Published: September 28, 2021
Genre(s): fantasy, romance, young adult
Read as: physical, hardback, owned, Barnes & Noble special edition
When Evangeline Fox learns that the love of her life is about to marry another, she feels her heart begin to break in two. Desperate and distraught, she offers the charismatic but wicked Prince of Hearts whatever he wishes in exchange for his help to stop the wedding. His request: three kisses. At first, it seems simple enough, but Evangeline quickly learns that bargaining with a Fate is a dangerous game, and it could cost her far more than she intended. For the prince has plans for Evangeline, plans that will either end in the greatest happily ever after, or in the most exquisite tragedy… (Goodreads)
“The fates weren’t dangerous because they were evil; the fates were dangerous because they couldn’t tell the difference between evil and good.”
Folks, my feelings for this book are all over the place. Was it good? Was it bad? Did it comfort me in a time of existential crisis? I don’t know but maybe together we can work it out.
Stephanie Garber’s writing and I have an uncomfortable relationship. Her first books, the Caraval trilogy, were a roller coaster of some of the most entertaining and worst writing I have ever read. Even now I can tell you how I felt about each book individually but, as a whole, I still haven’t a clue.
Which leads me to Once Upon a Broken Heart, her newest book. To be up front with you I had no intention of reading this series. I did not want to find myself on another love/hate roller coaster thank you very much. But, oh boy am I a sucker, and when Barnes & Noble announced their very pretty rose gold edition? I couldn’t pass it up. So here we are, with me once more conflicted over a Garber book. I hate it here. Or do I love it? Who knows!
This title started off in a fashion that simply shouts “ya fantasy romance” and since that is one of my favorite genres, I have no problems with that. We have a young woman, Evangeline, who is in love with a young man that spurns her and instead of crying about it she seeks revenge. I am 100% on board with this, you get your comeuppance boo-boo.
Evangeline is a confused character with strong feelings and has a tendency to jump to conclusions with very circumstantial evidence. I’m not complaining, she is seventeen. She is supposed to be confused and have strong feelings and not think things through. That is part of being a teenager. However, after a while her near constant flip-flopping between opinions and emotions did get a little tiresome. I can easily see a young woman in a difficult situation who is being given conflicting information having trouble ferreting out the truth but, honey, stick with a decision for more than a chapter and a half please.
I did like the magical elements of this book. You are introduced to it slowly and learn about the magic at nearly the same time that Evangeline does. It is also magic that makes sense while still having a sense of wonder and mystery to it.
Alright, lets skip to the real reason I read this book, shall we? Jacks. If you read the Caraval trilogy you remember Jacks and if you have an ounce of sense in your head you fell in love with his over the top, often brooding character. Jacks is my favorite kind of YA male love interest. Seemingly chaotic, often mysterious, a bit of a show off, but keeps his real purpose close to the vest. Jacks gets Evangeline into all kinds of mischief but, as she could have put a stop to it before any of it began, I don’t particularly feel bad for her. Jacks is up to something big and I cannot wait to find out what it is!
Overall, this book was an easy read. There was nothing overly complicated but it still managed to be entertaining. Sure, there were a few bits that annoyed me (mostly Evangeline see-sawing her opinions) but for the most part it was just a fun time. Look at that. We got to the end of the review and together, I think, we’ve waded through my thoughts well enough for me to say that I enjoyed this book. How about that.