Cover Image: Once Upon A Broken Heart

Once Upon A Broken Heart

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Member Reviews

Had to request this as soon as I saw it! I loved the caravan series! If you loved the Caraval series you will love this. It is very magical, enchanting, and has a lovely heroine full of hope and positivity. Nice change from the assassin-bad-girl-murderer trope common in YA.
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Stephanie Garber has an utterly beautiful writing style that kept me captivated the whole way through. I found the story a bit slow to start, but was soon after hooked.
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Thank you Stephanie Garber & Hodder & Stoughton for the ARC via Netgalley. Because of your generosity, I have left an honest review. I have never read Caraval, but after reading Once Upon a Broken Heart, I am hooked.

A good villain is always a pleasure to read and Jacks is witty, funny, and unpredictable. I was sucked into the story after being in a reading slump and I ordered the Barns & Noble version as soon as it was available.  It came the other day (I had it shipped to the UK) and it is BEAUTIFUL.

If you are looking for a book with lots of twists and turns, this is it!  I was captivated from the beginning, the world-building was amazing, I mean blood-suckingly enchanting.. if you know, you know!

It's hard to explain this book without giving anything away, I hate a spoiler but I can honestly say I devoured this in one sitting and was so sad when I was nearing the end. A big shout out to the way Stephanie writes!! The way she explains things really keeps you on your toes and you can imagine yourself there in the book.

All in all, I would give the book 5 stars because I absolutely loved it!  I would advise making sure you have a clear schedule before starting this because you are in for a wild ride from start to finish.

"Please, Evangeline, let me stay."  He wrapped his other arm around her and held onto her like a promise he intended to keep.  The way he touched her was soft and reverent and full of all the comfort she'd missed so much."
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Evangeline Fox made a deal with the Prince of Hearts to stop the wedding of the love of her life to her stepsister in exchange for three kisses anytime and anywhere.

Once Upon A Broken Heart is whimsical with gorgeous prose and a magical setting. 

𝑾𝒉𝒂𝒕 𝑰 𝒍𝒊𝒌𝒆𝒅
- Stephanie Garber's writing style is beautiful and lyrical
- vivid descriptions, fairytale-like setting
- fascinating world and the magic system is interesting
- lovely cover

𝑾𝒉𝒂𝒕 𝑰 𝒅𝒊𝒅 𝒏𝒐𝒕 𝒍𝒊𝒌𝒆𝒅
- Evangeline, I find her gullible and too caught up in her own world. She's 17 but her actions are more suited to someone younger, say 13 or 14. She makes a lot of stupid choices which is just exhausting.
- the book is being pitched about Jacks but it's more on Evangeline. This poses a dilemma since I picked it up because of him.
- I can't find the plot.

Overall, this was an entertaining read but not for me.

Thank you so much Hodder and Stoughton and Netgalley for the DRC. All thoughts and opinions are mine.
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The cover and the synopsis of this book got my attention and by the end of it the story kept me hooked.
This books was wonderful written in terms of  story and character. 
Hands down this is my favourite book of the year and I don’t why it took me so much time to read.
It has magic, badass main characters and so much betrayal.
Can’t wait for the second book.
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Stephanie Garber is the reason I read so many fantasy novels. Until a few years ago, I read mostly crime and women’s fiction and then I stumbled upon the Caraval series and I fell in love with this magic world of games and fantasy, bargains and fates and I became addicted to Stephanie’s writing style. Since then, I started reading more and more fantasy books, often because of Stephanie Garber’s recommendations on Instagram.

Once Upon A Broken Heart is her new novel after the Caraval series, set in the same world (although, you can still easily read it if you haven’t read Caraval), with new characters and a couple of old acquaintances, most notably Jacks, the Prince of Hearts.

“He looked like a bad decision some unfortunate person was about to make. His midnight-blue hair was unruly, and his sable half cape was rakishly crooked, hanging over one shoulder to reveal a partially buttoned, smoke-gray doublet.”

The protagonist of Once Upon A Broken Heart is Evangeline Fox. She and Luc are in love, about to announce their engagement when, instead, he announces his wedding to another woman. She knows that Luc loves her, but he refuses to see her. The only way to stop the wedding is to make a bargain with the Prince of Hearts, even though she knows that you should never make a bargain with a Fate, especially when that Fate is Jacks.

