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The Ballad of Never After by Stephanie Garber is the Perfect Sequel

GENRE: YA Fantasy LENGTH: 400 pages PLOT In the sequel to Once Upon a Broken Heart Evangeline is being hunted while Jacks is still determined to open the Valory Arch. Their reluctant ally dynamic develops as they now not so reluctantly help each other. CHARACTERS Evangeline is much the same here as in the first novel. She’s stubborn but darling and sparkling. Jacks, meanwhile, is more vulnerable now. We really see him softening here and get to learn more about his past. This helps us to understand him even better and makes a bad boy character more sympathetic. The relationship between the two develops further as well and there is angst galore that hurts so good.

A small part of me wanted more of the supporting characters, but at the same time this is truly Evangeline and Jacks’ story. They more than carry it on their own. There were some pretty startling reveals about several supporting characters, though, so I’ll be intrigued to see where those plot threads lead in the finale and how they impact the characters.

NARRATIVE STYLE/PACING

As with its predecessor, this novel is told from the third person perspective of Evangeline. It picks up immediately where the first book leaves off. Also like the first novel, this one is like stepping directly into a fairy tale. It’s enchanting and teasing and invitingly deadly all at once.

When I finished this book, there was no confirmation of a third book and let me tell you I was quite distressed. Questions from the first book are answered here but that only opens a whole new slew of questions. The novel ends of a cliffhanger that I refused to accept as the ending. Thankfully, Garber did put me out of my misery by announcing there would be a third book.


FINAL THOUGHTS

Garber accomplished the rare feat of writing a sequel that is just as stunning as the original. Even though I acknowledge this book reads like the middle book it is that isn’t a bad thing. It does precisely what middle books should do: pushes the story along while also leaving the reader craving more. If you want to dive into a fairy tale then this trilogy will do exactly that. Be warned, though, you might never want to surface.


FINAL RATING: 5

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