December 28, 2021

Once Upon a Broken Heart (Once Upon a Broken Heart Book 1) by Stephanie Garber

Once Upon a Broken Heart (Once Upon a Broken Heart Book 1) by Stephanie Garber
Rating: 5 Stars
Release Date: September 28, 2021
Format: Hardback (Barnes and Noble Exclusive Edition) + Audiobook (Borrowed from Library)
Publisher: Flatiron Books

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Evangeline thought she had it all. A boy who loved her, a father with a magical curiosity shop - that’s all she needed to be content. But when the boy she loves suddenly announces his engagement to her stepsister, Evangeline is convinced that he must be cursed. Not able to see any other choice, Evangeline makes a deal with the Prince of Hearts - the only Fate she thinks might be able to empathize with the situation. However, Evangeline ends up getting in over her head, as she should have realized that Jacks never makes a deal that doesn’t somehow benefit himself. An intricate and unpredictable adventure ensues as Evangeline is forced to guard her heart and do her best to make sure it is not broken for a second time. 

I loved how Garber kept me on the edge of my seat. Jacks is the type to play his cards close to his chest, so it took a while to get a clear picture of what his plans might be. Readers got to unravel the mystery as Evangeline did. It was also nice to get to see a different side of Jacks when he interacted with the other Fates. He’s definitely not a “hero”, but there are times when he does act with good intentions. Evangeline seems to be Jack’s opposite. For all the horrible, painful things she is subjected to over the course of the book she has a very strong spirit and she never loses her sense of wonder. 

While this is set in the same world as the original Caraval books, you don’t necessarily need to have read the original series to understand everything that’s going on in this book. However, I would caution those who have not finished Finale as this book will spoil Finale’s ending. The cameo appearances from the characters of Caraval were very sweet - I’m so happy to see that everything has worked out well for them.

With regards to the audiobook, Rebecca Soler did a great job. She really brought the emotions of the characters to life. For example, the heart-to-heart scene with Marisol and Evangeline at the end of the book was one of my favorite moments. Both Marisol and Evangeline are opening up, sharing a very vulnerable side with each other and Rebecca absolutely nailed it. For those who are curious, Rebecca is the same narrator for the Caraval series audiobooks.  

Overall, a beautiful and enchanting fantasy romance novel. One of my favorite starts to a companion or spin-off series ever! If you love the original Caraval series, then you will surely enjoy Once Upon a Broken Heart. I’m excited to see what’s next for Jacks and Evangeline when the next book, The Ballad of Never After, comes out in September 2022.

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