“Even if you never want to see Jacks again, you’ll gravitate toward him until you fulfill the deal you’ve made with him. But if you desire a chance to happiness, fight the pull – Jacks will only lead to your destruction.”

Evangeline stops the wedding, but at a cost, and then she travels to the mysterious and magnificent North her mother used to tell her about as the ambassador for the Meridian Empire where, once again, her life becomes entangled with Jacks.

We had to wait two years for a new novel by Stephanie Garber, but it was worth it. Addictive, intriguing, and hard to put down, Once Upon A Broken Heart proves, once again, that Stephanie Garber is a master storyteller. The characters are incredible and engaging and I am delighted that Jacks finally got his own story to tell. Evangeline is a fantastic, smart, and witty heroine and I can’t wait to see what is coming up next for her in the sequel.

Once Upon A Broken Heart is a must-read, an enchanting and riveting story set in a fantastic world of fairytales, curses, bargains, elixirs, and romance that I couldn’t put down!
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Thank you to netgalley and Hodder & Stoughton for providing me with an arc of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Going into this book, I was already a Caraval fan and was looking forward to more content on Jacks and the events after the end of Finale, as well as a general expansion of the Caraval world. Although it has taken me a bit of time to get into it, it was an enjoyable and light read. I also really like the fairytale style of Garber's writing.
Aside from Jacks there are some other familiar characters from the previous series, but our focus for this novel is on Evangeline, who becomes desperate enough to make a deal with the Prince of Hearts in exchange for 3 kisses - the time and recipient all in his control. This sets off a chain of events where Evangeline must decide who to truly trust when she is sent to the North; the home of all of her parents' stories.

This time there is no 'game' sort of set up, however the feeling is very much the same, magic, excitement, mystery and the general feeling of being part of something bigger. Evangeline is caught up in a web of things happening around her, very similar to the style within Caraval, and there are many unknowns that draw you through the story.

I wondered too if I would gel with the MC after Scarlett and Tella previously, but I actually really liked Evangeline. She is imperfect, flawed yet curious and interesting, and her dynamic with Jacks was very intriguing from the start. 

My favourite thing in this book was definitely the magic of the North, I felt like this was really well captured.

I have docked a star or two because of the ending. Now, I love a cliff-hanger, and it has definitely made me want to read the next book, however I feel like we were rushed through Evangeline's piecing together of the events in the story at the end of the book. My opinion is that there weren't necessarily enough clues throughout to draw us to the same conclusions naturally. It felt a bit like 'this must be what has happened because of x and y'. I also felt that it was a bit of abrupt ending as the pace was starting to pick back up.

This being said, I did still enjoy it and think that Caraval fans will definitely not be disappointed.
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Unfortunately I didn't enjoy this book as much as i thought i would. I really loved Caraval but this just didn't didn't enjoy this. I think it's because i just didn't like the MC so i couldn't feel invested. The plot was really interesting when it first started but then it started to drag and we were told rather than shown so much that i lost interest.
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I loved the Caraval series so to have another book set in this world was me sold.
I really enjoyed this and loved the dynamic between Jacks and Evangeline. Their friendship was written so well and the banter between them was on point . I found that the book flowed so well and I loved we got to see more of the Fates (Lala was fantastic and so sassy, I love her). 
I found that my only problem with this book is I wanted more Jacks (but hey don’t we all), I loved that we got to see a little behind the facade that he puts up and a hint of his feelings regarding Donatella. 
Overall I think I gave the book a solid 4⭐️‘s, and I can’t wait to see what happens in the next book .
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this book was a complete surprise. While i enjoyed the caraval trilogy (well, the first book, and the second. the third was a disappointment for me) in the end i wasn't blown away by the story or the characters. This book is definitely better. i liked the protagonist, Evangeline, i liked the change of setting, even if i wanted something more of the new magical event. And obviously i liked Jacks, one of the redeeming things of the third caraval book.
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Loved it loved it loved it. I was so engrossed and then it just finished and I wanted to cry. Love the protagonist, love Jack's and love the whole book. Read it.
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Thank you to Hodder and Stoughton for the review copy of Once upon a broken heart.

This book is set in the same world as the Caraval series, just after the events in the final book Finale.

