November 14, 2022

REVIEW The Ballad of Never After (Once Upon a Broken Heart #2) by Stephanie Garber

The Ballad of Never After (Once Upon a Broken Heart #2) by Stephanie Garber
Rating: 5 Stars
Release Date: September 13, 2022
Format: Hardcover (Personal Copy) + Audiobook (Borrowed from Library)
Publisher: Flatiron Books 

Stephanie Garber’s The Ballad of Never After picks up after the events of Once Upon a Broken Heart. Evangeline is reeling from Jacks’ betrayal and determined to lift the curse off her new husband Apollo, convinced the happily ever after ending she’s been chasing is almost within her reach. Her plans also include preventing the Fates from opening the Valory arch, but when Apollo wakes under the effects of a new curse that may be the only hope to save him. Forced to team up with the roguish Prince of Hearts, they must hunt down the missing arch stones and risk opening the Arch (and unleashing the terrible force it is rumored to be holding back).

“It was a smile like a fairytale, part villain, part hero, part impossible ever after. She couldn’t bear how much she loved it.”

The romance between Evangeline and Jacks really moves forward in this book. It’s still very much a slow-burn romance, but the tension between them is increasing, and they transition from being always combative with each other to occasional reluctant allies. I love their fun banter and how readers see more of Jacks’ backstory in this book (along with some of the other Fates). The curse on Evangeline and Apollo does complicate things, especially toward the end of the book and I’m dying to know how things will end up for them. After all, I’m a proud fan of the Evangeline and Jacks ship (Apollo is awful for Evangeline, so he needs to leave and find his happily ever after with someone else). 

I love Stephanie Garber’s whimsical writing, and she didn’t disappoint with this book. She paints imaginative pictures (like midnight armies of sparkles or pastry goblins) and evokes all of your senses (Jacks’ scent of apples and magic sounds absolutely divine). Readers will enjoy all of the traditional fairytale elements she weaves into the story, all without feeling repetitive or predictable. If you can pick up a physical copy of the book, I highly recommend it! The North is a land filled with magic and fairy tales, and the map helps bring that to life (an eBook version of the map simply doesn’t do it justice). 

Once again, Stephanie Garber delivered an amazing book with The Ballad of Never After. That ending was a cliffhanger and emotionally gut-wrenching, so I’m relieved that there will be a sequel. I would have rioted if that was the ending to Jacks and Evangeline’s story. Rebecca Soler delivered another stellar performance with this audiobook narration. I would recommend the Caraval and Once Upon a Broken Heart series to young adult readers who enjoy whimsical fairy tales, intricate world-building, and well-developed characters. 

About the Book

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...

The fiercely-anticipated sequel to the #1 New York Times bestseller Once Upon a Broken Heart, starring Evangeline Fox and the Prince of Hearts on a new journey of magic, mystery, and heartbreak.

About the Author

Stephanie Garber is the #1  New York Times and Sunday Times bestselling author of THE CARAVAL SERIES, which has been translated in over 25 languages. Her newest book, ONCE UPON A BROKEN HEART, releases September 28, 2021.

When she’s not writing, she’s usually reading or watching television shows with vampires. Now that her dream of becoming a published author has come true, her new dream is to visit Club 33 at Disneyland.

If your dream is to write books, Stephanie has a list of writing resources HERE. She also has a list of past interviews for anyone who’s trying to do a school assignment, or just curious about her writing: FIRST DRAFT PODCAST, 88 CUPS OF TEAINTERVIEW WITH A CLOCKWORK READERBOOKS INC. INTERVIEWLIBRO.FM INTERVIEW.

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