Once Upon a Broken Heart is an enchanted fairytalesque romance that mesmerizes with its writing style.
Author: Stephanie Garber
Series: Once Upon a Broken Heart #1
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Genre: Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult
Other works from the Author: Caraval Series
Page Number: 416
Audible Listening Hours: 10 hours and 3 minutes
Goodreads Rating: 4.15
My Rating: 4/5
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 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.
Evangeline Fox is heartbroken. Her love of life, Luc, is marrying her stepsister. She is convinced her stepmother put a spell on him to torment Evangeline. The only way to stop this wedding from happening is to make a bargain with the notorious Fate. Fates are some manipulative bunch. But Evangeline will do anything for her chance at happily ever after. So, she strikes a deal with the wicked but charming Prince of Hearts, Jacks. He asks for three kisses to be given at the time and place of his choosing to whomever he wants. So, a dangerous game of deceit and lies begins. Will Evangeline earn her happily ever after or the story will end with a devastating tragedy that she never saw coming?
The world Stephanie Garber created is magical with her writing. Her writing has an ethereal quality to it. It feels alive. Every corner of “The Magnificent North” feels like a dream come to life. The curse placed upon the stories from the north created a mystery around the world and its history. You can trust any information you get until Evangeline discovers the truth herself. The world-building lacks depth and the magic is not well-explained but that’s how the story gives you a sense of awe at things. This is a soft magic system and works really well with the fairytalesque setting.
Evangeline Fox is an orphan living her life with her stepmother and stepsister, She is too naive for the world. She never judges people even if their ill intention is pretty clear from their actions. When Luk decides to marry her stepsister Marisol, her first thought is that this is a result of a spell put on him by her stepmother. The reasoning comes off as extremely childish borderline wishful thinking to me. So, her eventual decision to make a deal with Jacks felt incredibly foolish.
Jacks, The Prince of Hearts is one of the Fates. He certainly lived up to his reputation of being incredibly manipulative and self-centered. He seems to genuinely care about Evangeline but his care takes a backstage in front of his ulterior motives. His motivations for doing the things he does is not established yet in Once Upon a Broken Heart. I hope it will be explained in the next book. For now, he is more a villain than a hero. He is downright cruel to Evangeline sometimes and has no regard for her feelings. Let’s see if he can be redeemed in the next book or not.
Once Upon a Broken Heart delivers on the promise of an enchanting world with a whirlwind romance. The world of curses, monsters and magic grips you tight & transports you there. This is truly a magical read. I loved how easy it was to read. The story wastes no time diving right into the plot. You won't be able to put down the book once you start it. I rated it 4 out of 5 stars. Once Upon a Broken Heart is not perfect. It creates more questions than it actually answers. The magic system is not well explained and I found myself struggling to make sense of the things that are happening in Once Upon a Broken Heart.
“The fates weren't dangerous because they were evil; the fates were dangerous because they couldn't tell the difference between evil and good.”
“If you think I'm jealous because someone else got to stab you, then you're right.”
“She wasn't making love choices, she was making compromising choices because she wanted love. Luc wasn't her weakness- love was. Not even just love but the idea of it.”
“He held on to her as if she were a grudge, his body rigid and tense, as if he really didn't want her there, and yet his arms were tight around her waist as though he had no intention of ever letting her go.”
“Or have you already forgotten the way heartbreak rips apart the soul piece by piece, how it turns you into a masochist, making you long for the thing that just eviscerated you until there's nothing left of you to be destroyed?”
“I'm curious about a lot of things. I'm curious about you, but I don't want you to bite me!" The corner of Jacks's mouth twitched. "I've already done that, Little Fox.”
“She could picture him flashing those deceptive dimples as he tricked an angel into losing its wings just so he could play with the feathers.”
“Don't be dazzled. You're useless to me as a vampire." "Well, let's hope I don't decide I'd rather be a vampire than be useful to you.”
“... it was tremendously hard to fully fall out of love with someone when you had no one else to love instead,”
This scene is the sexiest in Once Upon a Broken Heart. The sexual tension between Evangeline and Jacks is palpable. The way he caresses her neck is sizzling hot. No wonder this scene became the most fanart-worthy moment in the entire book. He doesn't drink her blood though. The sun rises at the last moment and thankfully saves the day
Apollo dying on the wedding night really shocked me. When they got married I could tell that something will happen to him that will move the plot forward. I thought the love spell will wear off and Apollo will leave her. But his death was surprising. I didn’t like the decision to keep him in a suspended state at the end of Once Upon a Broken Heart. If he is dead, he should remain dead. His being alive just felt like lazy writing to create forced conflict.
This was the moment I decided to finish Once Upon a Broken Heart. Stephanie Garber was smart to subvert this trope of giving plot armour to the main characters. Her turning into stone made me think about the book. It made the book unpredictable for me and I loved it.