Book Review

Book Review: Hotel Magnifique by Emily J. Taylor

Rating: ★★★★
Audience: YA Fantasy
Length: 400 pages
Author: Emily J. Taylor
Publisher: Razorbill
Release Date: April 5th, 2022
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads


For fans of Caraval and The Night Circus, this decadent and darkly enchanting YA fantasy, set against the backdrop of a Belle Époque-inspired hotel, follows seventeen-year-old Jani as she uncovers the deeply disturbing secrets of the legendary Hotel Magnifique.

All her life, Jani has dreamed of Elsewhere. Just barely scraping by with her job at a tannery, she’s resigned to a dreary life in the port town of Durc, caring for her younger sister Zosa. That is, until the Hotel Magnifique comes to town.

The hotel is legendary not only for its whimsical enchantments, but also for its ability to travel—appearing in a different destination every morning. While Jani and Zosa can’t afford the exorbitant costs of a guest’s stay, they can interview to join the staff, and are soon whisked away on the greatest adventure of their lives. But once inside, Jani quickly discovers their contracts are unbreakable and that beneath the marvelous glamour, the hotel is hiding dangerous secrets.

With the vexingly handsome doorman Bel as her only ally, Jani embarks on a mission to unravel the mystery of the magic at the heart of the hotel and free Zosa—and the other staff—from the cruelty of the ruthless maître d’hôtel. To succeed, she’ll have to risk everything she loves, but failure would mean a fate far worse than never returning home.


I think I enjoyed this a lot more than I might have because I listened to it on audio (and thus, listened to it at a faster speed than I would have reading).

The magical hotel trope has swung around again, and this was a good rendition. I liked the main character and her fierce loyalty and love for her sister. There’s a good dash of mystery as the hotel’s story unravels. I thought the magic system fit well into the overall plot, but I wish there was so more world building outside of the hotel.

There’s a little sub plot of romance throughout and that was sweet. It didn’t overshadow Jani’s main goals, but Bel was a good guide post to help her figure some things out. The villain was kind of weak, or I guess I’d say, typical.

Things wrapped up quickly at the end and I consider it a good read for those who want The Night Circus vibes, but make it young adult. Or those wanting Caraval vibes but shoved into a standalone.

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Fantasy
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: kisses
  • Violence: mild
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: kidnapping, forced loss of memory, magical altercations, loss of loved ones

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