When Night Breaks (Kingdom of Cards #2) by Janella Angeles #bookreview #fantasy #magicians #YA

The competition has come to a disastrous end, and Daron Demarco’s fall from grace is now front page news. But little matters to him beyond Kallia, the contestant he fell for who is now lost to this world and in the hands of a dangerous magician. Daron is willing to do whatever it takes to find her. Even if it means embarking on a dark and treacherous journey, risking more than just his life, with no promise of return.

After awaking in darkness, Kallia has never felt more lost. Especially with Jack by her side, the magician with who has the answers but cannot be trusted. Together, they must navigate a dazzling world where mirrors show memories and illusions shadow every corner, one ruled by a powerful game master who could all too easily destroy the world she left behind — and the boy she can’t seem to forget. With time running out, Kallia must embrace her role in a darker destiny, or lose everyone she loves, forever.

Stunning, gorgeous, enchanting – all descriptions of this cover. The first in the series is no different, and both set the tone for the story of magic and magicians inside.

This book immediately picks up where the first left off. Jack and Kallia find themselves in a darker, somewhat familiar world filled with danger, memories, and illusions. What’s real? What/who can they trust? Demarco and friends, left behind and struggling to understand what happened, desperately search for a way to reach Kallia.

While the first book contained tension-filled scenes between Kallia and Demarcos, elaborate competitions between the magicians, and mysterious secrets surrounding the town, this sequel has a different feel. Not bad, just – different. Kallia and Demarcos are separated for the majority of the story, the competitions are reduced to a couple brief duels, and most of the secrets are revealed early. I especially missed one of my favorite supporting characters and scene stealer, Aaros. He’s nearly MIA this time around.

The elusive Jack was a big draw for me in Where Dreams Descend, and I was anxious to see what would be revealed about him, if anything. I’ll just say his origin and power are explained, and he remains a mesmerizing character. His character arc may be my favorite part of this sequel. If you didn’t care for him before, you may change your mind.

While I enjoyed the addition of some new characters, a couple of unexpected plot twists, and the way the story wraps up, pacing was slow for me. For a nearly five hundred page novel, it contains several long stretches where not much happens. I read an ARC, so it’s something that may be tightened up in the final copy.

If fantasies set in a lavish, magical world filled with atmosphere and secrets pique your interest, this is a duology you should check out.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Where Dreams Descend (Kingdom of Cards #1) by Janella Angeles #bookreview #blogtour #fantasy

In a city covered in ice and ruin, a group of magicians face off in a daring game of magical feats to find the next headliner of the Conquering Circus, only to find themselves under the threat of an unseen danger striking behind the scenes.

As each act becomes more and more risky and the number of missing magicians piles up, three are forced to reckon with their secrets before the darkness comes for them next.

The Star: Kallia, a powerful showgirl out to prove she’s the best no matter the cost

The Master: Jack, the enigmatic keeper of the club, and more than one lie told

The Magician: Demarco, the brooding judge with a dark past he can no longer hide

Where Dreams Descend is the startling and romantic first book in Janella Angeles’ debut Kingdom of Cards fantasy duology where magic is both celebrated and feared, and no heart is left unscathed. 

Magical competitions, mysterious disappearances, lies, secrets, and a gorgeous cover – how could you not want to read this?  The strong Phantom of the Opera vibes just made it that much more irresistible.

Such an atmospheric novel – a cold, enigmatic city whose residents hide secrets of its past, long-neglected, decaying buildings within it, and a dark forest at its gates.  Powerful magicians exist in this world where some magic isn’t completely understood.  Let’s just say I’ll never look at mirrors in quite the same way again.

Kallia, Jack, and Demarco are wonderfully flawed and scarred in various ways, and I’m so glad the author gave each of their POVs.  Kallia is a snarky, impulsive character who excels when the odds are against her, all while covering up the fear inside.  Demarco is a tough shell to crack initially, but his backstory is tragic.  Manipulative Jack still remains the biggest mystery, and I’m so anxious to learn more about him in the sequel.  I have to give a shout out to Aaros for his wit and undying loyalty to Kallia.  He’s undoubtedly one of the best supporting characters I’ve come across.

Imagery and creativity of the illusions are outstanding – a screenplay of this book would be a visual feast.  I could have done without some of the romantic drama (I’m in the minority on that aspect, I know), but this ends with a glorious cliffhanger.  The next book can’t come soon enough.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.