Series Review: Once Upon a Broken Heart

Posted November 2, 2023 / Book Reviews / 0 Comments

Once Upon A Broken Heart Series by Stephanie Garber | Flatiron Books

I was a huge fan of the CARAVAL trilogy and can’t really think of a good reason for not reading this spin-off trilogy until the same year the final book was released! I kept seeing amazing reviews where so many people read and loved this (without even reading CARAVAL). My expectations were pretty high. I decided to finally take the plunge and read all three books in October (right after another series binge by a favorite author). I didn’t remember anything from CARAVAL really but definitely found that you don’t need to. I think the backstory on Jacks and the previous trilogy as a whole were helpful in understanding the world for sure, but I can see why many people jumped right into these books. I would honestly recommend reading CARAVAL first though – that’s just my opinion! Without further ado, here are my thoughts on the ONCE UPON A BROKEN HEART trilogy.

Series Review: Once Upon a Broken HeartOnce Upon a Broken Heart by Stephanie Garber
Series: Once Upon a Broken Heart #1
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Published by Flatiron Books on September 28, 2021
Also by this author: Caraval, Legendary , Finale
Format: Audiobook, eBook, Hardcover (408 pages) • Source: Purchased, Scribd
GoodreadsAmazon Barnes & Noble

How far would you go for happily ever after?

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...

I was shocked at how quickly I read this book, considering that fantasy usually takes me a looong time to get through. I would absolutely recommend this series (as well as CARAVAL) to anyone who is curious about fantasy but nervous about understanding a new world. This is super accessible fantasy that anyone could read and enjoy IMO. Garber has a great writing style.

This story follows Evangeline Fox and Jacks, the Prince of Hearts, from the first series. I really like that the synopsis doesn’t give away nearly anything in the book! You only learn that Jacks grants a favor to her and in return, she has to give away three kisses at his request. Evangeline ends up traveling north with her stepsister, Marisol, and a lot of things happen from there.

I really liked this one. Candidly, I’m not sure why people love this more than CARAVAL… because so far that is way better IMO lol. I’m sure the second book (and third, which comes out tomorrow!) could change my mind. I liked the overall concept and creativity with that series more (so far).

I think some pieces were predictable with the “mystery” toward the end but I like that this book framed up the series and introduced us to the new world in the north. Because I read this so quickly and was engaged throughout all of Evangeline’s journeys in the book, this was a solid read for me. I’m intrigued to see where things go from here because so many cans of worms were opened by the end of the book lol. Good thing I can keep on going!

Series Review: Once Upon a Broken HeartThe Ballad of Never After by Stephanie Garber
Series: Once Upon a Broken Heart #2
Genres: Young Adult, Mystery/Thriller
Published by Flatiron Books on September 13, 2022
Also by this author: Caraval, Legendary , Finale
Format: Audiobook, eBook, Hardcover (403 pages) • Source: Purchased, Scribd
GoodreadsAmazon Barnes & Noble

Not every love is meant to be.

After Jacks, the Prince of Hearts, betrays her, Evangeline Fox swears she'll never trust him again. Now that she’s discovered her own magic, Evangeline believes she can use it to restore the chance at happily ever after that Jacks stole away.

But when a new terrifying curse is revealed, Evangeline finds herself entering into a tenuous partnership with the Prince of Hearts again. Only this time, the rules have changed. Jacks isn’t the only force Evangeline needs to be wary of. In fact, he might be the only one she can trust, despite her desire to despise him.

Instead of a love spell wreaking havoc on Evangeline’s life, a murderous spell has been cast. To break it, Evangeline and Jacks will have to do battle with old friends, new foes, and a magic that plays with heads and hearts. Evangeline has always trusted her heart, but this time she’s not sure she can...

I don’t want to spoil too much of this book and how the ending of the previous one affected the story, but it was definitely a fun read. Part of me liked this one a little bit more than the first one but for some reason the series-starter sticks out as my favorite.

I never really shipped Jacks and Evangeline together until around 70% of the way through this one. I was reading it at the nail salon when it hit me that I was definitely getting into them as a couple. Jacks is a morally grey character so that could be part of the reason, but otherwise I just never got those vibes from them until late in this book.

The ending of this was insane – I had seen a few booktubers read this book and film their reaction so I completely understood why they all had total shock on their faces in the last chapter. Especially the last page. It was a bit of a whirlwind. The ending would have been a brutal cliffhanger.

I’ll be honest, I don’t feel as connected to these books as everyone else. These are some booktubers/book reviewers favorite books/series. I ENJOY them and have rated them highly but I don’t love the characters or ship the romance as much as other people. They’re well-written, engaging, and easy to read – Stephanie Garber will always be an auto-buy for me.

Series Review: Once Upon a Broken HeartA Curse for True Love by Stephanie Garber
Series: Once Upon a Broken Heart #3
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Published by Flatiron on October 24, 2023
Also by this author: Caraval, Legendary , Finale
Format: Audio/Physical (385 pages) • Source: Purchased, Scribd
GoodreadsAmazon Barnes & Noble

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.

Blood will be shed, hearts will be stolen, and true love will be put to the test in A Curse for True Love, the breathlessly anticipated conclusion to the Once Upon A Broken Heart trilogy.

After finishing the second book and thinking on it, I started to get a little angry as I continued into book three. I think that ending is basically a cop-out to add content to a third book in this series. I kind of feel like these could have either been paced differently or squished into two longer books (with one major plotline removed in order to do it. Spoiler for the end of book two: View Spoiler ») I just got annoyed and genuinely didn’t like the first 1/3 of this story as a result. Apollo was so annoying to deal with. I also think Garber used the second book’s ending to create a new structure in the final book, which I don’t think is a spoiler per se but I won’t mention it without the spoiler tag just in case. View Spoiler »

Yes, the end of book two was shocking, but it seems like it artificially created drama and some plot in book three. If a lot of that was eliminated, I would have enjoyed this book more from the very beginning. I started to get into it a little more halfway through and then it lost me again at the end.

I didn’t love how abrupt the ending felt in some ways. I’m sure there are bonus chapters in special editions (maybe I’ll read the B&N one next time I’m in the store) but it just wasn’t enough for me. The main couple spent a lot of time apart and any feelings I had about shipping them from book two kind of faded in book three.

Maybe I missed some things because I zoned out during the audiobook, but I think there were quite a few plot holes and unfinished elements here. Like I said, the ending was rushed, and some things were just straight up not answered. In fact, there was one thing that even gets mentioned and asked about but Garber completely avoids having the character answer about it?? Baffling.

Overall, I did enjoy the entire experience of reading this series. The last book was a bit of a disappointment and Garber didn’t really stick the landing, so to speak. I would welcome even more books in this world; it was fun exploring the north with some new and some familiar characters.

Leave a Reply

(Enter your URL then click here to include a link to one of your blog posts.)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.