Thank you so much to Kate @ Hodderscape for an early e-copy for review.
I steamed through Once Upon a Broken Heart and I wasn’t surprised since the same happened with the Caraval books too. Unfortunately, just like with the Caraval books, Once Upon a Broken Heart wasn’t devoid of disappointments for me.
I can say right now that even though this book is set in the same world, you do not need to read all of the Caraval books before trying out Once Upon a Broken Heart however I would recommend you do so you pick up on the little tidbits Garber has injected into the narrative for her fans, especially those to do with Jacks who is a very popular character from the original trilogy.
Garber has such an easy narrative style and I love her use of very dark elements in an otherwise light fantasy novel – she writes modern, but in a way, very traditional fairy tales due to her writing style and I will always want to read what she releases because of that. The imagination is intense and Garber brings the circus vibes back with descriptions of elaborate parties and balls in Once Upon a Broken Heart however she now has a new (and personally, preferable) heroine in Evangeline who makes a deal with the fate, Jacks.
And I did enjoy the return of Jacks! But what I really admired about this book was the portrayal of heartbreak. From beginning to end, Evangeline and many other characters are victims of heartbreak and that drives their actions throughout. Emotions like that are never a ‘one size fits all’ experience so to read Garber’s descriptions was actually quite refreshing and really brought the characters to life without overwhelming the reader.
I did say I had disappointments in this novel – my drawbacks were all in relation to the depth of the narrative. I felt the same with Legendary and Finale – Garber never gives me enough; she writes such imaginative stories but barely scrapes the surface with some elements – I know I’m greedy! I felt like the novel was so fast paced but it didn’t need to be, it felt rushed and I wanted to draw it out and bask a bit but plot points were told (not shown) and almost over explained rather than letting me figure things out. I do think this is just Garber’s writing style, it is descriptive but simple and I wish I could love it more because the content is right up my street!
I’ve given this one 3.5 stars out of 5. Rounded up to 4 on Goodreads.