Book Review

ARC Book Review: The Ballad of Never After (Once Upon a Broken Heart #2) by Stephanie Garber

Rating: ★★★★☆
Audience: YA Fantasy Romance
Length: 416 pages
Author: Stephanie Garber
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Release Date: September 13th, 2022
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

The fiercely-anticipated sequel to the #1 New York Times bestseller Once Upon a Broken Heart, starring Evangeline Fox and the Prince of Hearts on a new journey of magic, mystery, and heartbreak.

Not every love is meant to be.

After Jacks, the Prince of Hearts, betrays her, Evangeline Fox swears she’ll never trust him again. Now that she’s discovered her own magic, Evangeline believes she can use it to restore the chance at happily ever after that Jacks stole away.

But when a new terrifying curse is revealed, Evangeline finds herself entering into a tenuous partnership with the Prince of Hearts again. Only this time, the rules have changed. Jacks isn’t the only force Evangeline needs to be wary of. In fact, he might be the only one she can trust, despite her desire to despise him.

Instead of a love spell wreaking havoc on Evangeline’s life, a murderous spell has been cast. To break it, Evangeline and Jacks will have to do battle with old friends, new foes, and a magic that plays with heads and hearts. Evangeline has always trusted her heart, but this time she’s not sure she can.

Thank you to Macmillan Audio for my early audio copy!

DEVASTATION.

The way I gasped at a particular scene near the end. Holy wow. Gotta give it up to Stephanie Garber. I wasn’t super on board with this series after the first book (but still enjoyed). I took a bit more convincing here and then realized just how attached I had become to these characters.

Jacks and Evangeline have great snarky banter. I love the give and take and that they got a lot more softer moments here. There’s an intense and undeniable pull between them that I can’t wait to learn more about. I think Jacks is too much of a hidden character, even after two books. I want a few more layers peeled back on him so we can get the raw intensity of his past that I know is coming. Evangeline bothered me a whole lot less too and I think it’s kind of fun to be apart of her mindset as she handles all of the fates and prophecies.

Things occasionally felt bogged down by the tangents of story telling. Gratefully they did actually connect back into the main plot so I didn’t feel lost for long. The audio was fantastic! I loved the narrator and it made for a great listen.

I’m of course, very much curious where this series is going to continue onwards to. There’s plenty left open and I adore Garber’s writing and her passion for love conquers all mentality. I’m going to be sitting in a puddle of anxiety until I get my hands on the next book.

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Fantasy Romance
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: make-outs
  • Violence: med/high
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: physical altercations, near death experiences, kidnapping, magical weaponry

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