Stephanie Garber’s final novel in the Once Upon a Broken Heart series is A Curse for True Love. If the statement at the end of the book is any indication, this may not be Stephanie’s final book in this universe. We’ll have to wait and see because no future novels have been confirmed as of yet. If you haven’t read the first two books in this series yet, don’t read this review. It will give away some of the plot of the previous books. I will not, however, reveal any spoilers for this book.
Two villains, one girl, and a deadly battle for happily ever after.
Evangeline Fox ventured to the Magnificent North in search of her happy ending, and it seems as if she has it. She’s married to a handsome prince and lives in a legendary castle. But Evangeline has no idea of the devastating price she’s paid for this fairytale. She doesn’t know what she has lost, and her husband is determined to make sure she never finds out. . . . but first he must kill Jacks, the Prince of Hearts.
- Published: October 24, 2023
- Page Count: 390 pages
- Genre: YA Fantasy
Thoughts on A Curse for True Love
This book picks up precisely where the previous one left off. Evangeline’s memories have been stolen by Apollo, and she has no recollection of her stay in the North or what drew her there in the first place. Only that something must have happened to break her heart, and that she wants to tell someone something, though she can’t recall who or what. Apollo also determines that Jacks must face his crimes against Apollo and launches a search for him. I mean, I understand it, the guy cursed him twice, and then he was cursed by LaLa, resulting in the mirror and archer curses.
This book does something that the previous one did not: it switches perspectives. Throughout the book, we’re reading from the perspectives of Evangeline, Jack, and Apollo. Evangeline is attempting to reclaim her memories despite Apollo’s efforts to prevent her from doing so, Jacks is doing everything he can to protect Evangeline even from himself, and Apollo is acting selfishly like a child who refuses to share their favorite toy.
Not only that, but the Valors have returned. Aurora is one among them, a name we already knew because it was curved into the Hollows next to Jacks. When she sought to become friends with a memoryless Evangeline, I became skeptical of her. It’s not until much later that those suspicions are verified, and her true motives, along with everything else she’s done, are revealed. In some ways, she’s a monster like her twin brother Castor (also known as Chaos). Granted, Castor never asked to become a monster. He just can’t help himself because of what he was turned into (i.e. a vampire).
While I enjoyed this book, it seems almost like an extended conclusion to the last book. So there aren’t many character arcs, only the end of the ones we started with. That is not to say it is a bad thing. But don’t look for character development in some of the characters. They’ve already had their arcs, and now we’re just seeing the story’s conclusion.
Jacks definitely grew the most throughout the series since he was willing to risk all to ensure Evangeline’s survival. And Evangeline is still far too trusting of everyone around her. Granted, the memory loss reset her growth, so I can understand where she didn’t know not to trust others. Rather than being self-centered and pushing others away to prevent getting hurt. He goes out of his way to ensure that Evangeline cannot be harmed by others before resuming his self-destructive behavior. One that Evangeline eventually helps him avoid so that the two can live happily ever after. I won’t reveal what he does or how she stops him since it would be a spoiler.
Overall, I rate A Curse for True Love a 4.25 out of 5 stars. I enjoyed the whimsical language utilized throughout the series, as well as the almost old-fashioned storybook feel to it.
Do I wish some plot lines were better explained? Yes. 100% yes.
I have no idea how the Jacks’ curse was broken in the end. We learn why Jacks kiss with Donatella in the previous series didn’t kill her, but we don’t learn why it didn’t kill Evangeline in the end. Also the apples were never explained and the book calls it out by having Jacks say, “It doesn’t matter, I don’t need them anymore.” So, were they blood apples, soul apples, or something else? I have no idea. We will almost certainly never know the answer to that question. Nor what will happen with the fact that she still owes him a kiss. Does he simply wipe the debt, or should they leave it alone because he’ll always be able to find her as long as she has it? The book pointed it out that the debt was still there, but nothing became of it once her memories were restored.
Some of my questions are still unanswered, which bothers me a little. But aside from that, I think the series ended nicely.
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