A Curse for True Love by Stephanie Garber (book review)
GENRE: YA Fantasy
LENGTH: 381 pages
Evangeline's memories have been wiped by her devious husband Apollo. Will she be able to remember her love for Jacks, or will their story end unhappily ever after? This book is the conclusion to the Once Upon a Broken Heart trilogy.
Evangeline is probably the sweetest and most wholesome fantasy protagonist I’ve ever read. Throughout this entire series, despite all the trials and tribulations she goes through, she never loses that sense of hope and her belief in true love. All I wanted was for her to get the happily ever after she wanted.
Jacks’ archetype is that of the bad boy type with a tragic backstory. His romance with Evangeline, alongside being enemies to lovers, very much falls into the whole he’s only soft for her trope (of which I always melt for). This book feels like the most vulnerable we’ve seen him. For not really having any kiss scenes, their romance is brimming with tenderness. In this book, they both save each other and their protectiveness of each other makes my heart swell. Their romance is undoubtedly the selling point of this series and they sell it very well.
Apollo is the main antagonist of this novel. While he’s present in the first two books in both he is being manipulated in them. He’s under a love spell in the first book and the archer curse in the second. We do get a glimmer of his personality in his first scene in the first book, though, and this book expands upon that. He’s a very easy character to hate and let me say he grated on my nerves – which is exactly what I believe Garber intended him to do to readers.
The Valor family is released from their imprisonment in the Valory Arch at the conclusion of the second book. The first book builds them up so much as being this powerful royal family. So, I was really anticipating their roles in this book. I was letdown by how little their presence actually seemed to matter in the grand scheme of the story. I assumed they’d be some sort of bigger threat, but they were more of a whimper than a bang.
The novel is told from the third person perspectives of Evangeline, Apollo, and Jacks. The previous two books were all told solely from Evangeline’s third person perspective. My one critique about the writing this time is that despite getting Apollo’s perspective there were still aspects of his motivations I struggled to understand. In particular, I wish there had been more clarity on why he wants Evangeline so badly when previously their relationship was built on spells and curses. I would think that would have made him resent her. Based on his personality, my theory is he just wants her because he wants to ‘own’ her as he doesn’t seem to view her as a fully independent person. But again, that’s just me making an educated guess.
The world, plot, and writing of this series has the sparkly feel of stepping straight into a fairy tale which is why I fell so deeply in love with it. This one in particular feels like a Disney princess movie. The ending is a tad cheesy but what modern fairy tale is complete without a happily ever after?
There were definitely things I wanted/expected from this novel that I didn’t get; namely for the Valors to play a bigger role in the plot. Even still, it was a satisfying conclusion for the main couple and that is the most important thing. I am saddened to see this trilogy come to a close but given this is the second series set in the same world (the first being the Caraval trilogy) I will hold onto a sliver of hope that there are still more magical stories to come from Garber. Maybe there will even be a cameo from Evangeline and Jacks if we’re lucky.