ARC Review: Once Upon a Broken Heart (#1) by Stephanie Garber

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Evangeline Fox was raised in her beloved father’s curiosity shop, where she grew up on legends about immortals, like the tragic Prince of Hearts. She knows his powers are mythic, his kiss is worth dying for, and that bargains with him rarely end well.
But when Evangeline learns that the love of her life is about to marry another, she becomes desperate enough to offer the Prince of Hearts whatever he wants in exchange for his help to stop the wedding. The prince only asks for three kisses. But after Evangeline’s first promised kiss, she learns that the Prince of Hearts wants far more from her than she’s pledged. And he has plans for Evangeline that will either end in the greatest happily ever after, or the most exquisite tragedy…

Thank you so much to Hodder for sending me a proof copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Caraval remains to be one of my favourite books, but sadly Legendary and Finale didn’t quite meet my the same 5 star rating. Which meant I was all the more curious when it came to Once Upon a Broken Heart. Would it have the same magic as Caraval did the first time I read it, or would it feel lacking like the rest of the series?

I have to say, this one didn’t let me down. Following a new point of view of Evangeline worked really well, and this one felt so different to the world of Caraval. Even though the world did feel familiar, it only made the whole reading experience reminiscent of being wrapped in a warm blanket. Stephanie Garber has used the story of the fates from Finale and expanded on a completely different side of it, which felt so clever and I really enjoyed reading it.

I really liked Evangeline as a main character and it was interesting to see a different relationship between two sisters, much like Scarlett and Donatella in the Caraval trilogy. We definitely glimpse some of the magic I felt with the original books, and it shone through in the location and my personal favourite parts – the animals and food. I always feel like food makes me feel so grounded in a story, and this one was no different.

I felt so enveloped in this story and struggled to put it down. Stephanie Garber has a knack of keeping the reader completely on their toes, and I read this over 2 days because it was so easy to read and absorbing! I’m so excited to be part of this new story and it definitely didn’t disappoint.

Just a note to say although this story is a brand new series, I would recommend reading Caraval first. You certainly don’t have to and there is only minor spoilers for the original trilogy, but I would still say you’ll get more enjoyment out of the book by reading it after the Caraval trilogy.

★★★★★
4.5 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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