Review: Once Upon a Broken Heart by Stephanie Garber

Posted November 10, 2022 by Lillian in Reviews / 1 Comment

Review: Once Upon a Broken Heart by Stephanie GarberOnce Upon a Broken Heart by Stephanie Garber
Narrator: Rebecca Soler
Series: Once Upon a Broken Heart #1
Published by Flatiron Books on 2021-09-28
Length: 416 pages
Length: 10 hours and 3 minutes
Reviewing Audiobook, Hardcover from My Book Shelf
Reading Challenges: 2022 Audiobook Challenge, 2022 Beat the Backlist, COYER 2022

Once Upon a Broken Heart marks the launch of a new series from beloved author Stephanie Garber about love, curses, and the lengths that people will go to for happily ever after

For as long as she can remember, Evangeline Fox has believed in true love and happy endings…until she learns that the love of her life will marry another.

Desperate to stop the wedding and to heal her wounded heart, Evangeline strikes a deal with the charismatic, but wicked, Prince of Hearts. In exchange for his help, he asks for three kisses, to be given at the time and place of his choosing.

But after Evangeline’s first promised kiss, she learns that bargaining with an immortal is a dangerous game — and that the Prince of Hearts wants far more from her than she’d pledged. He has plans for Evangeline, plans that will either end in the greatest happily ever after, or the most exquisite tragedy...

Caraval is one of my all-time favorite fantasy series. I love the dark, twisty bits of the story as well as the magical world Garber created in it. I was SO excited to learn that Jacks, the Prince of Hearts, was getting his own series. WHY DID IT TAKE ME SO LONG TO MAKE TIME TO READ THIS?! Once Upon a Broken Heart by Stephanie Garber is the first in a spin-off series set after the events of Caraval, featuring new characters, a new fairy tale, and my personal favorite anti-hero. I devoured this book in about two days. I did alternate listening to the audiobook and reading my hardcopy (and yes also my Kindle copy because I cannot resist multiple formats of my favorites).

I believe there are far more possibilities than happily ever after or tragedy. Every story has the potential for infinite endings.

Evangeline Fox, Once Upon a Broken Heart by Stephanie Garber

This tale opens on a desperate Miss Evangeline Fox, a young woman who once believed in happily ever afters and fairy tales even though her own life is far from it. She is at the temple of the Prince of Hearts, praying for his help in stopping the marriage of her fiancé to her stepsister. However, she doesn’t expect the real Prince of Hearts to step out of the temple and grant her wish nor does she expect to find her beloved and the entire wedding party encased in stone. Upset and unsure of what to do, Evangeline risks her own happiness and fate to save those she loves, and so our unhappy tale begins.

I love Garber’s writing style. It is vibrant and living, jumping off the pages. It was so easy to fall in love with the world as seen through Evangeline’s eyes. However, Evangeline sees things through rose colored lenses and as a result we, the readers, are left with this foreboding sense of dread. Something isn’t right in Evangeline’s world, and as outsiders looking in we can see it. The foreshadowing and doubt placed on Evangeline add tension and urgency to the plot.

Jacks is back, and I absolutely loved seeing him here. I fell for him in Caraval, even though I probably shouldn’t have 😉 Garber introduces him to Evangeline before the events of the series and then in the aftermath. *I should note here that if you haven’t read Caraval, you don’t have to (though I highly recommend it!). You are given all the necessary information you need about Jacks in the opening chapters and his interactions with Evangeline.* Jacks is erratic and unpredictable, unreliable and heartbroken for a man who’s heart doesn’t beat. I love his interactions with Evangeline and cannot wait to see more of them together.

Overall, I loved Once Upon a Broken Heart. Evangeline is an easy character to cheer for. Jacks is Jacks, unpredictable and wild and I love him! This series introduces us to the Magnificent North, where the Fates are rumored to come from. I enjoyed seeing this world, the source of Legend’s powers and the world’s magic. Nothing can be trusted, and everything feels real. Fans of fantasy and the original series will delight in returning to this world of magic and mayhem.

About Stephanie Garber

Stephanie Garber grew up in northern California, where she was often compared to Anne Shirley, Jo March, and other fictional characters with wild imaginations and stubborn streaks. When she’s not writing, Stephanie teaches creative writing, and dreams of her next adventure.

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