evangeline had to look down at the damp cobbles to make sure her feet were still on the ground and that she hadn’t taken flight, for parts of her were soaring. Stepping into the North didn’t just feel like the start of something, it felt like the start of everything.

The ONLY thing I regret about my currently and seemingly never-fading obsession with Dramione fanfiction is that I have been putting off reading so many great YA titles that have released in the last few months. I feel like I was trying to talk myself into reading this (and Chelsea demanding that I read this) for WEEKSSSSSS. Which is such a crime. SUCH A CRIME. While it did take me a little bit to actually get my brain into the right mindset (solely just remembering what kind of a world all of this is set in AND getting acclimated to the Magnificent North) once I was able to focus I devoured the rest of this book. I just love that every single one of Garber’s books to date have such a deliciously whimsical feel to them while also showing us different pockets of darkness here and there. It’s almost like she hands each reader a pair of rose-tinted glasses to read with only for a lens to crack part-way through and have to be taken off. BOOM. The Fates are back and people are dying or being hunted and prophecies are unearthed and deals are being made.

As much as I love reading about the world of Caraval and now the North, I’m not sure I would survive there, lol. I’m way too trusting and in real life take way too much at face value. Evangeline though…I think she’ll do just fine. She befriended a Fate or two and was really on her way to taking control of her destiny towards the end of this book. It took me a little bit to figure out if I actually was going to like her at first but…she really isn’t all that helpless. No, she’s just a normal girl who would do anything for those she loves and that is truly special. I will say I spent the entire book mistrusting Marisol and still am not convinced she’s entirely an innocent. Jacks….oh where do I even begin? I think that it’s pretty important to, at the very least, re-read all of the scenes he’s in from Legendary and Finale. I had ENTIRELY forgotten all of the glimpses we were given of him in those books and they truly make a difference. I forgot how much he DID feel for Tella and how that obviously would have MAJORLY impacted him from the first time he met Evangeline to the next. Poor boy. Lot of little moment that add up between them in this one. I have some theories and hope for book two and I can’t wait to see what does and doesn’t come true!

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