Once Upon A Broken Heart by Stephanie Garber
Synopsis: Evangeline is desperate to prevent the boy she loves from marrying her step-sister. So desperate that she’s willing to seek out the Church of the Broken-hearted to pray to its Cursed Fate, The Prince of Hearts. The myths claim the Prince of Hearts is incapable of love, and that his kiss is deadly to all but his one true love, but Evangeline is sure that if anyone will understand her heartbreak and take pity on her it will be him. Deals with devils are never all that they seem though, and as Evangeline faces the consequences of her actions it seems she can’t escape the lure of the devilish prince.
𝙰𝚌𝚌𝚘𝚛𝚍𝚒𝚗𝚐 𝚝𝚘 𝚝𝚑𝚎 𝚖𝚢𝚝𝚑𝚜, 𝚝𝚑𝚎 𝙿𝚛𝚒𝚗𝚌𝚎 𝚘𝚏 𝙷𝚎𝚊𝚛𝚝𝚜 𝚠𝚊𝚜 𝚗𝚘𝚝 𝚌𝚊𝚙𝚊𝚋𝚕𝚎 𝚘𝚏 𝚕𝚘𝚟𝚎 𝚋𝚎𝚌𝚊𝚞𝚜𝚎 𝚑𝚒𝚜 𝚑𝚎𝚊𝚛𝚝 𝚑𝚊𝚍 𝚜𝚝𝚘𝚙𝚙𝚎𝚍 𝚋𝚎𝚊𝚝𝚒𝚗𝚐 𝚕𝚘𝚗𝚐 𝚊𝚐𝚘. 𝙾𝚗𝚕𝚢 𝚘𝚗𝚎 𝚙𝚎𝚛𝚜𝚘𝚗 𝚌𝚘𝚞𝚕𝚍 𝚖𝚊𝚔𝚎 𝚒𝚝 𝚠𝚘𝚛𝚔 𝚊𝚐𝚊𝚒𝚗: 𝚑𝚒𝚜 𝚘𝚗𝚎 𝚝𝚛𝚞𝚎 𝚕𝚘𝚟𝚎.
This book had been on my tbr since release day but I kept putting it off, partly because I was worried I’d hyped it up in my head too much and partly because I knew I was going to love it and I didn’t want it to be over. I don’t even know where I’d formed this idea from, I think all I knew about the book was from the brief description on the Waterstones website: “a young woman makes a dangerous bargain with the manipulative Prince of Hearts to snare the one she loves”. How did this book, and these characters get hold of my heart so completely just from that?
By page 15 I’d text Emma and told her it had earned its five stars already. The writing in the book is just magnificent. In the first part of the book it’s whimsical and adds to the fairytale like quality of the story, that mirrors Evangaline’s innocence. I particularly loved the descriptions that Stephanie Garber used to add to this magical quality:
“𝚃𝚑𝚎 𝚙𝚘𝚒𝚜𝚘𝚗 𝚝𝚊𝚜𝚝𝚎𝚍 𝚠𝚘𝚛𝚜𝚎 𝚝𝚑𝚊𝚗 𝚒𝚝 𝚜𝚖𝚎𝚕𝚕𝚎𝚍 - 𝚕𝚒𝚔𝚎 𝚋𝚞𝚛𝚗𝚝 𝚋𝚘𝚗𝚎𝚜 𝚊𝚗𝚍 𝚕𝚘𝚜𝚝 𝚑𝚘𝚙𝚎.”
“… 𝚑𝚒𝚍𝚍𝚎𝚗 𝚒𝚗 𝚊𝚗 𝚊𝚕𝚌𝚘𝚟𝚎 𝚝𝚑𝚊𝚝 𝚜𝚖𝚎𝚕𝚕𝚎𝚍 𝚘𝚏 𝚖𝚢𝚜𝚝𝚎𝚛𝚢 𝚊𝚗𝚍 𝚖𝚞𝚜𝚔 𝚊𝚗𝚍 𝚒𝚖𝚒𝚝𝚊𝚝𝚒𝚘𝚗 𝚖𝚊𝚐𝚒𝚌.”
As the story progresses and Evangeline starts to have to face the consequences of her actions, the writing and the tone begins to get a little more serious. Like early fairytales, the story becomes darker and more sinister , the monsters more obviously threatening, though by no means less magical.
And then there’s the characters. Jacks, the Prince of Hearts is aptly named because if he asked, I would not hesitate to carve out my own and present it to him. He has that wonderfully tortured, broken thing going for him, and is lithe and elegant in a way that I seem to be unable to resist (imagine Draco Malfoy as a cursed fairytale prince). Evangeline, the heroine of our story is wonderful. I often find the main female characters in fantasy books a little annoying, especially in the beginning, but her love of magic and conviction in her beliefs was really endearing. Plus the pink hair is pretty cool and has me considering a new look myself.
The book hangover this has left me with has been very real. I’m considering diving into a reread again already and it’s only been a week. In the meantime I’ll just be here counting the seconds, minutes and hours until the next book is released.
The sequel, The Ballad of Never After is released on 13th September 2022.
⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
Book 1 of 3 (incomplete)
Genre: YA Fantasy
Tropes: Deal with a ‘Demon’ / Broken Boys