It focuses on a new character Evangeline Fox and features Jacks from the Caraval series being his usual trickster self and of course eating a lot of apples.

Both Evangeline and Jacks have suffered a recent heartbreak and sort of end up teaming up for an adventure.

Like the Caraval series there is lots of magic, mystery, myths come to life and pretty dresses.

While I did enjoy the Caraval series I did at times find the language exhaustingly flowery but thankfully I found Once upon a broken heart an easier read and I'm looking forward to book two... I still have a lot of questions.
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Stephanie Garber's Caraval trilogy was a gorgeous carnival or tricks and treats, of grand epic supernatural beings, quests, magic, mysteries, and the kind of romances that have bows, sterns, keels, and a lot of sails. And at it's heart, a story of sisterhood. While I had felt perfectly satisfied and complete by the end of the trilogy, I have to admit that I am pretty happy to be back revisiting this world. Plus, with Jacks at the centre of things, most Caraval readers are thrilled. 

Once Upon a Broken Heart is an enchanting, whimsical fantasy escape, filled with glitz, glamour, and glitter, but also with the darkness and mud beneath it. It could technically be read by a new reader, but I would definitely recommend anyone interested to go back and read the first books in this world. Garber's world has a beautiful intricacy, and while there may be some repetitive themes, this is definitely a world that asks for expansion. I hope to be able to spend more time in this carnival
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This is the first book I have read by the author and all I can see is I can't wait to read more - especially the sequel to this fabulous tale.
Evangaline Fox is desperate to stop the wedding of her step sister Marisol to the love of her life Luc.  One moment Luc is planning to wed her and the next Evangaline is dumped with Marisol taking her place. This is unacceptable and can only have happened if Luc has fallen under a curse...or so Eva believes.  To this end she searches out and finds a Fate (depicted in playing cards) called the Prince of Hearts aka Jacks, and wishes for the wedding to be stopped, however as is always the case there is a price to be paid!
This wish sets Eva and her sister on a path lined with stories starting in their homeland of the South and leading them to the Magnificent North.  Stories rule the characters in this book, but not all stories are true or only for a certain perspective of truth.  We have heartbreak, betreyal, hidden agendas, double blinds, murder, magic but key to all is hope that the story will play out to end well.
I was gripped and I have always loved the concept that our world is ruled by the stories we tell ourselves and others, a theme often explored by writers such as Terry Pratchett.  Dive in and enjoy.
My thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for access to this ARC and I will be keeping the sequel on my radar!
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The premise of the story is very intriguing and I really enjoyed the early set up of the narrative. Evangeline is in a pretty thorny situation as her love is due to marry her step-sister, which causes all sorts of moral dilemmas and questions about what she should and shouldn’t feel about the situation. I thought this was cool, and immediately made me sympathise with her. The initial meeting with Jacks is also very well done and atmospheric and I found myself keen to dive in more.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t a big fan of the rest of the book. I probably should have known that I wouldn’t be, given that I fell out of love with the Caraval series pretty early on. Still, Garber has this very fairy tale writing style that I always crave more of, and so I was willing to give it another go. I think people who liked Jacks and want to see more of him will really eat up this story, and it was fun to see more of him. The worldbuilding too was very unique and I liked how Garber incorporated so many little details in it, but ultimately I think that’s where my issues with the novel really lie- as much as I enjoyed the concepts of the world in the book, it still somehow manages to feel a bit… empty almost? I found myself struggling to figure out where characters were supposed to be, or what was happening, I think in part because there was a lot of White Room Syndrome going on. While details of the world are incredibly thought out and intricate, there’s a real lack of descriptions that would help a reader figure out the settings where the scenes are taking place. While I enjoyed the whimsical style of writing, I wasn’t keen on how often the story relies on telling the reader things, rather than showing them, either. This was one of my main gripes with Caraval, too. When you’re writing in that kind of style, it’s hard to get that balance right. Some of my favourite books, such as The Raven Cycle series and Strange the Dreamer have similar styles, but I feel like they manage to walk that line between whimsical and telling. Again, I think it’s very similar in language and style to Caraval so if you enjoyed the series, you’ll likely enjoy this one too. I just personally found it felt a bit too young for me.

