Wow, I’m surprised I know how to write a review still. Hi friends! I hope you’re all eating regularly and drinking water in these circumstances.
This post contains affiliate links, which means if you make a purchase using that link, a small commission is made from the sale. There are no additional costs to you. Thank you for your support!Where Dreams Descend by Janella Angeles
Kingdom of Cards #1
Published by Wednesday Books on August 25, 2020
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Format: ARC, Physical
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.
The author/publisher provided a free copy of the book for review purposes - thank you! Receiving a review copy does not guarantee a positive review and therefore do not affect the opinion or content of the review.
Where Dreams Descend is a hauntingly descriptive and beautifully written debut novel from Janella Angeles.
The moment I cracked open the book, I was pretty much a goner to the mystery and intrigue surrounding Hellfire House and Glorian, the city hosting a competition to find the next headliner for the Conquering Circus. (Plus murder??? People disappearing??? Sign me up, please.) Personally, the writing style took a bit for me to get used to, and depending on your preferences, Where Dreams Descend might not be up your alley.
There is a definite aura of mystery and lack of answers in regards to what’s going on with Glorian and Hellfire House, along with the world in general (especially the Patrons! Like, what is up with them?). Angeles keeps building the suspense up all the way until the end when the curtain for the first book closes, so it kind of feels the mystery is overpowering the book in a way. I am, however, giving the benefit of the doubt and hoping the lack of answers is with intention and will be revealed in the sequel.
Kallia’s daring ambition and confidence is one of my favorite things.
Kallia having to work twice as hard in a world and competition dominated by males hit home deep, my friends, and it shows. Kallia is absolutely daring and enjoys taking risks to show she’s the best from the moment we are introduced to her as she headlines the shows at Hellfire House. And she continues to do so when the auditions for the Conquering Circus and successfully make it in, flaunting the rules and finding loopholes. Most importantly, she doesn’t let herself be put down by others.
Not gonna lie, I could really use her confidence.
There are, unfortunately, a few issues I had with Where Dreams Descend.
As much as I enjoyed Angeles’ debut novel, there’s no denying there are a few issues as well. While I personally didn’t mind the lack of information (considering the sequel), I did feel there was too much lacking. We don’t know much about Glorian or Hellfire House, what the Patrons do or how they add up to the magic system; it’s all vague information with teaser-like snippets, which isn’t everyone’s cup of tea.
The vagueness also extends to Jack, the keeper of Hellfire House and the master, and Demarco, the once magician who is a judge in the competition. I would’ve loved to see more about their pasts rather than most of the spotlight be on Kallia; to be honest, she’s probably the only character that will stick with me from Where Dreams Descend by the time the sequel comes out. And well, maybe Lottie.
I’ve already forgotten most of the side characters.
The slow-burn romance was great, but not necessary, especially considering the lack of information currently on Demarco. Personally, I feel it was thrown in there for the sake of having a romance, whereas if the romance was in the sequel I would probably complain less if even.
Where Dreams Descend is a relatively solid start to a duology that is dark and atmospheric with an ambitious female lead, but not enough information about the world and the characters.