ARC Review: Where Dreams Descend by Janella Angeles

Title: Where Dreams Descend (Kingdom of Cards #1)
Author: Janella Angeles
Publication Date: June 2nd, 2020
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Part of a Series?: Yes, Book 1/2 of the Kingdom of Cards Duology
I Got A Copy Through Macmillan INTL (THANK YOU!)
Blurb Description: 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. 

As soon as I saw the cover for Where Dreams Descend, I knew it was a book I HAD TO READ! It sounded dark and atmospheric and, most of all, like a wonderfully-immersive read and I hoped, from the bottom of my heart, that it would make up for the UTTER DISAPPOINTMENT that was Stephanie Garber’s Caraval.

Aaand… Where Dreams Descend was. It delivered on the magic, the intrigue, the romance, the kick-ass female power BUT IT JUST DIDN’T EXPLAIN ENOUGH, YOU KNOW?

I can’t help but feel that we should have received more answers in Where Dreams Descend, instead of a 400+ page book building up about 400 more questions. You start with knowing something, and through the viewpoint of the master, learn that there are sinister forces at bay. Then, female magicians deliver all the time. Then, it, of course, has something to do with creepy mirrors. There’s a competition and a circus. There’s a contract and a city without gates. There’s a lot of questions and really, no answers.

Why did ‘Jack’ keep Kallia locked up? Why all the illusions in Hellfire House? WHAT WAS THAT ENDING? WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN NEXT?

Apart from all the questions, there were a lot of things I enjoyed about the book –

1)      There’s NEVER A MINUTE in this 400-page book that you’re bored – whether it’s the mystery of what’s happening to the contestants, wondering what crazy trick Kalila will come next or just wondering WHEN YOUR QUESTIONS will be answered, Where Dreams Descend keeps its readers hooked!

2)      Daron and Kallia had an ADORABLE romance and I WANT MORE!

3)      We didn’t see nearly enough, or learn enough about, of Kalia’s assisstant Aaros. When he was initially introduced, I thought he was going to play a bigger role that he ended up playing.


Janella Angeles

Janella Angeles is a Filipino-American writer who works in children’s publishing by day while penning novels by night. She graduated from Emerson College with a B.A. in Writing, Literature, and Publishing, but found the most valuable way of learning to write was in creating glorious Harry Potter fanfiction and reading obscene amounts of books. Janella currently resides in Massachusetts, most likely to be found reading and writing like she’s running out of time. She is represented by Thao Le of the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency. Her debut novel, WHERE DREAMS DESCEND, will be out in 2020 from Wednesday Books.

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