The characters were reasonably interesting, and I quite enjoyed Evangeline and Jacks, although I wasn’t too fond of most of the rest of the cast. Again, I have a few issues with the characters, mostly because a lot of them will behave in ways that at times doesn’t make sense or contradicts what we know about the character. There’s a lot of back and forthing about certain plot elements and decisions, particularly from Evangeline. I didn’t really understand some of the developments because of this, and again it was a pretty significant reason why the book fell a bit flat for me. Evangeline is, at times, very clever and shrewd, and then all of a sudden she’s super naïve when the plot calls for it, and I just felt like it was a bit of an easy fix. She was great at the start of the story, when she came across as capable and somewhat confident in herself, but it didn’t hold up for the whole novel.

There were aspects of the novel that I enjoyed. It was cool to see a bit more of Jack’s character, especially outside of the annoying love triangle stuff that I struggled with so much in the Caraval series. The worldbuilding ideas were very creative and inspiring and I loved all the little magical details woven through it. But ultimately, there was too much telling going on, not enough worldbuilding of key elements that were essential to the plot. Again, I love that kind of writing style, but there’s definitely other books that I would encourage people to try first, ahead of this one. Maybe Garber’s writing just isn’t for me?
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I would like to say that the first half was fun because of the citations from the Caraval trilogy. Many say that you shouldn't read the Caraval trilogy before reading this but I beg to differ. reading the Caraval trilogy sets the mood and enjoyment of reminiscing the citations and characters from the said trilogy. 

My one off parts for this book was the romances between the characters are too cheesy. I hope to see more angst and tension than easily swooned by flowered words and radiating masculinity.
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Rating: 3.5/5

I'm a little disappointed. It's not that I didn't like the book, but it also didn't give me what I was expecting.
I actually liked the story. A girl makes a deal with the devil to stop the wedding of the boy she loves. And this boy is actually getting married to her stepsister.
What not to love? Especially because the devil in this case is a Fate called Jacks, the Prince of Hearts. Beautiful, damned, snarky and everything in between. I mean, if a character is described as follow "He looked like a bad decision some unfortunate person was about to make", we all know he is going to steal my heart.
But unfortunately Jacks and the story weren't enough to make me like Evangeline. Which I think is the main issue here. At the end of the day, I couldn't care less for her. She actually annoyed me quite a bit and despite my love for Jacks I was really against any romance between them.

I'm assuming things will change as this is only the first book in a series, but alas as of now I can judge only what I read. I'm all in for Jacks and his trickery ways, but Evangeline has a long way to go to back that up.
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I ended up DNFing this book. It started really well and I was so invested, but then it dropped and became boring and I couldn't really bring myself to finish reading it. 

The fairy-tale elements in this story are very well crafted, though, and I loved how the author used them when I began reading. Just for that, maybe I'll give this a try again later, but right now, it's not for me.
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Thank you, netgalley, for providing me with this ARC.
(even if I read it after the launch date)

3.5 / 5 stars for a book that I loved , surprisingly, a lot. It took me longer to start this book than I expected. For some reason I couldn't pick it up, fearing I would dislike the book for some reason. This book proved me otherwise.

I was hooked from the start, glad to be back in the magical world I so gravely missed. Caraval was a book series I read earlier this year and one I loved dearly. When I got to see familair characters again, like Tella and Scarlett, my heart was warmed. But Evangeline really did steal the show for me.

For some reason I had expected to dislike her character, when in reality I ended up loving her from the first page. Sure the story was a bit rushed at some parts, but it's what I kind of liked about this book. It had no boring parts and it left me with my mouth wide open when yet another reveal was made. Some I seriously did not see coming and others that had me like, oh right that figures.

The writing was once again alluring and Stephanie Garber did a great job of making you fall in love with her world building once more.

The end left me fuming though, because what the hell! I don't need more, I want more. Right away.
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A kind thank you to the publisher who granted me an e-ARC of this book.

First of all, this is a lovely story. I especially liked how most (if not all) characters aren't purely good or purely bad. I found it very relatable and genuine that the characters had a reason for their actions that made sense, even though it wasn't well-intented etc. But the fairytale-like writing style, including the naming choices, just isn't for me. 

However, the Evangeline - Jacks interactions were gripping (these two certainly have chemistry), and I really liked Lala. I thought she and Jacks were the most interesting characters.

If you like romantic fairytale-like stories with a touch of a mysterious love interest, you'll enjoy this one a lot.
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