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The Once Upon a Broken Heart trilogy takes place in the same world as Stephanie Garber’s Caraval trilogy. This book in particular begins around the beginning of Finale when the Fates have been freed from the Destiny Cards and before the conclusion of the book, then there’s a time jump to after the events of Finale. If you haven’t read the Caraval series, this book will make references to the conclusion of that book but will leave out the details. So, if you go straight into this trilogy without reading Caraval there is missing context for events as it’s not elaborated.
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.
- Published: September 28, 2021
- Page Count: 408 pages
- Genre: YA Fantasy
Thoughts on Once Upon a Broken Heart
Once Upon a Broken Heart is told from Evangeline Fox’s point of view. Her long-term boyfriend is getting married to her stepsister, Marisol, and Evangeline is devastated. She believes her boyfriend, Luc, has been cursed to desire Marisol to her. So, she goes to the Prince of Hearts church (which had previously been locked) and begs him to call the wedding off. Unknown to her, Jacks was in the room, crying bloody tears over something, though I’m not sure what since Tella hasn’t turned him down yet. He decides to help her in exchange for three kisses with other people that he will collect from her in the future. Evangeline agrees to the terms but soon regrets it as she rushes to the wedding, only to discover that everyone has been turned to stone by Poison.
Evangeline replaces the wedding party because she didn’t intend for that to occur; instead, she just wanted the wedding to be called off. As a result, she is stuck as stone for several weeks because no one exchanges places with her. Evangeline does not become free until Scarlett, now Empress, has Poison lift Evangeline’s curse. Where she learns that Luc and Marisol attempted to marry again not even a week after she freed the wedding party, but Luc was attacked by a wolf and has been ill ever since, and Marisol became known as the Cursed Bride. Evangeline has also been hailed as a hero for what she did by trading places with the wedding party, despite the fact that it was her actions that caused it to happen in the first place. And she can’t talk to Jacks about it because he’s fled to the north after Donatella chose Legend over Jacks.
Because Scarlett is still getting used to being Empress and Donatella cannot go near Jacks, they request that Evangeline take their place for the Nocte Neverending celebration in the North. An event where Prince Apollo must choose a bride and marry in order to become King of the North. Evangeline agrees to go on the condition that Marisol accompany her so that they can both start over. While Evangeline approaches Prince Apollo, Marisol has been seen visiting various spell shops throughout the city. Something very suspicious, though Evangeline doubts Marisol did it on purpose and wandered into those shops by accident. Despite the fact that Jacks has repeatedly warned her about Marisol.
I won’t reveal everything that happens, so there will be some mystery if you read this book for yourself. But let’s just say that Jacks, being the morally ambiguous character that he is, has Evangeline kiss people to help him carry out his master plan. One of those kisses is with Apollo, and the next day Apollo proposes to her. Another kiss is used to assist Jacks in locating a specific stone. However, they are unable to locate the stone before the host panics and begins muttering about a prophecy involving Evangeline. This leads Evangeline to realize that Jack will use the promised kisses to carry out the prophecy.
By the end of the book, there are many loose ends, laying the groundwork for the next book in this trilogy. Two of the three kisses have been used, Evangeline has been married to Apollo, though the status of their marriage is unknown, and people want to prevent Evangeline from aiding in the fulfillment of the prophecy concerning her and the Valory Arch.
This book, like Caraval, utilizes whimsical language and features a protagonist who has little control over what is going on around her. She is also quick to believe in the best of people, even when it is demonstrated that they are not. So she has to rely on Jacks to survive, despite the fact that she knows he’s basically using her the entire time to get what he wants. Though I’m not sure what he wants right now, I’m guessing it has something to do with Donatella. He thought she was his one true love, but she turned him down to be with Legend.
Overall, I would give Once Upon a Broken Heart a 4 out of 5 stars rating. And I’m looking forward to what happens next for Evangeline and Jacks.
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