Book Review: Once Upon a Broken Heart
This week I read Once Upon a Broken Heart by Stephanie Garber. It is the first book in her spin-off series from Caraval.
In Once Upon a Broken Heart we follow main character, Evangeline Fox. She lives in Valenda (where Finale took place) and runs her father’s curiosities shop. When she learns that her love, Luc, is now all of a sudden engaged to her stepsister, Marisol, she is heartbroken. She seeks out the Prince of Hearts, Jacks. We met him in the Caraval series. He is a Fate (with a thing for always eating different colored apples) who is cursed to kill anyone he kisses unless it is his One True Love. Evangeline strikes a deal with Jacks. If he stops Marisol and Luc from marrying, she will owe him three kisses to be given to whomever and whenever he chooses. He does stop the wedding, but as we learned in Caraval the wording of deals is very important. Everyone at the wedding including Luc has been turned to stone. Evangeline sacrifices herself to save Luc and everyone else, turning herself to stone so they can be free.
After six weeks (supposedly the events if Finale happen during this time period that Evangeline was frozen) she is awoken by another Fate. She is now a celebrated hero because she sacrificed herself. The new Empress, Scarlett Dragna (one of the main characters of Caraval) invites her to the castle. Scarlett and her sister, Donatella (whom Jacks thought he was in love with in the original series), ask Evangeline if she can be their ambassador in the Magnificent North and attend the Nocte Neverending festivities in their place. Since a lot of the Fates fled to the Magnificent North including Jacks, the sisters didn’t think it best that they attend. Excited to be asked to go and to spend time in the land of stories and where her mother was born, she accepts and asks if she can also bring her stepsister, Marisol. The two have never been close, but after her botched wedding (even if it was to the guy Evangeline was in love with) and then being left by Luc she is now known as the “cursed bride” and Evangeline feels bad.
The stepsisters venture north on an adventure. On the first night of festivities, Evangeline is already found by Jacks and her side of the bargain begins. The kisses Jacks has Evangeline give sets her on a whole adventure she wasn’t expecting that includes marriage, murder, being a fugitive, a mysterious legend, vampires, and more. Through it all, her dislike and distrust of Jacks begins to become a friendship and possible attraction, but can she trust him when she knows he has an end game that he has made no secret of being ruthless in working towards?
I loved this book. It was just as magical and fantastical as the Caraval series, but with a more light and whimsical flair. When I imagine Caraval I think of dark carnival vibes. Whereas, Once Upon a Broken Heart is a land of stories and magic, snowy castles, etc. When I was reading Caraval I didn’t think much of Jacks. I knew he was a main character in the new series and I didn’t really get the hype about him. But now that I’ve read OUABH, I can see his charming appeal. He had some swoon worthy moments in this book for sure!
With the way OUABH ended, I’m looking forward to reading book 2 to see what happens next!
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